InClass

We have some solutions that'll help tame kiddos of all ages. Some years, classroom chemistry is magical. You and them? You click. You get one another. What could be wrong with that? A chatty room isn’t always the product of bad intentions. Sometimes, your welcoming, student-centered classroom cultu

May 11, 2016

We have some solutions that'll help tame kiddos of all ages.


Some years, classroom chemistry is magical. You and them? You click. You get one another. What could be wrong with that?

A chatty room isn’t always the product of bad intentions. Sometimes, your welcoming, student-centered classroom culture takes a sudden turn from vital, collaborative dialogue with a purpose, ending in noisy, boundary-less pandemonium. Here’s a few tools for taming a too-chatty classroom without breaking your learners’ spirits.

1. Set clear expectations. This is key, regardless of grade level. There are appropriate and inappropriate times for talking, and you’ve got to set the tone (pun intended) for what’s acceptable by modeling, monitoring, and reinforcing. Make sure that students clearly understand how they should behave.

2. Have cues. Maybe you’ve already got a quiet signal — a peace sign, a saying, a bell, a tribal drumbeat, whatever. But what about changing the classroom just a pinch to signal that the noise level should be low? Think about playing relaxing music during independent work or dimming the lights to indicate it’s time for silence.

3. Make it visual, too. Try posting a noise-o-meter made from construction paper like this one for a visual reminder of what the current decibel level should be. You can also go the techy route and find a digital noise monitor to project on your whiteboard, like the Too Noisy

4. Break up. The blocks of no-talking time, that is. This is particularly important with younger grades, but all learners need brain breaks. Get kids up and moving — not only will it help them get the wiggles out, but also the exercise will reinvigorate them and help them get ready for the next round of focusing.

5. Use positive praise. Give your attention to the students demonstrating positive behaviors. You can nip a lot of chattiness in the bud by giving your attention to the leaners who are being respectful and making good choices.

6. Dish out appropriate, consistent consequences. It’s important to be fair, firm, and caring here. In teaching students to be respectful of you and other learners, decide ahead of time what a reasonable consequence will be for disruptive behavior — whether it’s a time out, a phone conference with a parent, or temporary alternative work.

As far as calming a noisy room and finding redirection, plenty of consistency and a dash of creativity can go a long, long way.

New teachers: Fear not a talkative class. Head to our Beginning Teacher Institute for practical advice on technology, classroom management, ELL strategies, and more.

Heather Sparks is a writer, educator, and mom of two. An Arizona native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in gifted education from Arizona State University.

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