We’ve all had at least one class that seems to struggle with excessive talking. Whether it’s side conversations during carpet time, calling out during whole-group instruction, or chatting down the hallway, a talkative class can have a huge impact on learning. In this post, I’m going to share some classroom management tips to use when it feels like your class just won’t stop talking!
5 Helpful Tips for Your Talkative Class
When voices are coming at you from all directions, it can feel overwhelming to get things back under control! (I’ve been there!) If you find yourself in this situation often, here are some helpful tips for your chatty class.
1. Set Clear Expectations & Consequences
The very first step in dealing with a talkative class is to make sure they understand the noise level expectations throughout the day. It’s one thing to say “whisper voices” but do they understand what that means? Do they know what that sounds like? Take time to practice each voice level so that students understand each one. You can repeat this practice anytime it feels like students need a refresher!
It can be tricky for young students to see the line between productive discussion and disruptive talking. This is especially true in settings such as carpet time and centers rotations. Take the time to teach (and review) what the expected noise levels are during these times.
Students also need to have a clear understanding of the consequences for calling out in class and having disruptive conversations. It’s essential that you are consistent in the follow-through of these consequences!
2. Use Visuals
Once you have discussed noise level expectations with your class, be sure to use visual supports to reinforce these expectations. I have found that visuals are one of the best ways to redirect young learners when the class is excessively noisy. One reason for this is that it keeps you from simply adding to the chaos as you try to grab the students’ attention.
You can hold up a simple noise level card or point to your classroom expectations anchor chart as you wait for students to quiet down. This prevents you from contributing to the noise level when it’s time to address excessive talking in your classroom.
3. Set a Specific Class Goal
If your class is really struggling with talking at inappropriate times, you might consider setting a class goal. Be sure to focus on one specific goal that students can understand. For example, if your class gets chatty on the way to specials, you might set a goal to maintain Level 0 silence in the hallway. Once your class has mastered that, you can move on to another goal that will continue to help with excessive talking.
A whole-group reward system is a great way to keep your class motivated to work on these behaviors. After identifying the target behavior goal, you can also display a reward that your class will be working toward. As your class demonstrates the expected behavior, they can add a piece to the build-a-reward system.
4. Focus on Individual Students
So you might be thinking: “If I wait for my entire class to be Level 0 in the hallway, they will never earn their reward.” I hear you! I have actually written an entire blog post about what to do when you have one student who seems to be sabotaging the class goal. To sum it up, the key is to shift the focus to the students who ARE demonstrating the target behavior and reward the class for those students.
For example, after walking back from PE in near-silence, you can praise a specific student for remaining at Level 0 for the entire time they were in the hallway. That student can then choose the piece to add to the build-a-reward. This will keep your class motivated because they won’t be frustrated by the fact that one or two students continue to thwart the class efforts. Plus, they will be eager to be chosen as the student who can choose a piece for the reward.
Another way that you can focus on individual students is to recognize when some children will need additional support. Some students are more impulsive than others and it might be very difficult for them to maintain the expected voice level. Consider ways that you can support these students through an individual behavior chart and reward system.
5. Troubleshoot Your Routine
Finally, one of the most important things you can do when you have a talkative class is to troubleshoot your daily routine. Identify the times that your students really seem to be pulled into off-topic conversations. Once you have found what is triggering your chatty students, you can identify replacement behaviors and other strategies that will help.
More Strategies for Supporting a Talkative Class
In this video, I’m sharing more details about rewards and strategies that you can use to get students to stop talking! It includes an example from my own classroom when I analyzed the chattiest times of day and came up with a solution that worked for my talkative class.
Classroom Management Tools for Talkative Students
All of the classroom management tools pictured in this post can be found in one mega bundle that will save you both time and money! It has visual supports that will help you communicate clear expectations to your students. You’ll also find an entire year’s worth of seasonal whole-class reward systems that your students will love. Plus, this bundle includes individual behavior reward systems that you can use to help students who need that level of extra support.
Save These Tips for a Talkative Class
Be sure to add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find these classroom management tips and resources when you’re struggling to keep your students quiet!