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Dealing with Chatterboxes and Clowns

girls talking in class

Found in: handling disruptions, noise control, staying on task

What’s behind all the chatter and clowning around in your classroom? You need to find out. When you know what’s behind the misbehavior, you can take steps to address it and to provide opportunities for teaching appropriate ways of talking and using humor. Here are some ways you can help students rein in inappropriate behavior and focus on schoolwork:

  • At the beginning of the year, make sure one of your classroom rules about respect is: When someone is speaking, show respect by listening.
  • At the beginning of class, let students know if they will have time to work and talk with others.
  • Structure learning activities that give students opportunities to talk—and listen—to their peers.
  • While students are doing a group activity, walk around and give feedback or attention to those who need it.
  • Give each student time in front of the class—giving a speech or demonstration of a hobby, for instance, or solving a problem or reciting a favorite poem or comedy routine.
  • Set up times to listen to individual students.
  • Discuss the chatter and clowning around with them as a group. Be prepared to guide the discussion, but listen to their concerns about disruptions in the classroom and solicit their solutions.
  • Talk with individual students who continue to have difficulty with inappropriate talking. Make contracts with them, if needed.


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