Before You Silence, Listen

small steps

Writing workshop used to be a “no talking” time in my classroom.  As soon as the classical music started, so did my reminders of “silent work.”  Conferences and small groups were interrupted by my need to shhhhh.  As voices spread across the classroom, it was my cue that stamina was up, and so we began our transition to partner time.

We can be so quick to silence interruptions — during instruction, private reading time, whole-class conversations.  First, I think it’s important to make realistic expectations.  Have you ever been to an adult meeting where there are no interruptions?  More importantly,  when we silence student talk, we are exerting our authority, controlling the conversation, and may actually may be doing more harm than good.  I’ve taken a step back recently, given myself a wait time before I manage.  Here’s what I’ve almost silenced (and most definitely silenced in the…

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