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Beagles Beagles is offline
 
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Side Talk
Old 12-28-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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I need a few suggestions.
I have 29 very chatty fifth grade students, so sitting on the carpet is a bit challenging.
The biggest problem is while a student shares, I have a few kids around the circle having side conversations. Most of the time, it is related to the topic and sometimes not. I've addressed this issue a few times but not much has changed. I move around students so they are not with the same student all the time. I taught, a "I have a connection" signal and I've asked a few times for some students to leave the circle. Any other suggestions?


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Hi Beagles...
Old 01-02-2010, 08:35 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #2

Sounds like you have some great strategies that aren't working as well as you'd like. Here are a couple clarifying questions/ideas for you to reflect on as you grapple with the side talkers!

When you "ask them to leave the Circle"; what does that mean exactly? Are they losing a privilege or just trying to regain control? Are they going to a Take A Break (or time out) space? Or are they left out of the Circle for the rest of the Meeting?

If they are just regaining control, where do they sit when they return?

What one-on-one follow-up do you have with them after Share about needing to sit in the Take a Break spot?

Have you used your teacher language to reinforce when they are focused and listening? "I notice many of you listening so well today. How does that feel, Friend Who Shares, when people are listening politely?" Have sharing student answer.

Have you used reminding language proactively before the share? Something like "I know sometimes when we listen to a person's share, it can be challenging. Sometimes we want to talk about what we see or hear. Why is that a problem?" students answer. "So, in order for our Sharing Friend to feel respected, what will it look like and sound like when Sharing Friend is talking today?" Students answer. "What will my job be if I notice you having trouble staying quiet and focused?" students answer. "Okay, so I am going to be looking for students to be quiet, listening , thinking and maybe using the "me too" sign."

Hope these help. Feel free to reflect in writing and share your thoughts. Sometimes it's really helpful and we can "see" your thinking.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Hi! Thank you for the reply. After the first side talk, I remind the students why it's important and courteous to not have side conversations since we have discussed this issue from September. When the same students do it again, I ask them to go back to their seats and continue to listen from there. So in essence on the second offense they lose their priviledge, since they are fifth graders. After a few minutes, I ask him/her if he/she feels ready to join the circle. They never say they aren't ready.

This slows down the process of Morning Meeting and disrupts the flow which I don't like.

Sometimes the topic being discussed is so interesting for the students, that even if I did a pair share first and then select (using the stick) a few students' ideas, it's hard to bring back the group's attention.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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I completely agree that coming back to the circle can disrupt the flow of the MM. So, maybe one thing you could do is wait until after Morning Meeting. Don't hesitate to have a one-on-one Problem Solving Conference with the repeat offender(s) later in the day. I often make appointments to do that. For example, I have said "I notice the two of you were really chatty during Morning Meeting today. I know you may be excited about the share, but talking during share is unacceptable and doesn't follow our rules. Now is the time for Writing, so I'd like to talk with you both during Quiet Time today. You need to be thinking of ways that you can stay in-control during share even when you are excited. I look forward to hearing your ideas then."

Another thought: When the students return, do they come back to the same spot or choose a different one? If they choose a different one, do you use reinforcing language for that? I think that is so important for them. Once they make the "good" or appropriate choice, we need to reinforce it so they do it again! I learned from my On Site Coach this technique; "I noticed you were a great listener when you came back to the Meeting. What worked well for you?" Then the student names the behaviors he or she did that made their participation a success. You can do that quickly during transition from MM to your next activity.

I hope these ideas help! I know how frustrating chatty styudents can be! I also notice you are cutting them some slack b/c you understand their excitement for learning. It is always a bit of a dance, isn't it?
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