I have this one class of Freshmen that talk too much. It happens every year and here's what I believe happens. The students are just talking, they are not being mean or hurting anyone's feelings, but they are disruptive. I know what some of you are thinking, just give those kids detention. But seriously, that's not how I work. And when I did do that in the beginning of the school year, I was met with a bunch of angry students. We all know that's not how students learn best.
Here's what happens in my classroom, and I'm sure many of you can relate:
Me: What should we do with this equation?
Student A: Injure it.
Student B: Like someone should do to you? (teasing)
Student C: *Laughs out loud*
Me: This is unacceptable (I may even lecture them about classroom behavior, even take a student out in the hallway)
Student A: I was only joking
Student D: You are never serious
Ok, you get the point. One random comment leads to a snowball effect in my classroom that has been quite honestly, pissing me off. But again, that's not how students learn best.
After class on Tuesday I was brainstorming (rather than complaining) with my Para-Professional about what we could do to stop this. I am under the impressions that these comments are such a habit for some students, they don't even realize they are doing it. And she had a great idea. Here it goes.
At the beginning of class, each student receives a sticky note and puts their name on the top of it. Each time they speak out at an inappropriate time, I will ask them to put a tally on their sticky. If their comment is not helpful to the class material, they will have to put a tally mark. There were no consequences to this activity, only to make them more aware of what they were doing, and how often they were doing it.
Here are the results:
Out of a class of 16 students:
6 students had 0 tally marks
3 students had 1 tally mark
2 students had 2 tally marks
1 student had 4 tally marks
1 student had 5 tally marks
1 student had 21 tally marks
1 student had 25 tally marks
1 student was absent
The mean was 4.1
The median was 1
Let's see if today is better.