I've mentioned before that this year (#5) is by far my most challenging one as a teacher. This group of munchkins is very talkative and while that's wonderful that they're so comfortable sharing their thoughts, it does take away from our learning sometimes.
They're getting better, but we aren't quite there yet :)
I'm trying to focus on the positives
For that, I have 2 strategies:
The first is our "kiss your brain" jar.
We talk a lot about how hard our brains work for us and that we should be appreciative of them. My students also complain that I make their brains hurt, but that's just part of learning :)
Whenver students are working extra-hard, they can come grab a candy and "kiss their brains".
The second is our warm and fuzzy feelings jar.
Whenever students are kind to one another or extremely helpful, I put a fuzzy in our jar. When we reach the top, they get to select a reward.
While positive reinforcement doesn't work all the time, it is sure more rewarding to acknowledge the students who are making appropriate behavior choices that contribute to our learning. So much of our job is centered around the negative that it's nice to shift to positive shout-outs.