We all know that people love to talk, and we know that sharing thoughts with others helps students learn. It’s our job as teachers to manage classroom chit chat so it is most beneficial to our students. We also need to be sensitive to those children who aren’t ready to share in front of the whole group, but would be just fine communicating with a trusted friend.
We can corral this verbal veracity by using strategies such as:
I had the most awesome “hello” moment this spring. My class had attended the fifth-grade science fair where they went from exhibit to exhibit and the fifth graders explained their experiments. A week later we were making our Force and Motion lapbooks and working on the magnet page. I pulled down my “magnet box” from my classroom cupboard to see if any of the old collected junk from the teacher’s lounge give-aways might be useful. The kids were somehow magnetically drawn to the box and with this kind of spontaneous craving of knowledge – I could not deny them the contents of the box. I stood back and watched with amazement as they naturally grouped up and conducted little experiments much like the fifth graders had shown them. Then they started to explain their procedures to one another! I felt so unnecessary, but so proud. Allowing them to discuss important topics with older kids, then getting out of their way when they imitated and taught each other gave them a tremendous understanding of the curriculum. And we were all learning while having FUN!