Happy Tuesday! Just thought I’d share some helpful hints that I’ve tried this year in fourth grade to get that off-task talking under control.
Morning Talking: This year, I’ve scrapped the Daily Work sheets in favor of Morning Tweets (an idea I got from Pinterest). Instead of visiting friends around the room or talking to neighbors while beginning Daily Work, my students fill out a Morning Tweet card and put it in our pocket chart. Students read these throughout the day, and we choose several to share during class meetings. Tweeting rather than Talking ensures that every student gets to share special news, or just say what’s on their mind without soaking up valuable class time.
Transitions: Another Talking Monster Hot Spot! This year, I have been using an amazing song from “I Am Bullyproof Music” to smooth out our transition times as well as to reinforce that learning community feeling. The song is “Got Your Back”, and it’s full of love and positive messages about how we all look out for each other every day. I keep the mp3 track on my computer desktop and play it when our three fourth grade classes are changing for science, social studies, and writing. Students sing along as they get their materials ready, move to the next class, and gather for the mini-lesson to begin in my room. No wait time – just peace and love! Aaaaahhhhhhh.
Conversational Opportunities: Let’s face it – we all love to talk with our friends, and kids need some islands of talk time throughout the day when it’s ok to talk. I call these “Conversational Opportunities” and announce two or three of them each day, just for two or three minutes. Today, for example, at 9:10 on 11/12/13, we had a conversational opportunity in commemoration of Sequential Day! It doesn’t need to be on a special day or at a special time, though. I like to announce these breaks as a surprise.
Noise Level Chart: I use a cute and simple chart to rate the levels of noise which are acceptable during working time and those that are not acceptable. We practice the levels a lot early in the year. Before beginning partner or group work, I check in with my kids on what noise level they should choose for the activity at hand. “Study Buddy” (Level two) is usually just right!
Call and Response: When the noise level rises beyond the limits, or I just need to get everyone’s attention quickly, I love to use the age-old, tried-and-true call and response. Super simple: I call and they respond! Some of our favorites:
Me: One two three, eyes on me!
Them: One two, eyes on you!
Me: I need you to listen now with your eyes and ears.
Them: Mind and heart! (With motions to head and heart. This one melts me every time I hear it!)
I hope one or two of these tips will help you to tame that Talking Monster in your class! Thanks for hoppin’ over today!