One thing that teachers are noticing with every passing year is that children are talking more at school. Children talk to each other, their teacher, other teachers, teachers they don’t know, kids they don’t know, administrators, and even to themselves. What teachers are also noticing is when the children are talking. It could be right in the middle of a lesson when a child enthusiastically raises his/her hand to answer a question. When called upon, the child does not answer the question, but instead begins to tell the teacher about something from their own life. My cat had kittens, my dad is on a business trip, I am having a playdate after school…. Was this child really listening to the lesson or just waiting for a chance to ‘talk’? When my first graders have group instruction they sit on a carpet. When I dismiss them back to their seats, 5 or 6 children will try to line up in front of me to ‘tell’ me something. When I have small instructional groups at a table, before beginning the lesson more will line up to ‘tell’ me something. When we transition from one activity to another, once again children see this as open free time to come and ‘talk’. These situations are not open free time, and the children are always told to head back to their seats to get started on work. These children are crying out for someone to listen to what is going on in their lives. I do listen, a lot in fact…but I do have to teach as well. These children walk in from the bus talking, sit and get ready for the day talking, take out materials, talk time again, teacher turns back on class, more talking…you get the picture. I am able to control the children and quickly get them back on track but what is disturbing is that it is happening in the first place. What I notice about society is that these children, once out of school, are usually in the company of an adult who is talking on the phone, texting on the phone, listening on the phone, playing games on an electronic device and doing almost anything except talking to the child in their company. At home, the children are playing video games (teachers here all about them, even the games that are totally inappropriate for first graders, but that is a blog for another day), watching tv, on the computer, etc. When children are in cars, they are plugged in front of dvd players to entertain them, they have headsets for their own phones, or their own electronic device. Really? Who IS talking to these very young children? These children are so needy for interaction with others, that they are willing to interrupt class time to get teacher time or be disciplined for talking at a time when it is not allowed, just to be able to talk and be heard. Parents, please put down your electronic devices, take the dvd player out of your car, take the tv out of your child’s bedroom and unplug for awhile. Talk to your child. He/she is waiting to talk to you and craves your time, not your electronic devices. You will all reap a huge benefit from the additional family time and your child will not be the most emotionally needy child in the classroom.