Tips for Managing a Chatty Class

It's hard to stay on track when you've got a classroom full of chatterboxes on your hands. Keep things under control with these 5 tips!

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Do you have a group of students who love to talk? Do their conversations impede your lessons? It’s very frustrating to have to stop teaching every five minutes because of talking. Keep reading to learn 5 strategies for managing your chatty class.

1. Build talk time into your lessons.

Giving your students a chance to talk is a great way to cut down on chatting when you don’t want it. Build opportunities for group discussions and think-pair-share into your lessons. If they are allowed to talk for a few minutes, your students are less likely to chat while you’re delivering the rest of the lesson.

2. Give your students a challenge.

Kids love a competition! You can challenge them to beat you or each other. When my students’ desks are arranged in groups, I give them group points for working quietly and following the directions the first time. At the end of the day, we see which group has the most points, and they get a small prize.

Right now, the desks in my classroom are arranged in a horseshoe. Since group points don’t work, I challenge my class to earn more points than me. Each time we transition, I count down from 5. If everyone is ready and quiet when I get to 0, the class earns a point. If they aren’t ready, I earn a point. At the end of the day, we see who has more points, and if they win, we spend a few minutes doing a fun activity before dismissal.

3. Arrange your students’ desks to cut back on talking.

I find that my students are the chattiest when they are sitting in groups. I love the collaboration that happens in groups, but sometimes other seating arrangements are needed to reduce the chatting. I love the horseshoe setup because students can still turn and talk to the person next to them, but there aren’t too many others nearby. Sometimes rows are necessary to completely stop talking, like during a test.

4. Try Class Dojo.

I’ve used Class Dojo in my classroom for the past 3 years. This online behavior management system is perfect for controlling the noise level in your classroom. You can add points for quiet workers and remove points from students who are being too loud. My students enjoy earning points for their monsters, and I love that I can control the volume in my classroom without interrupting the lesson.

Class Dojo works on all types of electronic devices - desktops, Chromebooks, even phones. When I’m working with a small group, I can add and subtract points. The program makes a noise, and the whole class gets quiet when they hear it. I can work with a small group at my back table and control the noise level in my classroom with the click of a button.

5. Use a Visual Reminder.

Control students’ volume during group work by using an online noise meter. Two that I really like are “Bouncy Balls” and “Calmness Counter." Just project them on your screen, and the students can see when they’re getting too loud. This is a great visual way to show students their noise level, since they often don’t realize how loud it is in the room.

Some teachers also use a stop sign to help students remember to control their volume. Red means no talking, yellow means whisper, and green means regular voices. The teacher can change the expectation based on what the class is doing.

Controlling the volume in your classroom can be challenging.

You want to create a quiet learning space where your students can learn and thrive while still providing opportunities for collaboration and conversations about the content they are learning. Use these five tips to find the perfect balance and manage your chatty class.


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Want more from this author? Check out Tara's money-saving tips for teachers.
Author Bio:

Tara Dusko is a 3rd-grade teacher and mom of two. She blogs about ways to have a fun, low-stress year as a teacher at Teach Without Tears and about time and money-saving tips for moms at Flavors, Fashion, and Fun.

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