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How do I stop my students from all talking at once?

You have a class where everyone likes to talk! Fantastic! But no-one listens to anyone else. What could you do?
Try one of the following:

Include a couple of speaking and listening activities each week which involve turn-taking. Here are a couple of examples.
  • Students sit in a circle and add a sentence to a story going round the circle. It could be a scary story, a romantic story or a story in which you try to use the week's vocabulary list.
  • Students sit or stand in a circle and throw a soft toy or ball to each other. The one holding the toy gets to speak. Everyone else has to listen. Ask a question they all need to answer or allow them to ask other students questions.
  • Put students in groups of 3. One student speaks, one listens and one has a timer. The one listening must summarize the thoughts of the speaker and add a comment. Swap roles and then the next student must summarize the thoughts of both the other speaks. Ask a discussion question.
  • Ask students a question and have them stand in spaces you allocate depending on whether they agree strongly, agree, disagree, or disagree strongly. Have them discuss their responses with others in the same group or then mix people in opposing groups. 
  • Encourage a signal that helps students understand you want them to stop talking and listen to you or each other. It could be the lights being flicked on and off or you could ring a bell (a small one!) or clap a rhythm.
Our lessons this month have a variety of topics that should get students talking and listening to each other. Read about one of the last toy hospitals. Why have people's attitudes to toys changed, why don't we get them repaired now? What kind of work does the hospital do? (Doll Hospital - Elementary Instant Lesson.)  
Were you aware that a middle-income American family will spend around a quarter of a million dollars on raising a child? Our Pre-Intermediate lesson looks at where all the money goes (Raising Kids - Pre-Intermediate Instant Lesson). 
And if you like eating lunch, then try our lesson on kids and lunches (Fancy Lunches - Upper Intermediate).
On a more serious note, most people don’t know that a hurricane with a feminine name will usually alarm more people than a hurricane with a masculine name? Get your students to talk about why this might be and then do the lesson. (Hurricane Gender - Intermediate Instant Lesson).  
We also continue our chilling look at Ebola (Epidemic Fear - Advanced Instant Lesson).
There are also worksheets for gold members on bathrooms (Max Vocabulary Worksheet - Bathroom - Pre-Intermediate), adverbial clauses (Adverbial Clauses - Anna Grammar Worksheet) and a new warmer (Silly Story - Weekly Warmer). 

Best wishes from
the English-to-go team
Printable & online resources 
From our extensive "lesson cupboard" we have put together the complete blended learning package. Four levels of English Language Course.
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Newest Resources
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Newest resources in the Teachers’ Room include:
Doll Hospital - Elementary Instant Lesson
  Favorite toys, doll hospitals, writing a description, do/does for present simple questions, make a choice.
Raising Kids - Pre-Intermediate Instant Lesson
Cost of raising a child in USA, cost of living.
Hurricane Gender - Intermediate Instant Lesson
Strong Atlantic hurricanes with the most feminine names caused an estimated five times more deaths than those with the most masculine names. 
Fancy Lunches - Upper-Intermediate Instant Lesson
One parent apportion all of his daughter's food into little compartments, making cartoon characters like animal shapes out of the ingredients. Kids' lunches, consumer issues, food.
Epidemic Fear - Advanced Instant Lesson
Staff with the World Health Organization battling an Ebola outbreak in West Africa see evidence the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimates the scale of the outbreak.
Silly Story - Weekly Warmer -  Upper Intermediate and above
This warmer gets learners chatting! This is a good ice-breaker for the presentation of simple past for the narration of a story and the language of shopping.
- Topical Issues – Scottish Referendum – Upper Intermediate and above
This warmer helps students to find out about the issue of the Scottish Referendum: whether Scotland should choose independence.
Max Vocabulary Worksheet - Bathroom
A worksheet on bathrooms.
Adverbial Clauses - Anna Grammar Worksheet
An adverbial clause gives information about things like when, where, why or how something happened. 
Featured Lessons
Go here to see our Featured Resources
Resources to make the job of getting to know your students easier. 
Getting To Know Each Other
I use this warmer at the beginning of a new class as an ice-breaker. It can give you a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your new students in just a very short time.
Elementary
Introduce Yourself With Body Language
This is a different kind of ice-breaker activity guaranteed to get students laughing: Make up a new 'language'!
Intermediate
Instant LessonFree Lessons
Go! Check out the month's  Free Lesson
- Hurricane Gender
Because people unconsciously think a storm with a female name is less dangerous than one with a masculine name, those in its path are less likely to flee, and are therefore more vulnerable to harm. As a result, strong Atlantic hurricanes with the most feminine names caused an estimated five times more deaths than those with the most masculine names. (Hurricanes, power of names, gender stereotypes.)
Intermediate Instant Lesson
Our blended learning courses take the best English-to-go resources to provide the ultimate enhanced learning environment. LivingEnglish provides a syllabus for teachers to follow in the classroom and online materials for students.
It couldn't be easier!

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