10 Ways to Say: Stop Talking!
Sometimes just asking the class to be quiet is not enough. Have you ever had that one kid or group of kids, who falsely accuses you of picking on them if you ask them to stop talking too many times, even though they were talking all of those times? I know I have! What I have learned after 8 years in the field is that you have to get creative. Here are some of my favorite tips:
1. "Hey!" Not in a salutatory way. You have to use the same tone you would use for "stop!"
2. "Get it together!" Use your index finger to point and keep a straight face.
3. "How many people are still talking? Let's count.. Let me see...." Put your hand over your eyes, like you are searching. Before I even get to 1, the kids who were still talking stop. They don't want to find out what happens if they get listed in the count. Follow up with number 2 once everyone is quiet.
4. "What are those sounds that I am hearing?" Start looking around like there are crazy noises coming from everywhere. "Is that? ... No! It's cant be!!!" Keep looking around like you are terrified. "I hear talking!!!" Scream frantically. The kids will laugh but they will also become attentive enough for you to get them quiet. Follow up with number 2.
5. Walk right behind the kid or group of kids that are still talking, get a close as you can, look them dead in their eyes, and say "No." Then, walk away.
6. "Don't play with me." Keep a straight face. You can add this to any of the other numbers.
7. "When I get to my seat, the volume of this class should be on mute." Walk slowly to your seat. Be really dramatic in sitting down in slow motion. This works wonders. You'll hear students telling others to "hurry up and stop talking because she's almost in the seat!"
8. Stare straight at the student(s) that is being
disruptive, even after she stops, stare for a lingering
5-7 seconds to really let it sink that you see her. Squint your eyes and lean your head to side a little. You'll look crazy for the extra long stare but it will be worth it. Try not to laugh! Your class is liable to laugh... If you can't help but laugh, implement number 6 or number 2. Must keep a straight face.
9. Start whispering everything. Not a cute whisper, but an almost silent whisper. Sometimes I even fake like I lost my entire voice. I even hold my throat. I encourage you to be very dramatic. Once they all get quiet, use your regular voice again.
10. Pick up your phone and pretend like you just called a parent. Don't say any specific names! The key is to act. Here's my script, "Hello?! Yes, this is Ms. Clay, how are you? Oh me? I'm alright. Im having a little trouble this morning. I need you to come to the school right now. There seems to be a problem that only you can fix... Okay (nod your head like they are telling you something) ... Okay (keep nodding)... Okay, thank you so much. I'll see you when you get here." Keep making up things until everyone is totally silent and wondering what will happen next... After I have the full attention of the class, I put my phone down and restart my lesson where I left off - leaving the kids wondering whose parent I called and anticipating when they are coming!
The key to using these is to be true to yourself! Tweak them, practice them, and find your groove so that they will work for you.