Ideas for Managing a Chatty Small Group

Blurt Beans 

This is a chance for children to earn a group incentive for demonstrating self-control and listening during small group time. You’ll need to keep a supply of pinto beans with your materials, and one sandwich size or quart size plastic baggy (the larger the bag the higher the difficulty level). Explain to the group that each week, they will get “x” number of beans at the beginning of small group (3 – 5 beans is recommended, and the number can be adjusted for difficulty level). Every time someone talks out of turn or interrupts the leader or another group member, the leader takes one of their beans. They do not earn beans back. At the end of small group time, the kids can put whatever beans they have left into the plastic baggy. Once the plastic baggy is full, they earn a reward. Decide with the group what the reward should be. You might give them some options to choose from, such as a special treat or extra game time.


Free Chat 

Sometimes a chatty group simply needs a chance to talk! Ask your group if they would like a set time each club that is their “free chat” time. If they listen and participate well in group, you will leave 2 – 3 minutes at the end that is their time to talk. Bring fun conversation cards or use the ones provided in your CKC Games Bag, or let them talk about whatever they like!


Turn and Talk 

This technique allows students a constructive, non-disruptive way to talk during your lesson. Teach your group the routine of  to “turning and talking” to a partner when you instruct them to. This works best when you ask a question that everyone would generally be able to respond to. For example, you might ask “What did you like about the story today?” Before letting any individual answer, you direct everyone to turn and talk to the person beside them about their answer. (If you have an odd number of group members, someone can be your partner.) After leaving adequate time for them to discuss, you can ask for one or two volunteers to share their answer with the whole group. Or, to really test their listening skills, you can ask them to share what their partner like about the story!


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