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Three Ways To Calm Classroom Chaos


Found in: Noise Control, Handling Disruptions

Are your students being chatty? Or bothering their classroom neighbors? Try these methods for restoring order to your lessons. Adapted from an online discussion.

Recapture Students’ Attention With Humor
Anonymous
My first year teaching, a long time ago, I was so frustrated with my unruly class that I disappeared into a huge walk-in closet I had. I heard whispers...where did she go? I had a bag of theatrical props in there so I pulled out a pair of Groucho Marks sunglasses with a fake nose and moustache, then proceeded to saunter out into the room. The kids collapsed laughing. I sat down and talked with them about frustration and how they'd feel if they were me. Things were much better after that, except they kept asking me the rest of the year, when I was going to do it again.

Good Old Reverse Psychology
Ruth
This is for those teachers who have tried every method of trying to keep a kid from bothering others around him or her. I find that reverse psychology works well. I quietly ask the child to walk into the hall and then ask very softly, "Do you like my class?" I usually get a stunned look, then shuffling of feet. "Uh, yes I do."
I continue. "Oh, I didn't think you liked my class because you're disturbing other kids around you."
Student: "I DO! I DO like your class."
Me: "Well, I really like having you in my class. What do you think will happen if you keep bothering people?”
Student: "I'll go to the Dean's Office?"
Me: "I really wouldn't want you to go there but if that's where you want to go.."
Student: "NO, NO, NO! I promise I won't bother anyone."
I've been using that technique for over 30 years. Works every time with my sweet little darlings.

What Time Is It? Time For Consequences.
Michael
During the first week of school students tend to be chatty. I tell them that I'm going to start timing on my wristwatch to find out how long it will take for them to work quietly. If it takes longer than 30 seconds, they miss their entire recess.
Each year my fifth-grade students like to test me to see if I'll follow through with my threat. Usually within the first two weeks my disappointed class misses an entire recess. After that all have to do is quietly look at my wristwatch or the wall clock while students whisper to each other..."he's timing us.”

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