Has your classroom been experiencing the HUGE distraction of kids calling out all day long? Are you looking for ways on how to stop student blurting and interruptions?! Well you’ve come to the right place!
Is it just me or does it seem like when one student starts the blurting, it then becomes a domino effect and everyone thinks it is ok to do it too? If you’ve noticed this in your classroom, I’m here to say that you’re not alone and it is totally normal! In this post you are going to learn some top teacher secrets to get your classroom back to a calm space where everyone can thrive and learn without interruption. Imagine teaching your whole or small group with no fear or overwhelming feelings of being attacked with ALL the blurting and interrupting. It’s not too good to be true so let’s get into the ways you can make this dream a reality!
Back to the Basics
First things first, if you want to know how to stop student blurting and interruptions you must first start with the expectations. Before anything else, pause and think about whether or not students actually know the expectation of blurting. Do you possibly unintentionally reward this negative behavior by giving attention to students who interrupt or blurt? Maybe sometimes we inadvertently encourage the negative behavior with a response. Perhaps your expectation around this behavior has been a little lax and now things have spiraled out of control. No matter what, it’s okay! It’s just time to go back to the basics and that is starting with setting high expectations.
Start by thinking about when students are blurting out the most. Is it during whole group time when you’re teaching? Is it during small group time when students are supposed to be independent? No matter the time, the behavior is unacceptable. However, knowing when it is happening can help you get in front of it and use strategies to help stop this behavior overall. So how do we fix it? We set explicit expectations for the time we’re experiencing the issue.
Lets use a whole group blurting scenario as an example. Think about what our expectation is during whole group instruction time. What should it look like and sound like in your classroom at this time? Then go into what it looks like when students are ALMOST there and what it should not look like. If we were to communicate to student these expectations, this is what I would tell them –
“It looks like students are sitting quietly in their space with their eyes on the speaker. It almost looks like students are sitting with their eyes on the speaker, BUT they are blurting out instead of raising their hand to speak. It doesn’t look like students rolling around on the floor, shouting out, talking to friends, etc. It sounds like students are quiet and raising their hand and wait to be called on when they’d like to speak. It almost sounds like students are mostly quiet, but some friends are still blurting out. It doesn’t sound like everyone talking over each other and not waiting to be called out to speak.”
You have to make sure your expectations are very clear, concise, and communicated well to students. You’ll also most likely have to repeat yourself several times before they get it. However, if you set the expectation and stick to it, your students are more than capable of meeting them. After setting expectations, it’s time to model, practice, and reward behavior! When students do slip up, keep talking and ignore the behavior if you can. Praise the students you see raising their hand to speak. If you must acknowledge their blurt, do so with a simple phrase such as, “I appreciate that you want to share, but please raise your hand to speak.”
If you are finding that this is still a problem, it might be a good point to pause instruction and go back to these basics. Sometimes you have to reteach blurting and interrupting altogether to get the desired result. Learn more in-depth details about teaching expectations HERE! Encourage students to raise their hand to speak or hold on to thoughts until the lesson is over. When you see the behavior you want, praise it immediately! Reward the behavior you want to see and incentivize your students. They love working together to earn whole class rewards. Have them vote on a prize and then earn pieces of the reward every time they raise their hand or wait to speak while you are talking. The more you praise and reward the behavior, the more you will encourage them to continue doing it.
How many times have you been teaching only to be interrupted by students needing to share something totally unrelated to the lesson, like needing to go to the bathroom? When it comes to learning how to stop these interruptions, I love using my magic signals! Have you tried nonverbal cues? They are a quick and easy way for students to show they need something without derailing an entire lesson. Instead of students raising their hand for everything, each hand signal represents something different. For example, if a child needs water, they can hold up three fingers. If they need a tissue, they can hold up four fingers. It is a quick way for you to see exactly what students need without interrupting the entire group because you’re not sure what they might blurt out. It is a game changer for communicating needs!
Visual cues are also an easy and effective way to communicate without getting distracted from your teaching. Check out these slides we love to use daily. Not only do they make weekly and daily lesson planning a breeze, the visual reminders stay present right on the slides for students throughout the day. It shows them when is an ok time to get water or use the bathroom and when it isn’t. Furthermore, it shows them exactly what they should look like and sound like. Now it’s just an easy point to the visual as a quick reminder for students without having to say a word. You can even take in action pictures of what students should look like and add it to the slides so the expectation is very clear. They love working to get themselves up on the big screen!
Books To Support Students
Children’s literature can be a great support when teaching students the importance of how interrupting hurts others. Books open up great discussions on why it is important to be respectful to those who are speaking. Using read alouds are an awesome strategy in helping to stop student blurting and interruptions because the stories are relatable. See a list of some of our favorites!
Handling Small Group Interruptions
Students interrupting small group time nonstop? The ‘try 3 before me’ strategy is amazing! Basically, students cannot interrupt your group without asking 3 other students first to help them out. Implementing student leaders is another great approach. Choose 3 student leaders who you know can help support others and add their names to the board so that students know who to get help from when they need it.
Visual cues are always a great help. This lightbox from Target shows students that when the light is on they CANNOT interrupt the group. When I see students coming to the table, it’s a quick and easy support that I simply point to and eliminate the interruption. Grab the sign FREE below!
Teach students explicitly when it is ok and isn’t to interrupt groups. We love using THIS sort together and I leave it up as needed! Students can learn how to solve their own problems with THIS pack. It doesn’t matter whether they are in kindergarten or third grade, they CAN solve their own problems without you. Need more tips? Check out THIS post!
Have students who NEED help no matter what? Try a Waiting Room! You put the clothespins on the sign. When students need something, they grab a clip and bring it to their desk and continue working. When you’re ready you can help each student that has a clip! They still get their needs met, after practicing some patience, without interrupting you. You can grab your Waiting Room Freebie now with the link below by subscribing!
Grab this free resource now!
Hold Your Standards High
It’s important to have a chain of consequences to follow for students who are still struggling. In addition to having high expectations, you must follow through when they aren’t being met. If you really want to know how to stop student blurting and interruptions Typically I start with a simple verbal or nonverbal redirect. If the student continues to blurt, you can have them to complete a Think Sheet. I love using these because they are easy, differentiated, and can be sent home for parents to sign, while also providing you documentation when you make a copy for yourself too.
Hold students accountable and maintain high expectations for all. It may take some time but you’ll see time well spent on creating clear expectations, modeling, practicing, and following through with consequences!
Build in Talk Time
Another important thing to consider is how much time we spend talking as teachers vs how much time is built in for them to share. Where are meaningful places during whole group time for a purposeful turn and talk? How long are students expected to sit on the carpet and listen before they get to practice? How can we build in more time throughout the day for students to engage with each other? I love to purposefully pair students during small group time so that they have someone they can ask for help. Make sure there is a buddy center where they can practice academic skills AND social skills. Students NEED to interact so let’s direct that energy into something positive that will help them learn and grow. These are really important things to think about when students are continuing to blurt out or interrupt.
Need ideas on how to support students while working with partners or during turn and talks? Check out THIS post! Want more support with classroom management? I have got your classroom management COVERED with this jam packed growing bundle. All these amazing tools and more are included in the must have classroom management bundle. You will be able to walk in your classroom from day one with a solid plan as well as detailed lesson plans, visuals, checklists, and so much more! Grab the deeply discounted Classroom Management Bundle below!
I hope you enjoyed learning about tips and tricks on how to stop student blurting and interruptions and to help your students thrive! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, how to videos, and classroom projects… also of course more fun FREEBIES including the Waiting Room FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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