The Little Aviva That Could … Not Talk!

Last night, I met with the Spring Fling Committee to start preparing for our Spring Fling this year. As we were getting organized, a parent on the committee that also happens to have a student in my class, mentioned that her son is not happy about next week’s No Talking Day. She didn’t say this because she wants me to change the plan. In fact, it was the students that thought of the idea, and it was the students that voted. It was the students that really wanted to experience what the children in our read aloud novel, No Talkingexperienced for the two days. So I had little to do with the plan except for agreeing to do this day again, and since I’m a big believer in student voice, I needed to follow through.

Our Reflection From Yesterday: Lead To Next Week’s No Talking Day

But this parent’s words stuck with me for the rest of the night and even into this morning. Here I am asking the students to do something that a few of them really don’t want to do. They love to talk, and I’m having them stop — completely — for an entire day. They are only going to respond to questions in three word answers, and that’s it. This is going to be a HUGE challenge, and I can totally connect to those reluctant participants … as I would be one too.

Here’s my big confession: I absolutely, positively love to talk! I didn’t speak at all until I was four years old, and at that point, nobody could understand me. I had Speech and Language Therapy for months and struggled through part of my schooling. As my parents and good friends like to remind me, I’m now making up for lost time. 🙂 

So this got me thinking: if I’m going to get the students not to talk for a day, maybe I should join them in this contest. Instead of it being boys against girls, it can be them against me. (As a side note, you need to know that I feel like throwing up even writing this blog post. 🙂 What am I thinking? How am I going to stop talking for a day?) And this is going to be VERY hard — especially for a talker like me — but I love a good challenge! I’m also working on talking less and listening more, so what a great way to focus on this goal. At our last Math PD Session on proportional reasoning, we spoke about the value of good questions, and on a No Talking Day, I guarantee you that I’ll be thinking carefully about my choice of words.

I think that we may need to re-look at the sentence length I can use during teaching time. My rules may need to be tweaked a bit, but with the use of technology and some pre-planning, I can totally make this work. I’m committed! I wonder if my new spin on the contest will change how the entire class perceives it. We’ll find out soon!

Let the quiet reflection begin. From 9:00-3:20 on Tuesday is No Talking Day. (For those that see me before 9:00 and after 3:20, be warned: the talking may never cease! :)) Who wants to join me?


9 thoughts on “The Little Aviva That Could … Not Talk!

  1. I have to laugh a little because there is no way I would be able to do this. I don’t think I could stay quiet for more than 1s. However, your first sentence struck me. I understand why the student would be upset but how often do we honour the quiet voice. This has been a real topic at our house lately. My wife, who is an extreme introvert, has had to learn to meet people and drum up business for her music school. She has asked me how I do it? I really don’t know, I just do. But it has really made me think about those who do have difficulty, what is school like for them, what is the world like? The world is an extreme extroverted world.

    Also we talk about risk and taking risk. It is risky for us talkers to not to talk, it’s a part of us but we have to step outside of our comfort zone. It is the only way to learn and improve. Who knows being quiet may be good. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jonathan! This will definitely be some big risk taking for me. I have no idea if I’ll be able to meet the challenge, but I’m definitely going to try. I have to say that my students’ feelings about Tuesday changed when I mentioned that I would also be participating. Then things got really interesting! If I want students to step outside of their comfort zone, shouldn’t I be willing to do the same? I’m interested to know how I feel about being quiet after spending the day silent. We shall see. Any chance you’d like to try next … you know, just for fun? 🙂


  2. Hi Aviva,
    When my junior division students did their inquiry on communication last year, we did a period of no talking, me included. No verbal communication was allowed by anyone, including me – so your 3-word allowance is pretty generous! We still conducted a “regular” lesson and book exchange. It was memorable enough that a year later, they remember that day (and who did and didn’t keep quiet). It may help to agree how to handle things like calls from the PA. (We had the office buzz into the library during it and I couldn’t answer! I had to leave the library to reply – our group agreements was that you couldn’t talk while physically in the library.) You and your students will be challenged but also learn so much about verbal and non-verbal communication, on human needs, on strategies. Let us know how it goes!

    • Diana, thank you so much for sharing about your experience! While I did email the staff to tell them about our plan, I never even thought about phone calls/calls from the office. I’ll talk to my students on Monday about this (we have a PA Day tomorrow) so that we can agree on a plan. I’m really excited to see how this goes, and I’m sure it will be a great learning opportunity for all of us. I’ll share how things go for sure!


  3. Hmm, let me just say that I have my little laughs at points! Just yesterday me and my friends had a mini contest for the last period. The whole class joined in and it went through French as well! The stratergies were endless though, because the new rule was that you can talk in French. Amazing how you are taking up the challenge, but I have a firm belief that you might lose!

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