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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just a thought....

I'm going to open up my soap box for a second....as I'm sitting in my room having lunch I hear a teacher walk down the hall saying "do I hear talking?" Of course you do! Of course I say the same things to my kids, but I sat and wondered...what is the purpose of this? In middle school and high school kids will talk, chew gum, hit each other and some may even smoke in the bathroom (not saying that we should allow any of that) but what's wrong with talking? During early bus duty the kids (Kindergartens mind you) are instructed to sit in front of a TV and watch it for 45-55 minutes QUIETLY. WHY? Why can't they talk quietly with their friends? During lunch the children CANNOT talk. WHY? During instructional time children CANNOT talk. Are you serious? I cannot go 2-3 minutes without talking and neither can any other teacher  I find this just super unnecessary because as the children get older they will realize that you talk everywhere. At work, during lunchtime (try having your lunch quietly) or even bathroom time. C*R*A*Z*Y! During snack I have started giving my kids chatty time just to let them communicate. Our kids are growing up in a society where technology is so HUGE they are not going to learn how to communicate with others. This is a big skill to learn, but if I allowed that in my classroom I would probably be told I couldn't control my students. What are you thoughts on this? Is it just me that this bothers? 


  1. I LOVE this! When I was in school I got in trouble ALL the time for talking. So now with my own class, I allow talking (whispering) as long as it is respectful. I try my best to engage the students in conversation showing them how to respect the listener. Our hallway is a "Zero Zone", meaning no talking..so I have to keep talking to a minimum. Luckily, the kiddos can talk in the cafeteria, BUT it has to be at a respectable level..well, how do you do that when you have almost 200 students in one room talking at a respectable level! This is SO my soap box too!

    Kinder Kraziness

  2. Wow, I love your post! My school is very traditional--shirts tucked in, silence in line ALWAYS., sit up straight in assemblies. You are completely on target with the technology; I watch my teenagers texting nonstop and wonder what will happen to the art of conversation in the next generation.

    Anyone care to bet that Harvard will offer a class--Vocal Communications, Origin and Purpose 101--sometime in the not-to-distant future?


  3. My class is different. Actually my school is different. Instead of fighting the talking they let them talk, as long as it is not during direct instruction time. Same for my room. My students have specific times they are allowed to work. Being an ELL teacher I ENCOURAGE their talking. It is part of what I have to do to get them ready.

    I think it is foolish to expect children to be quiet and sit still all day. It just sets them up to fail.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  4. My room is definitely not silent. I'm ok with talking as long as it doesn't keep them from doing their work and it doesn't get out of control. But I think the hallways should be quiet. The fifth grade is lined up from lunch while we're trying to get from specials back the classroom. They are so loud I can't hear my kids if they have a question or a problem. Some of my favorite times are listening to them talk to each other. It cracks me up.

  5. We are non talkers in the hall- but our cafe is also the respectable level thingy.
    I have a noise- a-meter in my room (it is just a paper with a dial). I got it from Tpt (free)
    there are times when we dont talk (because it is instruction time)- but we definitely talk when it isn't.
    I tell them there is a difference between working noise and playing noise and we have learned the difference.

    We can't expect them to practice inquiry based learning if we won't let them talk, investigate and explore....

    I think that for so long, teacher's have kept them quiet, so when they get to a room where they have a little freedom, they dont know how to use it! So mine are getting an early start:)
    I have never had a neighbor or admin complain about our working noise:) (knock on wood)

    Going Nutty!


  6. I should go back and say that we are non talkers in the hallways too. There is nothing more disturbing than a loud class walking by when your trying to teach.

    I also want to share that we do a lot with voice levels at the start of the year and we revisit it often. Children have to learn that they can't go around screaming at me. :/

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  7. We are trying to encourage our kid to participate in the conversation at dinner! We need to talk, they need to talk, we all need to do it together.

  8. I'm with you on this one. I used to get in trouble all the time in school for talking. Now I know that I shouldn't have been talking during when the teacher is teaching but there were many times we were just working and didn't get to talk. I hated that and you know what my students hate it too. It unnatural not to want to talk when someone is sitting next to you. I let them use whisper voices when they are working at their tables, give them time to work in groups and talk, have buddy reading to let them talk, use snack time and lunch to just let them chat about whatever. I hate when the kids have silent lunch in the cafeteria because one class was acting up and getting rowdy. Kids need time to talk! Okay now I need to get off my soap box.....

  9. We can talk at lunch.. and it gets LOUD!! But, they need to chat with friends! I always think it is crazy to tell kids they can not talk! I have taught in a school before where they couldn't talk at lunch and they were like robots.. of course lunch was much quicker than it is now! HA!

  10. Love your post, and blog! Just found it through Staci, my squirrel friend :) I do a lot of small group and center based instruction, so we HAVE to talk to work together with our center partners- so when we get in the hallway, we have to be quiet to respect the other students learning. When they get too loud, I often remind them that there are places and times to talk and this isn't one of them.

    Let's Teach Something

  11. Once or twice a week, I have a "conversation center" to encourage communication and chatting. We use different prompts and thing to get us going. I teach special ed, so this is basically a part of my curriculum, but all kiddos need to talk!

    Ms. Rachel’s Room

  12. So true! Sometimes I think about that when I'm shushing my students. Our district is really big on sharing with your partner and getting the kids thinking and talking so we are all trying to encourage it but reinging it in especially for the young ones. ( 1st )
    You got me thinking. Love your blog - I'm your newest follower. ;o)
    ~ Vicky
    Come check me out I'm new to blogging:

  13. You are so right!! We in education are not only teaching academics but their social, and emotional growth too! Talking is just as important as reading and writing. Love this post!! Just found your blog, I am your newest follower!

  14. at our school, they don't want them to talk at lunch either...REALLY?!?!? That is just CRAZY!!!

  15. I plan activities to promote talking - "turn and talk", partner activities and shoulder buddies. I have found that if you schedule productive, on-task talk activities, it helps cut down on the off task talking and the children are communicating. They follow the rules (using partner voices, stopping when asked, etc) because they LOVE these activities.

  16. My kids talk all the time-- sometimes at inappropriate times (like while I'm talking)! I try to encourage talking during math and reading centers because they are working with partners. We've had many talks about volume control (it's easy for firsties to get loud very quickly). The policy at our school is silent lunch for 10 minutes, then quiet voices for the last 15. I don't like that. I wouldn't want to eat in silence. So, my children are allowed to talk the whole time as long as they have quiet voices. I'm not a fan of talking in the halls. The children aren't there long, and I think they can learn to be silent for a couple of minutes. It drives me crazy to be interrupted by a loud class past my classroom. I guess that's really the only time I expect my kids to be silent.

  17. I believe most issues come back to moderation. I think it is important that kids learn there are times for talking and times for being quiet. To be quite honest, I believe many teachers could also learn that lesson. I have found that teachers are not very good listeners. During workshops and meetings, there is a constant hum of noise. I am not perfect. I do it too, but I think these are good lessons for everyone.

    I have taught my students which hallways are learning hallways and which hallways are talking hallways. I will stop when we enter a new area and ask..."What kind of hallway is this?" and I will hear "A learning hallway." I ask, "What does that mean." The students say, "Kids are learning and we need to be quiet." I do the same thing when we walk through the empty cafeteria or custodial hallway. "There aren't kids learning here so we can talk to our friends. We aren't keeping anyone from learning." The kids learn quickly when to talk and when not to talk.

    I have a daughter who can't filter out noise in the classroom. She is easily distracted. So, a noisy classroom doesn't allow learning for her. We need to keep in mind that there are students who can not handle a lot of noise.

    I really believe that balance is the key!!!!

    This is a fun discussion and helps us think about why we do things a certain way and reflect on things we could do better. I loved hearing everyone's thoughts!

  18. This is a great topic! I enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

    My first graders have lots of energy! They always keep me on my toes and love to talk too!

    I have a volume level rubric up by my whiteboard. It goes from 1-5. One is silent and 5 is emergency volume. Levels 1-3 are okay for in the classroom, and 4 and 5 are for outside (or emergencies). We talked a lot at the beginning of the year about remote controls and the idea of volume control. Somewhere out there in blogland, there is a blogger who makes themed volume rubrics (mine is just a poster paper with speech bubbles that get larger). We check-in with this poster A LOT! :)

    Since I have a chatty, happy class, I am also trying to incorporate more cooperative learning structures. My hope is that these structures give them an opportunity to talk to each other, but also there is accountability, simultaneous interaction, and peer to peer learning! Yay! We have been getting some ELL training at my school (first grade's next, whoo-hoo!) and a big part of it is using sentence stems. So my goal is to really work on incorporating cooperative learning structures with sentence stems to promote academic language.

    whew! I think this has been my longest comment ever! Thanks for reading all of it if you did! :)

    ~Heidi V.

  19. I don't mind the talking as long as it is at a reasonable level. However, this year's class talks ALL the time. Plus, they are loud. So very loud. I find myself telling them to be quiet more often just because they never stop talking. I really don't think they know the difference between appropriate times to talk and inappropriate times to talk. We review this often. It's exhausting.

    Thanks for bring this topic up. It's good to know there are other teachers out there like-minded.

  20. I am thankful to teach in a small private school, which I think gives more freedom in this area. I think it also helps that our cafeteria is wall-less (seriously! We so rarely get rain during the school year that it works out great - like a picnic everyday!) so even a group of 50 kids all talking at the same time isn't a problem (I have been in some school cafeterias that were deafening!). I have always allowed a bit of chit-chat in my classroom, with the provision that during work-time it must be productive chit-chat or we get out our "offices" (2 file folders stapled together for each student) and work silently. Just like with anything else, after a few weeks of training we rarely have to put the offices up anymore, and the kids are able to share collaborative ideas and get help from each other (how do you spell ___?) instead of always needing my help. I have had a few times a parent or another teacher comes into my room and it looks like chaos, but ultimately if I want everyone to sit down and be quiet, I know I can get them to quickly. It takes some time to find the balance with each new class, but there HAS to be a balance.

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