Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blurting can be such a disruption in a classroom.  It is hard to encourage the deeper critical thinking and making connections to material and texts, while still containing the enthusiasm and excitement that can lead to BLURTING.

Blurting can be defined in my classroom as an INTERRUPTION in Learning.  It can happen in 3 ways. The 3 Behaviors we want to encourage are...

  • RAISE HAND For a Turn to Speakinstead of Interrupting the Speaker, lesson, or shouting an answer before others have a chance to be chosen.
  • LISTEN to Speaker or Lessoninstead of Talking to a friend and disturbing the Good Listeners and the Speaker.
  • FOCUS during independent work timeinstead of Interrupting Yourself and your opportunity to get your work done. Talking, daydreaming, wandering around to get a tissue or supply, can delay your work and lead to unfinished work or lost opportunities for all the great supplemental activities.
Each year in a classroom the population of students tend to have a personality or characteristic that flows throughout the group. If you have ever spent time in a classroom, you know exactly what I mean. A group in general may be louder, quieter, less independent, more independent, low on coping skills or they might be BLURTERS.

When you have a characteristic that shows up in 1 or 2 students every year, that seems to represent a large portion of the class, it is time to bump up your strategies for handling that issue.

One year, I had a group that really lacked coping skills. Slamming the desk when called out of a game, throwing a mini-tantrum because Library is cancelled that day, etc. (true story!).  That year I created the Let's Make Lemonade Program and have added Coping Skills into almost every lesson that I teach from then-on. (I will come back to talk about that one another time).

The BLURT ALERT! Classroom Management System was formalized and created to deal with a group that was struggling with Self-Control. Not just 1 or a few students, that can be handled with individual behavior management plans, but a large part of the whole group. It became our classroom goal.

Many pieces of the BLURT ALERT! program have been a part of my many years of teaching. All the pieces coming together as a formal program happened when the group I was with needed more direction in how to achieve a Kind & Caring Classroom.  

**I would also like to Thank the generous Pinners and Sharers on Pinterest for great suggestions and ideas that I was able to incorporate into my own version of this program!!

A great way to start your classroom transformation in the middle of the year, or even better, begin your classroom atmosphere is by reading the book, "
INTERRUPTING CHICKEN by David Ezra Stein. It is a hysterical exaggeration of how constant interrupting can affect anything that you are trying to do. The kids just love it if you give the characters a distinctive voice. It also gives your whole group an experience together that you can refer back to over the course of the year. Reminding students not to be an "Interrupting Chicken" is a sweet and gentle and comical way to give a reminder. Actually in other years, that is all that my group has required to remember their polite listening skills and to remember to raise their hand.

Set up the BLURT ALERT! Classroom Tracker to keep track of how many blurts occur in the room each hour. You may uncover a trend, like less blurting during math, or more blurting during story time. Have students choose some awards to work towards like, free time or going outside, playing a game or a class picnic. Track the group's good behaviors on the Compliment Corner section of the Classroom Tracker. 

Set up the 3 Strikes Tracker for individual Blurting. Using the 3 Strikes idea from other Pinterest Blurting Charts, students can move their Baseballs out of the "Stay in the Game" section and onto Strike 1, 2, 3 or "You're Out-Let's Try a Blurt Card" section of the chart.

On that 4th interruption BLURT, a student receives a card on their desk to stroke each and every interruption for the rest of the day. The card has a compliment side for following the rules and procedures and a reminder side for each time they forget and BLURT. There is also a parent/guardian letter to explain the behaviors that we are encouraging and to keep the conversation and encouragement going at home.

Although I have other individual Behavior Management systems for students that are learning to replace negative behaviors with more positive ones, this card is for ANY student that needs it and just for 1 day. The next day, their baseball goes right back up to "Stay in the Game" and if necessary they move through the tracker again. The letter only needs to go home once. If parents/guardians see it again, they know that Blurting was an issue for their child another time.

The hope is that the awareness, visuals, physical movement and parent communication involved in this program will help to extinguish those impulsive behaviors and help everyone in the room feel valued when they are speaking and have all the opportunities that they so deserve to share their thoughts.

Please feel free to add on any strategies that have worked for you in your experiences! I would love for this to be a great sharing opportunity.

**It was my intention to create this program as a FREEBIE to receive from this blog or my TpT store. However, the intensity that was needed involved several components and the program grew to large to be considered a FREE resource. Again thank you to the sharers that pinned different ideas about how to chart Blurts! I hope that this little system can be of help to another group that needs a little extra help, or to any classroom right from the start, to eliminate Blurting from ever becoming an issue!!

It is amazing though, no matter how many years you spend in a classroom with students...every year they can teach you something new and guide you to creating something new to focus on different issues!! :)

Please comment & share!