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Why won't they stop talking?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by ShadowMan, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    Having given it some thought, I've gone off the idea of a competition. As soon as the boys realise they are losing there will be no incentive to carry on being quiet. Probably works much better with younger ones. Any other ideas?
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Worked with 5 and 6 for years, in single and mixed year groups. It was the younger ones I was worried about, thinking they wouldn't be able to resist talking.

    Thing is they can easily win the second half (changing back) even if they fluff the first half. The prize does need to be immediate and something they want though.

    As most want to win it is almost always near silence anyway, so any odd comments I just say things like "Oooops I think I heard something, wonder if I'll have to find out if it was a boy or a girl' and they stop immediately.
  3. NQT88

    NQT88 New commenter

    I've found hexagons work before. You have a grid of hexagons (or any other shape) and if they manage to do something they get to colour one in but only if they do it as a class (my lot were quite fractured). When they've got all of the hexagons they get a reward (Mine have always had to colour in quite a few so it's usually been a 45 minute session of what they want).
    They all want the reward and you will have some helpful children always willing to remind the talkers that they should be quiet.
  4. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    OK. I'm going for it. Thanks.
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Just try it...even if they don't manage silence, it is almost so and therefore less stressful.

    Good Luck!
  6. I'm not primary, so this might not be useful, but...
    The secret student technique? You use a random name generator to pick a random student each time; you don't tell the kids who it is or make it possible for them to tell. You say that any one of them could be the secret student; if the secret student is silent when changing the whole class is told who it was and gets a treat. If the secret student is not silent, you don't say who it was, but you say that the whole class has missed out. The goal being to encourage a culture of positive peer pressure; students encouraging each other to follow the instruction, because after all, any of them could be the secret student.
    Or, if the issue is that when they talk they take 20 minutes instead of 3, set a timer for five minutes. The whole class has to be ready or they'll lose any additional time off their breaktime, because (emphasise) the whole class needs to have their full PE lesson. So if they choose to use up their own breaktime with changing slowly (you say sadly), well, that's their choice.
    Then enforce it. Shamelessly. It'll feel like hell the first 2-3 times, the students will resent you. Then they'll start meeting your expectations... or missing them by a smaller degree.
  7. Is getting changed in silence a realistic goal? Primary children generally love PE and are excited about the lesson. As long as they get changed quickly and are not yelling or being daft maybe a little leeway is needed here? Set them a time limit to get changed and they usually want to achieve it, especially with you providing a commentary of who is changed first etc.
  8. s249

    s249 New commenter

    If you really want them to be silent, make the ones that aren't sit out of PE and watch that day.

    They'll get bored of not doing PE soon enough.

    I would just set a timer on the board though, and tell them that if they aren't changed by this time, then everyone is leaving the room no matter what they are wearing?

    Maybe I'm a bit harsh, but by giving them housepoints, then taking them away, they are effectively back to where they started- with none, and they were fine with none 2 minutes ago....
  9. Surely you should never take away house points if they have earned them? If I was a child I would get quickly disgruntled and disillusioned with the house point system if that was the case.
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think in this case, they hadn't earned them. Merely been given them and had to be silent to keep them. Mind you, that means a fair number of children end up with two housepoints for doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

    It does all sound like some people must have really negative atmospheres for getting changed. My class are pretty much silent, change quickly and everyone is happy and cheerful. There is no punishment for talking, just no reward for being silent. I've started having their current favourite assembly song on as they get changed and so once changed they sit on the carpet and join in the singing in a whisper. As they love singing that works as a bribe to speed them up as well.
  11. Well then surely house points shouldn't be given for doing nothing! I agree, I don't understand the need for this rigid silence. If I walked past a class like that I wouldn't think 'how impressive', I would think 'poor children!'. I have heard teachers making more noise trying to get the children to be quiet than the children are actually making themselves!
    Not that I'm perfect in any way!
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    LOL Yes me too! And sometimes, when I hear a teacher shout something like "Why on earth is it so noisy in here? Why can't you just talk quietly?", I really, really want some wag to answer "Because you are making sooo much noise miss/sir!"
  13. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    Given that what you WANT is a quick change, and not specifically silence itself, can I suggest a paradigm shift?
    Forget insisting on silence. Set them a changing deadline. Anyone who is late gets a detention/ sanction etc. Simple. That way the consequence is attached to the primary misbehaviour, rather than attaching it (somewhat metaphysically, possibly) to a secondary behaviour.
    It's possible that they see your insistence of silence as draconian, and resent you for it. Because they can't see why you want them to be perfectly quiet. Perhaps they don;t see a direct link between whispering and changing time?
    Good luck
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or
    follow him. His latest book, Teacher, is out this month, published by Continuum/ Bloomsbury

  14. Joydoron

    Joydoron New commenter

    I agree! I play the music for Mission Impossible, which lasts about 3 minutes. Children have to be ready by the end. First 5 ready get reward (eg house points). It works every time, because the music has such urgency that they can't resist.
  15. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    Thank you for all the responses but some of you have not read the OP. My class do not merely talk - they talk at the top of their voices. If I want to speak to anyone I have to raise my voice to be heard. Some of you may teach that way but I do not. The noise is extraordinary. If someone was hurt I would not know it. Hence the need for silence. Tom: I have six or seven extremely eager boys who always change in seconds and then stand about shouting.
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Now this would drive me nuts as well. I hate loud unproductive noise and understand your frustration.

    What do you do the rest of the time to keep them/get them quiet? It is weird for a class who are usually quiet and receptive to their teacher to behave so poorly at one time of the week.

    Can you have something for them to do once changed to keep the fast changers occupied? Reading/Handwriting/drawing?

    I know you weren't sure about my earlier idea, but if your quick changers are boys then it is easy to sit there and say things like 'Wow the boys are winning the speed part, wonder if any boys will talk and let them down? Well done you boys so far. Brilliant! ' and other such things. It also speeds up the very slow girls.
  17. Minnieminx beat me to it. What are the class like the rest of the time? If this is the only time they are noisy then I can't see that it's going to be a massive issue to sort out.
  18. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    It depends what they are doing. Whenever they are moving about, they shout. There are about 10 children in the room with voices like fog horns. They're not being deliberately loud or argumentative; they just don't have an ability to talk quietly when they're on their feet. Leading them through the school has been an extraordinary battle. They have practised walking quietly in the corridors during PE and break several times. During class activities such as writing, numeracy etc they can easiky work quietly and even silently. But ask them to get up and move around and they create total mayhem.
  19. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Hmmmm in that case you probably need a strategy that will work for all moving around times, including getting changed.

    You could try 'I'm going to watch three secret people and if they all do this silently the class will get 5 mins choosing time' type strategy. I used it with year 5 a few years ago. I wrote the chosen children's names on a postit, but didn't' let any child see it. When it came to reviewing it was easy to cheat if the class had been really quiet generally, but not one of the secret ones. Just say 'well done to X, Y, Z, you have earned the class XXX'. However if the general tone was not as good as wanted it was still easy to cheat and pick a child who had been a pain and say they were one of the secret ones, with a 'what a shame' type comment.
  20. http://classtools.net/education-games-php/timer/
    I like this countdown timer. Put the music on so loud you won't hear them talking. But they all have to be ready before the timer runs out. There is a little drop down box at the top where you can choose the music. I find it works a treat and I have it so loud that kids listen and really rush to get changed.

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