Monday, February 2, 2015

Classroom Management: The Blurt Chart

It's Monday again.
Yep, it was inevitable. So it's Feb 2st and the newness of 2015 is starting to wear off. Having any behavior hiccups yet? I sure am.

The other day a question was asked in one of my Teacher FB groups and I immediately thought, I have SO been meaning to blog about that! Shame on me for not getting to this earlier.

The question asked was...
What do you do when a student is constantly blurting out in class?
One of the answers I read that made me laugh was "Take a deep breath and listen." While this can sometimes be true, and useful, it can really throw a wrench in the plans. I mean we know those little darlings can go on and on and on (imagine The Sandlot) 
Who has that kind of time? I know I don't, I only get an hour a day with my little ones. (ELL teacher remember.)
Personally I totally understand how they feel. Think about it, they are learning SO much, I mean constantly experiencing new things and we are asking them to sit and listen to us all day. It is crazy town. However, it isn't like I can let them all go to town talking about everything. 
Most of the time I let my students know that they have a WONDERFUL story ready for our Writers Workshop, or Talking Buddies, and I ask them to put it away in their pocket for later. This totally works for 90% of my students.

Yet, there is always a student or two that just can't seem to keep their thoughts to themselves. Yes that student whose words just FLY out of their mouth. I know it is difficult for US, but for the most part this is an impulse control problem with the student. They don't even realize how often they are blurting. The other option is a student who is being defiant. Option two is a little bit harder to deal with. Mainly because they are doing it consciously. However I go about this next part in the same way.

Here is when I take out my sticky note pad. I let my student know, ahead of time and privately, that they have been interrupting and talking without permission during my lesson. I let them know that I will be making a mark on my note every time they do, just to collect data that will help both them and ME. During that lesson I make a tally each time the student blurts. At the end of the lesson I show the student how many tallies.

Got the impulsive student this part is usually an eye opener. For the defiant student it is more of a gotcha, or an "I'm watching you." Regardless like before I go about this next part int he same way...
I let the student know that I am making a plan to help them and ME in class. I remind them that talking while someone else is talking is rude and that it makes be feel bad when they interrupt me and/ or their classmates. I don't want them to be rude so I am going to help them with some reminders.
Here is what that looks like.
Seriously it is this simple.
I write the students name, date, and make 3 boxes. I tell the student that I will give them 3 chances. Each time they blurt I will x-out a box. If they blurt more than 3 times I will separate them from the main group so they can think about what the problem was. If they get 1 or 2 marks I make a smiley face. If they get no marks they get a sticker. As you can see my student this day got no marks. This particular student LOVES his blurt chart and asks me for it on the daily even though he doesn't need it any more.

I keep this sticky not on the students desk, right near them, or in their line of sight as a simple reminder. Most of the time I don't even say anything, just mark off a box and he quickly gets in line.

I do want to say I have a defiant kiddo that this strategy is only mildly successful with. When he is in a bad mood he doesn't really care. I still do this though because it helps me collect that all important data to be able to share with parents.
I normally let my students take their sticky not with them when they return to class. If I am collecting data I either snap a pic with my iPad or write it down in a notebook, but I could keep these in a notebook if I wanted to.

That's it folks. Hope this was helpful to you.
Happy planning, and may you avoid the Sunday night teacher blues. <3 p="">


  1. What a great idea! Never thought of using a sticky note, thanks for sharing!:)

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