It’s that time of year! Students have gotten to know each other and are feeling more comfortable with one another and undoubtedly your “blurters” have revealed themselves. Here are some tried and true ways to get students to share their ideas in a more productive way.
1. Set expectations
Remind your students of how you want them to share their ideas. One author calls this “important participation.” It might sound something like this: “I know you are all anxious to share your thoughts and you have a lot to say. I’m going to give you a number of chances to turn and talk to a partner as well as time to share. To keep things interesting and fun I need you to keep your comments or thoughts in your head until we have a talking time." For students who are having a particularly hard time, schedule a one-on-one conversation to talk with them about your pride in their great ideas but your goal for them to let others share as well.
2. Set Up Routines that give students wait time
When you ask a question, give students time to stop and jot down a few ideas before they share. This gives everyone time to think and reassures students that their ideas won’t be lost.
3. Plan for academic conversations every ten minutes
Students are less likely to blurt out if they know they’ll have time to chart. Research suggests that students need two minutes to process information every ten minutes in a lesson. You can make this work quickly and efficiently by assigning talking partners and by planning these stops into your PowerPoints if you use these to help organize your lesson.
4. Post your expectations for discussions and refer to them
Have a discussion with your students about what a productive discussion or contribution looks like. Create a chart that captures these ideas and refer to them when you need to reteach expectations or redirect behavior.
5. Give your chronic blurters a bit of one-on-one time
If you know you have a student that has a difficult time waiting to share ideas, try to give them a minute of one-on-one time as they come in the door. Often this bit of attention will help them feel valued and will make them less likely to steal the show later.
If you are having a difficult time with one class hour, remember you can connect with your instructional coach for more ideas.
Ideas inspired by the Scholastic article "Seven Ways to Cure the Blurts: How one teacher curbs disruptions and keeps things running smoothly" by Ruth Sidney Charney.
This post brought to you by Heather Willman, APOSA overseeing Secondary Curriculum and Instructional Coaching
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