Taming the blurting beast

underlying principles Jan 07, 2020

Blurting here, blurting there, blurting, blurting everywhere!

You are not alone. Every classroom is filled with internal and EXTERNAL processors.

How do we meet the needs of both?

How do we encourage a language rich environment where students are talking but not blurting?

First, resign yourself to the fact that a GLAD classroom is a noisy classroom. Scary sentence, we know. But it's language with purpose: guided, rich, surrounded with support and focused on the topic at hand.

GLAD classrooms have parameters in place to structure language and provide the internal processing and wait time other students need.

Ready to tame the blurting beast?!

Consider these 4 TIPS to promote language acquisition while taming the blurting beast:



Language acquisition requires talking - LOTS of talking!

Either we provide structured time to talk or our external processors will incorporate it themselves. Consider going through your lesson plans for the week and intentionally add in more guided opportunities for students to talk. All.day.long.

Bring on the 10:2s, Heads Together, Choral Call and Chants!

Hint: Take a moment to reteach your Zero Noise Signal first.



Blurters blurt because they're so excited about the content. (Or perhaps the rabbit they saw that morning on the way to school that somehow came to mind in the middle of your math lesson!)

Students don't understand that blurting steals someone else's opportunity to think about the topic themselves and come up with or share their own idea. A quick mini lesson on internal and external processing as well as the importance of wait time for language learners is part of teaching students cooperative learning skills and empathy.



Train your eyes for clues that students need to talk:

  • antsy bodies
  • hands shooting up in the air
  • eyes glowing with excitement, curiosity or confusion

These are your pre-warning signals.

When multiple students begin blurting or talking to each other during a lesson it's a red flag that we missed the early warning signs and have entered the must talk now zone!

Go with it!

Stop and provide a 10:2 or Heads Together on the spot. Then, give yourself a little pep talk about integrating more 10:2s and Heads Together throughout your lessons.

You got this!



Focusing our time and energy into feeding positive behavior begins to starve undesirable behavior - ahem - blurting.

Each time we respond to a blurt, positively or negatively, we're feeding the blurting beast. Instead, IGNORE THE BLURT completely and respond to the ones who were waiting for their turn.

Use your Literacy Awards, Scouts and Team Points to support this process.

"Rosie, I can see you have something to share about this! Thank you for SHOWING RESPECT by waiting until I said "heads together" before talking. You just earned a SUPER ______ Award!"




  • Reteach the Zero Noise Signal.
  • Write into your lesson plans more 10:2s and Heads Together opportunities.
  • Teach students the difference between oral and internal processors and how we can support each other in the learning process

You got this! Go forth, mighty Next Stepper, and tame the blurting beast! 

We're cheering for you!

P.S. Quick reminder: A 10:2 refers to Art Costa's work about the importance of providing 2 minutes of interaction (oral processing) for every 10 minutes of direct instruction. Depending on the complexity of your content and the developmental needs of your students it may need to be 3:1 at times.


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