August 31, 2010
If the class as a whole talks too much, I have had good results with talking to them as a group and explaining that other class sections are able to accomplish more in the same amount of time and that the talking is interfering with their learning. I create a plan with them. It is helpful if they know at the beginning of class what needs to be accomplished during that period. I post it on the board and try to always include time in which they work with others on a task.
Then when they talk and I have to wait for their attention, I mark a tally on the board. I don't say anything because they are aware of the plan and know what the tallies mean. I watch the clock and mark another tally every 30 seconds that I have to wait. Each tally equals a minute that is subtracted from their partner time, meaning they will work alone or not have class time to do the task at all if they continue talking and use up the task time.
Students generally begin to remind each other, especially if they end up having homework or missing fun activities because of the time lost. I also make a point of complimenting their progress at the end of the class period or the beginning of the next class. They will usually need several experiences with this before progress is seen, so don't give up!