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Too many stories!


Senior Member
I previously taught middle school, and none of the students but maybe one or two wanted to tell me stories about stuff, and it was always at lunch or between classes. Now I teach elementary this year, and I have 2 students who CONSTANTLY want to tell me stories, show me pictures, or share random facts. I really do care, and I want to know those things, but I can't get it across to them that there's a time and place for that, and it's not in between subjects or while I'm trying to monitor work. We've discussed it but to no avail because they keep wanting to share random stuff in the middle of class. I know I've come across irritated before, and then they looked hurt, but I don't know what else to do without being mean. Is it normal for 4th graders to tell so many stories all the time?


yes, and a related pet peeve

I have a little darling in fourth who does exactly that every day of the week. I felt so bad because I know my annoyance showed. However, now that he's almost a fifth grader I'm more tolerant. In no time at all, he'll be able to tell all his stories to a new teacher.

On a related note, what do you think about this? My kids chime in all the time, "I can make a connection to that," and proceed to tell me a lengthy personal story they can connect to text. In guided reading groups (20 minutes long), I feel like we've created monsters with this text to self connection strategy. It seems so self-indulgent. Then, when the students were asked to write their text to self connections in a literature circle response journal, they were at a loss for words. Today I thought that's how I'll solve it. Let them write their connection--then we'll share at the end.


Senior Member
I hear ya...

Girl, I understand EXACTLY what you are talking about! I have this little boy who came to me after being displaced by the storm and he has a story for EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!! It's either "Mrs. B., I have a cousin named _____" when we are reading a story or it's "well, at my old school...."...........AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! It drives me crazy! And I truly feel sorry for him because he's gone through so much this year with losing everything, but still! My god....it's also not a good thing that he is so dang cute and he talks with this cute little voice! I sometimes have to watch myself laughing when he is talking, he's that cute and animated!:)


Senior Member

One thing I've noticed is that the kids who ALWAYS have a story often are the same kids who don't get very much attention at home. I have one this year. I do try my best to teach him the right times to tell me his stories, but I also make a point each morning before class to chat with him and give him a little 1 on 1 time. That has seemed to help stop him from piping up at inappropriate times. I usually say cut them off and say "I would love to hear about that, but I can't listen now, come tell me at recess." Then one of two things happens: They either forget or don't want to come in at recess to tell me because they'd rather play. Sometimes kids really do come in, I usually ask if they mind if I work while they talk.


It still happens in sixth

I have one girl who cannot tell any story in under five minutes. And she has a story for EVERYTHING.

My kids have a journal prompt on the board every day when they walk in. The expectation (I thought) was for them to sit down and journal while I take roll. Everyone does except this boy. He wants to TALK about the journal prompt, and he is also very long-winded. Every day, I say, "If WE talk, they think THEY can talk." And they do. As soon as he starts talking, so do they. It's so hard to quiet that class down with him constantly talking to me. He feels hurt when I scoot him back to his desk, but god, we do this EVERYDAY. The expectation for this class has never been firmly established because of this annoyance at the beginning of the period, everyday. He is also very cute, and precocious, and he is driving me crazy.

Both of these kids are gifted, by the way. Think there's a connection, or am I just extra-unlucky this year?


Senior Member
This one time, at band camp...

I have fifth graders who do this, and one pokes me, you know, poke, poke, poke in the arm to get my attention as if I cannot tell she has walked up to me yet again for another story about her dog or imaginary step-mom. Finally, I had to ask her to stop poking me. She was doing it every time I passed by her and my arm was sore! ;)

I also have one who constantly tries to tell made up stories about stuff happening to him. One Monday he said he was burned all the way to his bone over the weekend. He told this story to all who would listen until one of my other darlings (MAN! I like this kid!) demanded to see it. Of course there was nothing there.

Other times, it's Mrs. K, have you ever been to China? (Tennessee, The Grand Canyon, Pluto?) well, I have and....

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
I have a couple of classes like that in middle school. One boys get right in my face and nearly pins me against a wall getting me to listen.

I have several who are on a "3 question/comment" limit per class period.

When we're having discussions, I always tell them that I'll take X number of topic-related comments, less than 1 minute in length, during the discussion. I even keep a running note of who talks on what day so we don't always hear from the same kids.

One from several years ago always had an "Up on the mountain . . ." story. He was from WAY up in the hills, and he had some really weird stories.

I also had one who would poke me or pull on my sleeve and say, "Excuse me. . . " and then go into his story. One always said people were stalking him in the bathroom.

CO teach

Full Member
I can totally relate

I have a young lady (4th grade) who cannot let a day go by without telling me a story about her mom, her dog, her brother, her grandma, etc, etc, etc. A couple of weeks ago, she must have told me the same story about her grandma's dog having puppies 5 times. I finally said, "Yes, _________, you told me that already." She looked at me like I was crazy. It must have been a different story to her ears!!

Not to mention, she always wants to tell me when we are walking down the hallway. Even though I have stressed all year that we need to be quiet and not talk in the hallway. I always have to tell her that we need to try and be good examples for the rest of the class. Except, the rest of the class is being the good example for HER!

Gotta love those storytellers!

I also have a coworker who found a great solution to the poking. When a student starts poking her arm, she stops what she's doing and pokes them back. She swears it works like a charm.


some ideas

During morning meeting I put 3 or 4 names up on the board who can share news that morning. It really helps! I explained to the kids that we have a lot to get done and can't all share all the time. Once we started doing morning news, it really helped cut back. If they still come up to me I usually say one of 3 things

1. "Tell me about it during recess, I can't wait!"
2. "That would be a great thing to share when it is your turn for news."
3. "That would be a great story for you to write down during Writers Workshop. Then you can read it to us."

It helps!


I let them

tell their stories if the stories are related to what we are doing in class. I teach science in English in a bilingual school. Telling their stories allows them to work on expressing themselves in English. If the story is not related to what is happening in class, I ask them to hold it until I have lunch time duty on the palyground. They can then share the story.


Senior Member
We have a morning meeting every day and three students can share some news and 3 students are allowed to ask questions or comment on their news. They have to speak in complete sentences so they can practice changing questions into sentences. Lately, I've also been telling them to write down their stories and they can either read it to the class or I will take it home and read it. This really does help.

apple annie

Senior Member
Never make eye contact!

Just kidding, but I had to laugh at the posts on this thread. My second graders aren't going to get better, are they? I have at least one of each of those kids mentioned above -- a poker, a hallway chatterer, a world traveler, a paranoid one, and an animal lover.

In science today we were discusssing the layers of the earth, and one of my kids (who is notorious for tuning out), insisted that he had been to the inner core of the earth. After I finally got it through to him that the inner core is too deep and too hot for human survival, he said, "Oh, I thought you were talking about a restaurant I have been to." Finally I was able to move on to the mantle, at which time same kid promptly calls out, "I've been there."

By the way, thanks for allowing me to share my story -- at least I wrote it down.:rolleyes:


Full Member

Instead of Show And Tell, a few years ago. I started the days asking, "What's New & Different?". So now, this is how our school day
begins. Each child has a chance to tell something, and often they have something to show. I almost always limit them in their explanation and keep them to one topic. If they insist there's more to share, I tell them to get their Journal and write it down for me to read, and then I'll have them read it tomorrow to the class. Guess what? Since I started this, I can count on one hand how many kids have followed through with their story's explanation! My third graders this year handle their time limit very well. Guess I'm just lucky/blessed to have kids who aren't long winded!




I've tried various tactics to slow down the sharing, but nothing is working. A couple of them don't stop unless I am blunt with them.