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!