Series: Tch Tips

Three Ways to Deal with a Chatty Classroom
Lesson Objective: Learn how to curb classroom chatter
All Grades / All Subjects / Class Culture

Thought starters

  1. How does a silent start affect classroom culture?
  2. What silent signals could you use in your classroom?
  3. How does using talk moves encourage productive talk?

A silent start is a great idea as it starts your day the way you want it to flow.I want to try the silent signals in my classroom to see if it helps with one student in particular who likes to chat. Students do often zone out when others talk so the signals may engage them to continue to participate and not miss what was being said or having to repeat.


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I teach Kindegarten and the "I (heart) a silent start" sign might not work for them- they wouldn't get it! But I like using silent signals in my classsroom. Sometimes I raise a hand and put up 2 fingers, see if students mirror me, and then change my hand to show 4 fingers, etc. Once you start doing this it is fun and most students love it!


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I really liked all of the different hand signals mentioned in this video

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Repeating is a great tool. For one thing, it's an immediate assessment. It also encourages summarizing. I also find that other students benefit from this repetition, whether they didn't quite absorb the information the first time it was communicated or they better internalize the summary given by a peer.

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"I heart a silent start" as well but in my classroom that seems to only frustrate my students. First thing in the morning there is a certain degree of socializing that seems to be necessary. If I discourage this, the students find other ways to have this conversation and tend to be more distracted while in the work cycle. I am fortunate to have a morning recess so I allow talking first thing in the morning then we go outside. This change of scenery gives me an opportunity to have a silent start the second tme students enter the classroom. 

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I found this video to be very useful because it always helps to have ways to channel chatty classes into something that will help all the students learn more. I specifically like "talk moves" because having students repeat what others have said and adding on shows how much they are retaining. 

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  • - - Good morning, Kathy. - Good morning, Dorothy. - Good morning, good morning. The beginning of class is really

    - - Good morning, Kathy. - Good morning, Dorothy. - Good morning, good morning. The beginning of class is really important to me. And so, the first thing I do when students enter is I greet them each at the door, and I'm holding a sign that says I heart a silent start. - Good morning, Nandi. - Good morning. - We call them silent signals. You'll see students showing their agreement, their disagreement, they need clarification, volume, keep on going, complete sentence. How do you feel about that, class? - We can't change the divisor, you can only change-- - Talk moves are a way to encourage discourse in the classroom. The first talk move that I learned was repeating. Can you explain what she just did up there? Another talk move is adding on. So what do you think, Jason, about what she said? Children were used to, the teacher called on that person, so I'm going to check out until she calls on me. And then, suddenly, it was like whoa, you need to pay attention. - I would like to add something what Jason-- - Yeah. - Said.

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