Thursday, November 10, 2011

“The Noise-ies”

Each year the students in my classroom have a "thing” that makes them stand out from other years’ students.  Last year, they were naughty.  The year before, they were immature and bouncy.  The year before that, they were respectful, hardworking and very bright.  This year…they are noisy.  And I don’t mean noisy because they talk too much…they do, but that’s not what I mean.  Really, the majority of their noise comes from learning, thinking, and mostly reading.  Everything that goes in and out of their head also comes out of their mouth. 

During math time,all the practice we do that involves counting also involves 24 second graders counting out loud with all their might.  Each morning, they spend the first two minutes of the day practicing their addition and subtraction facts.  If someone walked in during those two minutes, with all that purposeful counting, he or she would think I had completely lost my mind control of my class.

Reading is the noisiest time.  If they are all reading something at the same time, the classroom sounds like a busy playground.  In reading groups, where they surround me in a semi-circle, I am often blown into the wall behind me with the force of their words. 

Second grade is such an important year for reading.  It is when they (hopefully) move away from learning to read towards reading to learn.  Every year, there are always a handful of kids who read out loud, as they are developmentally in a different place than the others and still need to hear themselves read.  This is the first year where the entire class is in that place.   

Let me tell you, that place is noisy.  I run a pretty tight ship and excessive talking is not tolerated, unless it’s part of learning, and even then it must be kept to an “inside voice”.  For the last month, we’ve been REALLY working on whispering when learning, or quietly mouthing the words they say with the hopes that they can start learning in their heads, rather than out of their mouths.  However, it’s been slow going.  If I forget to remind them to read or count or think “quietly”, they do not.  This year, I’ve had to adjust my noise tolerance as they need the talking to learn. 

But at least I know they ARE learning…I can hear them!


  1. Odd that all are like that.
    If that happened here in Ireland I would instantly think that the doctors were testing some drug on those that didn't have the wherewithal should things go awry. But in the States and more especially in California, that scenario would be very unlikely.

  2. @Vince - we always joke that there was something in the water the year a group of kids were born. It seems like we see a pattern, even across the school district, with certain groups.

  3. I love this! : )
    Kaish still reads out loud sometimes. I was happy when he was reading Coraline last night out loud. The book is different than the movie.
    I am glad you are a teacher. Thank you for making a difference!

  4. So that's 2nd grade when they learn to be quiet? Because Joshua sits right beside me while at dinner and screams at me to get my attention. I say, "Joshua, I'm right here, you do not have to scream". He gets it for about 1 second and then he's back to screaming in my ear. I don't think I could take 24 of him in a classroom.

  5. @Becky - It is cute! This is just the first year I've had so many who do it.

    @Mark - The words, "I'm sitting right here (insert name)!" have been uttered so many times this year. I'm having a hard time taking the noise. One or two is one thing, but the whole class has been a challenge. There are times when I want to say, "Shut the eff up!". But I don't. :)

  6. I have the opposite this year. They won't read aloud. I bragged to them about how loudly your class read when I observed!

  7. @jlo - ha! I guess I should tell my kids how quietly yours read. At this point I'll try anything.

  8. And that's why I could not be a teacher because my head would explode. You are awesome and obviously understanding.

  9. @Mami - Sometimes it feels like my head is exploding. :)

  10. This morning, I read an article on how kids being shoeless in the classroom helps them learn.

    Can you imagine a roomfull of kids with their shoes off???

  11. @Hula - It's funny you should say that. I just made some reward coupons to start using with my kids to spark some new motivation, and not having to wear shoes is one of them. :) Hey, if it works, I'll try it!

    PS - I love the picture Stuart posted on FB. Looking good!

  12. I was the perfect student. Teachers terrified me.