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?
Five Ways to Start Your Lessons

Five Ways to Start Your Lessons

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Dealing with a chatty classroom will happen no matter the age group of students. It is important that the expectations of noise level is not only addressed at the beginning of the year but repeatedly enforced so that students respect the rules and you have the class room you want. During the next school yearI will take the opportunity to use the silent signal within my classroom and find a method that works for me and the students.

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Whenever I think of quieting a classroom I do not think of these strategies but rather I think of attention getters like "1,2,3 all eyes on me" or intraverbals. Since these do put a strain on your voice it makes me happy to see there are things like a silent classroom to start off the day and give the students chattiness and my own voice a chance to rest. 

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Hello.  I teach 5th grade and use "silent signals" as a quick check for understanding about whatever subject we're studying.  A thumb up means "yes"; a hand held flat with the palm down means "no"; and a hand held flat moving back and forth quickly means "maybe" or "sort of".  It's a fantastic way of doing a whole class assessment.  I believe the "silent start" is something I would seriously consider introducing first thing in the morning to set the 'tone' of the classroom.  Great idea!

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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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  • - - 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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