It’s not very often I think up ideas on my own that actually work out for my class. Three days ago I brainstormed an idea that seems like it’s having the effect I intended. I was reading articles about how to stop kids from blurting out. My students often assume that they should just say whatever they want whenever they want. It doesn’t matter if I am talking, if the room is silent, or if the principal is in the room. My students assume that whatever they want to say they should at whatever moment suits them. It’s been driving me crazy recently. My class will just start having 14 conversations right in the middle of my sentence. So I researched.
I found quite a few good ideas that would work for classes that were less challenging than mine. I thought about using beans, as someone recommended, and take a bean away every time a student shouted out. I wasn’t so sure about that with my class because too many of them would knock each other’s beans away on purpose.
I read so many good ideas that were just not quite right for my class. Then I thought, “what if I wrote prizes on cards and every time a student blurts or the class starts talking while I am talking, I will turn one of the cards over and the students will not get that prize.”
I grabbed some card stock and a marker and got to work. I put magnet tape on either side so I can easily flip them over. The students can earn 3 extra Friday free time minutes, 2 go noodle songs the next day, up to three dojo points each, and a joke of the day told by a student picked at random.
I thought for a while about all the things that could go wrong with it. My biggest fear was that students would blame each other for loosing the prize. I decided to try it anyway. I put the cards up on the board and let the students ask about them. They seemed really interested. I told them it would be hard at first to get the prizes because we have trouble with blurting out. I also told them that if one person blurted and I turned over a card that if the rest of the class complained or yelled at them I would turn over two more because we are all learning, we all make mistakes, and we should try to encourage our friends to do better next time instead of just making them feel bad.
It seems to work so far. I had to turn over 4/5 cards today but we were a little crazy today. Spring break is right around the corner and the kids can feel it.
I just hope these cards work out the rest of the year. I might make a second or third set to switch out every week so they don’t get bored with the same prizes. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s working.