I love to talk! I have always loved to talk. As a child my parents diagnosed me, on more then one occasion, of having verbal diarrhea. The prognosis isn't very good. I'm afraid there is no pill or therapy that will cure this disease. Luckily I chose a profession where talking is rather important!
Most of my students like to talk. They like to talk about where they went last night for supper, how their dog poops right by the door or what they're going to be for Halloween...in the middle of math. Nothing drives me crazier than to have a student raise their hand during a read aloud to tell me they have found a piece of fuzz on the floor. I really get into my read alouds....different voices, facial expressions and hand gestures. They think finding a piece of fuzz or math manipulative on the floor will make me cheer with delight. It doesn't!
What to do. What to do. Talking Tickets! It works. I pass out tickets and let them know that if they have something to say that does not pertain to the lesson they must turn their ticket in. Fuzz on the floor....Turn in your ticket. Is it time for lunch? Turn in your ticket. My birthday is coming up. Your birthday is in five months....turn in your ticket! I do this in a playful way and call it a game. When a predetermined time is up and they still have their ticket they turn it in for a Skittle or a sticker. It works well.
I do have some students who...Are you sitting down...Don't like to talk! Gasp! They would be perfectly happy with me if I never called on them. They are happy to look for fuzz on the carpet and keep it all to themselves. I caught some of them collecting the stuff in their desks. I can use Talking Tickets then, too. During class discussions they must use their ticket to talk and once given up have to wait and listen to the non-talkers who are learning that talking is actually not s awful. Then everyone who turns in their ticket is rewarded with an H, H, or H (hug, handshake or high-five...their choice)
The up side of all this is it helps me stay on task as the teacher, too! I find I can easily be led into a conversation about dog poop, what's for lunch and Halloween costumes. One thing leads to another and soon I'm talking about an interesting thing an owl can do. We do still make time for talking about the things that important to six year-olds, but we are learning strategies for staying on task, too! Is it lunchtime?