At the beginning of the year, use these tips to help children take turns and listen respectfully to one another:
We all know that when we ask children to raise their hands for a turn they often keep talking while they have their hands raised! Show children how to raise one hand while placing their first finger of their other hand up to their mouths in the "shhhh" signal.
It is also helpful to reward those who are waiting quietly for a turn instead of the child who is wildly waving his hand, saying, "Oooh, oooh, I know, I know!" While it can be difficult to ignore this behavior, it is also surprisingly effective when you do. You can say, "I will call on someone who is raising his hand quietly. Thank you, Ralphie, for waiting quietly. It's your turn to talk." Children quickly learn that, if they want to be rewarded with a turn, they have to use the same behavior.
Teach turn-taking with a simple game. Use a small, soft ball for passing as a tactile and visual reminder. Explain that the ball is a "talk" object, and the child holding the toy can talk while the rest listen. After answering the question, the child rolls the ball back to the teacher, who then rolls it to another child who has an answer to the question. Remember to reinforce and acknowledge the listening the other children are doing as one child speaks.