July 22, 2016

Sticky Notes Saved My Sanity


As we approach a new school year, I'm here to remind you that your sanity is important!


Last year, I had a particularly chatty class. I was able to manage them pretty well until spring break hit. At that point in the year, they were always excited and roaring with energy that they couldn't seem to contain. I do give my kids plenty of time to talk via brain breaks and think-pair-share, which helps eliminate inappropriate chatting, but I expect them to listen respectfully while I am teaching.

Eventually, I decided that enough was ENOUGH. I couldn't make it through a day block lesson sentence without getting rudely interrupted by a student blurting out.

So I did some research, during which I found the idea of blurt cards and figured out how to make a system that would work for my classroom.

On my first day of attempting blurt cards, I posted about it on my Instagram and Snapchat (@SchoolAndTheCty). Tons of you asked me to share, so here goes!

First, we read and discussed a book.

These are my absolutely favorite books for blurters:

   

I particularly love My Mouth is a Volcano, but Interrupting Chicken is always a fun read as well.

Afterwards, I introduced and explained my blurt card system.

Each time a student blurts out or otherwise interrupts a lesson with their voice (like an inappropriate laugh or sound), they have to mark off a box on his or her blurt card.



I started off with four boxes, but eventually moved to three then two, depending on the student. If a child can make it to dismissal with an empty card, they get a small reward. (PURRR tickets are school-wide PBIS "money" that students can spend at the school store.)



Right now, my fancy-schmancy blurt cards are just good ol' sticky notes. They are easy enough to make a few of each afternoon and stick on desks before I leave. You don't even have to draw the boxes if you don't want to - I just knew my kids needed the visual.

I decided that the best way to go about this is to give ALL of my students the opportunity to earn rewards, not just the kids with poor behavior. I hate when the kids who always do the right thing get left out of behavior incentives. Therefore, each day, 6 kids get blurt cards. Four kids are my special friends that will get blurt cards every day. I also give blurt cards to 2 more students. It's great to compare the results at the end of the day of the volcano kids and non-volcanic kids. And again, I wanted to make sure that my well-behaved students also have the opportunity to be rewarded. Last, I just made a quick schedule to keep in my binder so I can keep track of who hasn't had a turn yet.




The blurt cards worked really well for the last few weeks of the school year. Some of my volcanic littles worked really hard to restrain themselves, and I saw improvement almost immediately. Some of my friends were even weaned off of blurt cards completely before the school year ended.

Good luck with your little volcanoes, and let me know how it goes!


Questions? Ask in a comment below and I'll get back to you!

Pick your favorite place to follow along for more ideas to make your teaching life a little happier! 

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3 comments:

  1. This seems like a great idea. I haven't read the book, "My mouth is a Volcano". I am going to check it out for sure. Thanks for sharing!

    Jamie
    Teaching Tidbits and More with Jamie

    ReplyDelete
  2. I teach 5th grade. Is this something that you think would work for older kids?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think it would!! Just change the rewards to something that will motivate your older students. Good luck!

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