Tips and Tricks Part 2: Story Tellers and Chatterboxes
The majority of classrooms have at least one of “those kids” in them. They are students who always have a story to tell or facts to share. With the demands on teachers’ time these days, and the number of students in one classroom needing attention, it can be difficult to constantly indulge these students all day long. As teachers, we want to encourage our students to come to us with their thoughts and feelings. However, some students have something to share with you all day long. They have a story to tell during morning lunch count, during lesson transition, during the walk to P.E., etc. Not every suggestion, or idea, or tip will work for every student. They are all different, and so respond differently to each technique we try to put in place to help. The following are some of the tips and tricks I have found to work effectively for my story-tellers/chatterboxes.
- Encourage them to share their story! Just encourage them to do it in a way that won’t drive
you absolutely crazy. Tell them that you would love to read their story as a book, or in some student’s cases, a collection of stories. Have them write their story down and illustrate it during their free time and they can add it to the classroom library. This strategy is two-fold because it gives the student the opportunity to tell their story in a constructive way and it also takes up some of their free time when they might otherwise be on your heel for story-time!
- Give the student three or four Popsicle sticks to keep at their desk. (They can even
decorate them if they want to.) Each time they want to tell you a story or fact that is not related to the class topic have them put one Popsicle stick on your desk afterward. After all the Popsicle sticks are on your desk they don’t have any more story-sharing time with you. You can adjust the number of Popsicle sticks and how they are used (day or week) to meet the needs of your student. This reduces the number of times you have to stop to listen to their stories, and it also encourages them to choose for themselves what things are important to share and what aren’t.
- I once had a student who could literally tell you everything you could ever want
to know about the weather. He could repeat the morning weather report almost word for word and explain what it all meant. I loved that he was so excited about the weather and how it all worked together. I wasn’t so excited to hear the weather report on the “8’s” every hour. I had this student write down all the weather facts he wanted and put them in a special box in the classroom. At the end of the day he got to reach in and choose one fact to pull out and read to the class. I gradually adjusted this to one fact every other day and then twice a week.
- Some students are just chatterboxes. They always have something to say. I got so
tired of asking these students to please be quiet over and over and over again that I figured I would just let them go. They would get a minute and a half during the day to say as much as they wanted while we all listened. They pick the time and I tell them to go for it while I watch the timer. They talk for the whole minute and a half (or however long you choose) and then the rest of the day they owe me quiet listening time because I let them talk earlier.
- Also,make sure to call on these students often for reading aloud, brainstorming
suggestions, etc. A lot of times these students have a need to be heard and that’s why they are so talkative during the day. Staying aware of giving them those chances throughout the day will help to alleviate some of their talking at inappropriate times.
The point of this blog is not to discourage students from sharing their stories, thoughts and feelings with you. As teachers we really welcome it when students choose to share those things with us. However some students can become disruptive with how often they want to tell stories, bits of information, or just chit-chat. Part of our job as educators is to teach our students the social skills they will need to be successful in life. Knowing what, when, and how often to share their stories and thoughts is part of that lesson. These tips are just some things that have worked for me in dealing with the more disruptive ones. And if all else fails, tell them to save that story for their P.E. teacher because you’re sure they would love to hear it! Hey, teaching is all about collaboration and teamwork right?
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.