Your lucky little learners are ready to learn and share (usually verbally) all of their knowledge. Sometimes, these facts and figures are ready to pop out of their mouths at anytime. Blurting can be a big problem in the primary grades. It’s so important to teach your students how to control shouting out answers or anything they are thinking at an inappropriate time. These ideas to help with blurting out in the classroom encompass the character elements demonstrated in our social emotional learning lessons. Here are some ideas to help with blurting out in the classroom to try with your students.
Keep a bubble in your mouth.
Try telling your students to hold a bubble in their mouth. If there is a bubble (or their cheeks are inflated), they’re less likely to speak out. This is a great strategy while walking in the hall or coming back from recess in order to keep from interrupting other classes in session. This can work at the beginning of class periods or lessons if you have short instructions to share. You don’t want them to keep a bubble in their mouth for too long. It can get silly when kids may start to “hold their breath”!
When students start blurting, one of the easiest ways to curve behavior is to move closer to the student. Simply walking by or placing your hand on their desk can remind them that they don’t need to shout out answers or talk out of turn. Having the teacher hover nearby isn’t usually preferred. Students will often stop the habit when you start moving closer. You can also use this strategy to encourage students to stay on task and practice self-control, a characteristic we focus on in our social emotional learning lessons.
Write it down.
Encourage your students to write down comments and questions while you’re giving directions. When you are finished, they can raise their hands to share their ideas or inquire about the instructions if it’s still relevant. For students that have a difficult time staying focused, you can put a sticky note on their desk with a reminder to write down questions.
Ask three questions.
For students that are constantly blurting or asking questions, try limiting them to a certain amount of questions per period. Three questions is usually ideal. This teaches your students to pay more attention and look for answers independently before they rely on you. It also discourages blurting since they know they have a limited amount of questions and blurted questions may not be answered. An alternative during work time is “ask three then me”. When students should be working quietly in groups, encourage them to ask three class members, then if they are still unable to get their questions answered, they may raise their hand for help. This helps students work independently and develop collaborative relationships.
You never want to discourage your students from showing what they know. Instead of having everyone shout out their answers, try using whiteboards or even desktops with dry erase markers to write down answers to questions like spelling words, comprehension questions, or math problems. Students can show their answers by holding up the boards, or you can wander through the room and look at their desks before allowing them to wipe them clean. Every child has a chance to participate without blurting with this simple activity!
When it comes to keeping students quiet in class, these ideas to help with blurting out in the classroom will help your students learn self-control, respect, and responsibility, all characteristics that are part of our social emotional learning lessons. Try a few to help your students have a productive and positive year!
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