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Talkative Class

Compiled By: L8 4 School

There's a poem that's written something like: Teacher, could you, do what you ask me to do? Sit by your friend and not talk, too? Here are some ideas for dealing with the constant talkers in your classroom.

talkative second graders
Posted by: Bonnie

I have two suggestions. First, don't just move seats but change the arrangement of seats. Take them out of groups. I start in groups but once the talking gets to bad, I put them in an E and a backwards E or a horseshoe with a few desks in the middle.

Second, I have a banner on the end of my chalkboard. It says, "Things We Did Very Well Today." During the day, i make a list. It might be everyone came to school on time, we took out our books quietly, everyone read quietly during DEAR. It focuses on the positive.

Good luck.

Posted by: I tried this

I had a very talkative class. I had a couple of students that could not stop talking. If the class is sitting on the carpet . . I move the students to a chair where they can see but can not talk to their peers. If we are at our seats, they sit on the carpet. The student automatically loses five minutes of their recess if they have to be sent away from the group. If the students continue to disrupt the class they have to go to another teacher's classroom. They lose all their recess ( they are allowed to use the restroom) and I have them call home. I constantly repeat my expectations. I have a quiet signal and I count to five. The students know they must be quiet by the time I get to five. I praise the students when they are sitting quietly. I make positive calls home and send positve notes home when the students worked quietly. I also included more time in my day for students to share with each other . . . author's chair, show and tell. I also included more movement and opportunities to participate in my lesson (students give a thumbs up sign if they agree with the answer).
I treat poor behavior as I would a student that doesn't know his times tables. He/she needs to learn this behavior. I do not get angry or disappointed. They will eventually learn the correct behavior. I make sure that I give more attention to positive behaviors than negative behaviors. This has been very effective in my classroom.

Talkative Students
Posted by: Theresa

Here are some ideas that may help-
Maintain a progress chart on the bulletin board recording the positive independent work of students, for questions-have students hold up a sign with a question mark on it which you can see and respond to, combine desirable activities with less desirable activities-if an activity holds the student's interest then less talking will take place, clarify reasons for the benefits of a quiet work time, allow students some free time to chat-this may cut down the talking out of turn, and during seatwork time-allow students to communicate through writing notes or whispering-abuse of this privilege will result in some predetermined consequence. I hope this helps!

make a talking time
Posted by: Heart4Him

brainstorm a bunch of things they like to talk about, then set a time, preferably right before or right after you need the quiet. Set that as the BIG talking time, and then really be strict about the rest of the times.

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talkative 1st graders
Posted by: teach first

I had a VERY talkative group last year. This year's group likes to talk, but so far have been better about not talking every single second (knock on wood)! Any way, I use several different methods to quiet my talkers and it seems to work pretty well. First, thing I try is counting in a firm voice. My kids know the second they here me say "one" that voices are off. Also, I have a call bell that I ring if my group is too loud. The bell (which I just purchased this year) has worked wonderful so far! If individual kids are talking after I have given my warning, they have their behavior chart on their desk X'd for "I know when to be quiet." Each X they get is worth 5 minutes of lost recess and it also goes home at the end of the week for parents to see how they have behaved in class. I have more things I do, but right now can't seem to think. If I can remember more, I will post again.

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Posted by: teacher_queen

I also had a very, very, very talkative bunch this year. I can kind of handle talking, but they almost screamed at each other, even when they were right across the table from each other! I think part of their loudness was due to my loudness. It was my first year teaching and I didn't have the experience to know all the god tricks to get them to quiet down. I tended to use my voice to quiet them down and that did NOT work! They just got louder. I tried the Give me Five Harry Wong thing, but the kids just didn't respond well to that. I plan on changing things this year. I was told by my principal and mentor teacher that I was too nice. Normally, that is a great quality to have. As the year went on, I realized that quality doesn't fit well in the classroom. Unfortunatley, my kids knew which buttons to push, and I struggled to gain their respect. I am going to start out tougher this year. I can always slack off some if I need to, but I cannot build back up. We attended an in-service at the end of May by Jonas Basom, author of the Drama Game File. I really did not want to go, because that title of the PD had drama in it and I am not into drama at all and certainly don't have time to teach it. Well, I got dragged into going, and was so glad that I went. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak or use his product, you will be thrilled. Anyway, I learned so much about classroom management from him. He uses themes of drama all throughout, but you do not have to know anything about drama to use it. One technique he used was shaking a tamborine. His students knew that whenever they heard the tamborine shake, they had to stop and get quiet right away. I can't wait to buy myself a tamborine and use it this year. I think it will be a wonderful tool whether I have a quiet or loud class. I think starting out with a much bigger emphasis on procedures from the first day will make a world of difference. If you get a chance, check out Jonas' site at

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Talkative Kids
Posted by: 2ndgradeteacher

This year I am also using the Give Me five system with my third graders. I have a set a posters someone shared with me that state Give Me Five and then 1. Eyes on the speaker 2. Lipes Closed 3. Ears Listening 4. Sit Up Straight 5. Hands and Feet quiet. Basically, I hold up my hand, say give me five and wait for the class to respond by holding up their hand and meeting the 5 criteria. In our grade, we use a monetary system, so if the class does not give their attention to the teacher in an appropriate amount of time, they will be fined some of their money.

Another thing I have used is a music box. Basically, I wind up a store bought music box and throughout the day if the class is talking, I open the box and let it play until they are quiet. At the end of the day, we time the music box and if they meet a certain number of minutes/seconds the class receives a reward. (You'll need to make sure you know how long the music box plays before you use this and set a time - most boxes I've found run about 2 1/2 minutes, and I set the goal as either 1 minute or 1 1/2 minutes depending on the kids). Your rewards can be whatever you choose. The two systems for rewards that have worked best for me are money for our money system or a letter to spell a word. For the letters, you can have options that the students spell such as: no homework, extra recess, pizza party, lunch in the classroom, video time, etc. Each day the students meet the goal they earn a letter, when the whole word/phrase is spelled they get their reward. I have also done this where each time the students spell the word surprise and are then rewarded with something of my choice - I think they like to vote to choose which reward to work on better than the surprise option.

Hope some of these ideas help!

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A Talkative Bunch...
Posted by: Tricia

I have a very talkative bunch of 5th graders. I will sometimes say things like, "I hear my voice so I should not hear anyone else." That's usually their first hint that they should Zip it!!
Sometimes, when it's real bad, I will just look at my watch and say, "It's o.k. if you want to talk during class because I can teach this same lesson at recess." Or try telling them that however much time they waste of yours, you will take from them at recess. Then sit at your desk and wait- patiently! I've only had to keep them in at recess twice when using this tactic.
With my homeroom, I do the same thing as Carolyn. Each week I assign a Group Leader, who is responsible for keeping the group on track. I give a point to the group who is ready first, transitions well, follows directions, etc. At the end of the week, the group with the most points gets a treat of some sort.
Hope this helps. Good luck!

talkative class
Posted by: Carolyn

I have worked in public school classrooms since 1985, both as a substitute teacher and as a full-time teacher. In my travels as a sub, I experienced a number of days as you describe.

What you need to remember is that it's not your fault that these children acted this way. Don't take it personally. There are good classes, and some not so good. There are basically two reasons why classes of kids act the way you describe:

1. They usually act this way for their regular teacher! Yes, it's true. I teach a fifth grade class this year which is a "bad mix." They have been together in the same classroom since they were in Kindergarten, and they act the way you describe. It's a really tough class to work with!
Our guidance counselor has tried to work with them, and our principal has suspended them! I have done everything I can to help them get along better and behave.

2. The other reason is that the regular teacher may not work all that hard at discipline. I knew one teacher who was in his last year before retirement. He just let his class go. I knew another long-time teacher who was in self-professed burnout, and his class was rowdy. As you gain experience as a sub, you quickly learn which teachers are tough and have well-behaved classes, and which ones are easy going. Some teachers are not true disciplinarians, preferring instead to be "warm and fuzzy."

As a sub, you can do several things with such a class: You can promise them a privilege if they behave. Positive reinforcement actually seems to work better than punishment with kids like the ones you have described. My sub gets around my kids' behavior by giving them extra-long recess. It works for her. I would be sure to leave the regular teacher a note about the kids' behavior. Another thing you can do is complain to the principal about the class. Once my sub left me a not about the kids' "bad behavior," and I referred the matter to the principal because the sub evidently did not. Finally, you can also scratch that class from your list of future classes to visit.

Talk, Talk, Talk!!!!
Posted by: Eydie

I have 32 now! It's a lot of first graders who are just naturally social but this group seems extra loud! Today my day was better then it has been but I did resort to bribes! ( Let's just call it positive reinforcement!) This is what I did. I wrote each child's name on a popscicle stick and put them in a cup. Before each transition time I pulled two sticks from the cup but did not tell them whos name was on the sticks. I told them I was watching to see if the two mystery people could follow directions quickly and quietly. If they could remain quiet and ready until everybody was ready then I would tell them who the mystery people were and if they had done a good job they could come and get a treat from the treat bucket. They all tried their best each time with the hope that they were the mystery person. It worked today.....I have a feeling though with this group I am going to have to come up with a different stratagy for each day of the week to keep their interest and spirits up. I also use a card system for those who need consequences for their behavior!

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Posted by: Cathy-Dee

Wow 32 Grade 1's :eek: I won't complain about my 28 grade 3's now!

I taught grade 1 for the past 10 years and I did have some chatty groups. I do think change and keeping it interesting and almost like a game or challenge is often the easiest route to go.

During centers I like to play music - I remind them that if they can't hear the music they are being too loud. We also practice a lot during the first week with quiet (whispering voices) vs. outside voices. I think when they practice it over and over they begin to just use those quiet voice more automatically.

A noise maker (as the other poster described) is a good attention getter as well as reminder.

The mystery students is great for many areas - walking in line quietly, etc.,

What I have also done in the past during centers is to shut down a center after the second warning. If it is a center that is popular they tend to be much better behaved when I bring it out for a second try the next day.

Have fun and don't let them wear you out! :p

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Posted by: Ri

When I student taught, my third graders were a very chatty bunch. Good kids, just talkative! I decided that I needed to set up a management plan to deal specifically with their talking issue. My goal was for them to start self-monitoring their talking.

My school had a die-cut of a yak. I cut some of these and posted them on the chalkboard, writing a number from 0 to 5 on each one. At the beginning of each day, a magnetic clip pointed to the "0" yak. The first time that the students were talking when it was not appropriate (or when they failed to heed my verbal reminder that it was not time to talk), I moved the clip up to the "1" yak. Throughout the day, when the class was talking at inappropriate times, I didn't need to do anything but walk to the chalkboard and move the clip to the next yak. Some students would always notice and frantically begin saying, "shhhh!" It got to the point where even walking near the chalkboard prompted them to stop chatting.

If the students were at "3" or fewer by the end of the day, they earned a yak point. Accumulating 5 "yak points" (after 5 days of doing a good job with monitoring their talking) meant that I would give them some time (maybe 10 minutes) at the end of one day when they could simply talk to each other. The idea was that, if they could refrain from talking at inappropriate times, their reward would be some time set aside when it WAS appropriate to talk.

If the students got to "4" on any given day, I erased their yak points and they had to start over again at trying to earn "yak time".

If the students got to "5" on any given day, the class lost a privilege (in my case, they owed recess time). This never, ever happened. If the class got up to "4," they became as quiet as mice for the rest of the day and were really sad that they had lost their points, especially if they were on the verge of earning "yak time."

Well, that was a lot to write, but it's really a simple system. It was successful for me.

Just be creative! You will strike upon something that will work with your first graders. Being first graders, they will probably need a lot of instruction in when it is ok to talk and when it's not ok. My third graders knew better, the little rascals!