Are your classroom rules of not blurting out or interrupting being broken non-stop throughout your day? Yeah, me too. That is what led me to find guaranteed ways to stop students from blurting out in class that you too will be able to add to your classroom management bag of tricks because they are so easy to implement.
First, let me say that I geek out on reading research on classroom management strategies and techniques. All of the classroom management ideas I share today are research-based and/or tried and true from my own elementary classroom. If you have any to add please share your favorite strategy for stopping students from blurting out at the end of this post.
Most of our classroom’s day is spent talking, collaborating, and engaging in meaningful conversation. Encouraging students to share their thinking is vital, however, there are also times that should be spent listening. To us, it’s obvious. You shouldn’t have to tell your students it’s wrong to blurt out in class during inappropriate times. Unfortunately, we do. We can either address that blurting out is wrong now, or spend the remainder of the school doing it.
I introduce why it’s wrong with a good picture book.
My top 3 favorites are:
Then we create a blurt chart of why it’s wrong to blurt out during class during inappropriate times. Our blurt chart is called, “Blurts Hurt.” Students add their reasons and we come to a class consensus that we should not blurt out. (We also have a separate discussion on why it’s important to participate and learn how to collaboratively talk with one another.)
Once the students understand the why, we then discuss the “But what if…” questions so that I can set clear classroom expectations when it comes to behavior. We go over this “If-then” blurt chart:
Sometimes I have just one kid who needs the expectations set specifically for them because the rest of the class just “gets it.” In those cases, I make a mini-expectations chart:
Now that the expectations and classroom rules are set, it’s time for students to understand what will happen if they do blurt out in class. I usually tell my students the first week of school about our consequences for classroom rules, but for my frequent blurter, I create a consequence card so that they know that I am serious. When I was a brand new teacher, I would just constantly repeat myself heck I still catch myself sometimes. And that pretty much was the “consequence” if a kid blurted out. They’d just have to hear me nagging. This consequence card holds me and the student accountable. Your consequences may look different than mine and that’s just fine! The key is to STICK to whatever consequences you set. If you find that your consequences are unrealistic for you to stick to, then you need to tweak them. We, teachers, lose control of our classrooms the minute the students stop taking you and your word seriously. They will test your limits and see if you actually follow through with your consequences, trust me! Here is an example of a consequence card I used on one of my second graders:
You will read more about my blurt box as you continue to scroll. A teacher talk is me sitting down with the student during their free time and discussing what they did, why they did it and a plan to make it better. Sometimes it also involves the student practicing the desired behavior.
Here is another flow of consequences for blurting out in class:
Including our whole class visual reminders, I also give students who desperately need reminders something visual that I can go to their desk and point to when they working. For example, this chit chat mat slides from yes to no throughout the day, depending on our current voice level expectation:
This is my FAVORITE part. I am all about helping students improve their behavior. Here are some quick behavior interventions I do to help my main kiddos who blurt out during class.
These are talkin’ tokens. Give your student as many pre-determined talkin’ tokens as you’d like (3-4). This will help them become more thoughtful about what they contribute and serve as a visual reminder to raise their hand. If they are in a group setting and dominate the conversation, they can also use these. Each time they talk- including blurts- they give you (or a peer) the talkin’ token. Once they’re out, they’re out! Of course, if you notice that they are doing well you can give them extra tokens. 🙂
This is helpful for the kid who blurts out before anyone else even has time to think of the answer. It is their own personal wait time card. The student is given this card during whole group lessons. With a finger, clothespin, or paper clip, they will keep track of how many students have participated before their can raise their hand and contribute their thoughts/answers. This helps the student practice self-control while still being encouraged to participate.
This helps the student set personal goals on how to reduce his/her number of interruptions. Sometimes the student is astonished by how many times he/she is interrupting during a single class period. Remember the goal is to help turn this behavior into a positive one. Be encouraging and not shameful. Remind them that having lots of ideas to share is a GOOD thing and that it is important to do it in a respectful way.
This is an example of behavior bingo being used for one individual. He keeps the chart on a clipboard. Each time I catch him raising his hand, he gets to pick a box to write his name in. At the end of the day (or week) he draws a bingo chip card. If for example, he drew B2, he would win a behavior incentive such as lunch with me. Obviously, the more good he does, the more likely the chance that he will win. This exact chart can be used with a whole class too!
As you track their improvement, hold your kiddo who blurts out accountable by having them keep track of their own behavior. Focus on the positive behavior by giving a hole punch every time they remember to raise their hand. For example, if you are teaching a math mini-lesson for 15 minutes and the student remembers to not blurt and/or raise their hand, then that would be a punch. This will reinforce the positive behavior.
I send praise notes and emails most often since I have a very email-y group of parents, but I also call home to let parents know when their kid is improving in their behavior, not just when he/she is misbehaving. I think it’s important to share your students’ behavior goals with their parents so that they can support their children at home.
I couldn’t share everything inside my teacher bag of tricks, but if you want to see the whole enchilada of how I support my kids who blurt all day erryday, check out the resource I created:
With love and support,
Chynell | The Pinspired Teacher
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