Blurt Beans: Classroom Management Strategies

Is your class super talkative this year? Do your amazing lessons get interrupted repeatedly? Are you looking for strategies and interventions to get student’s attention and prevent them from blurting out?

You are in the right place and NOT ALONE. Student interruptions are normal.  The good news is there are strategies you can use to prevent the behavior.

I have several ways to help students learn expectations, but the Blurt Bean system is one of my favorite tools. There are several ways you can use a Blurt Bean Jar. If you are interested in a low interruption lesson, I will explain my two ways of using beans for behavior.

Stop the Blurting Out

Blurt bean jars are amazing for helping students who are blurting out.  Sometimes they don’t even know they are blurting out.  It is important that students understand why it’s a problem and learn some strategies of how they can help the class. Beans are cheap and less likely to be eaten.

Blurt Beans

Types of Beans

You can use coffee beans, dried pinto beans, black beans, northern white beans, virtual beans, or even jelly beans.  I’m not a fan of jelly beans just because they tend to eat them and bugs, but maybe you will have better luck.  You will be surprised how protective students are of their little beans.

You will need two clear jars.  I prefer plastic to avoid them breaking, but it’s important for kids to see the beans filling up in the jars. One jar is to hold the beans. Label the jar Blurt Beans or something else catchy. The other jar needs to have two to four lines with labels of prizes the class can earn for filling up the jar. Let students help you decide on the prizes to get them to “buy-in” to the new system.

You can write on the jar, add labels to the jar, write on tape, and put the tape on the jar. The higher the lines, the better the prizes. Students take ownership when they pick their own prizes.

Two Behavior Management Options

There are two options. The first option is to put 5 blurt beans on each student’s desk. If they have a name tag, I tell them to keep them on their name tag or in the pencil groove. In addition, they are responsible for their beans. Beans found on the floor get added to the Blurt Bean Jar. When students blurt out you, another student or the student must put a bean back in the Blurt Bean Jar.

The second way is a more sanitary option.  You control the beans. Provide a small cup or container to hold 5 beans for each student and you or one student who will be the Bean Monitor will remove beans when a student blurts out.

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day (no matter which way you do it), you will let the kids pour their beans into the 2nd jar to see if the beans hit the line for them to earn anything.  This is important because it’s fun for them to add their own beans and it gives them ownership. Once beans are earned, YOU CAN NOT take them out. They have earned them and need to know you won’t remove earned beans. If the whole class does a great job of being quiet and not blurting out, you can add extra “COOL BEANS” to the jar. Absolutely, make sure you announce it to the class when you do it.

When kids blurt out and get a bean removed, I don’t make a huge deal out of it to avoid embarrassment, but I do make a big deal at the end of the day when students fill up the jar. Clearly make sure to follow through on any promised rewards. Certificates are provided for home reinforcement.

blurt bean jar

When the jar fills up yell, “Cool Beans!” Then, reward them. Kids love it!

Virtual Beans

I know a lot of you are teaching online this year.  The good news is Google Slides makes it simple to have virtual beans that you add to a virtual jar. You can control them and still have the students learn about interruptions, expectations and plan their online prizes.

What Else Can I Do

Next, it’s important to teach students some strategies. Especially, for repeat offenders. Here are a few.

  • Use a journal to write your thoughts before you BLURT.
  • Raise your hand.
  • Stop and Think before you speak
  • Be an Active Listener (eye contact, lean forwards, quiet hands)
  • Hold your voice until times you can talk (lunch, centers, recess or free time)
  • Use a Focus Squishy

Blurt Beans Journal

Blurt Beans allow me to easily tie in writing with different prompts.  Students love to write their opinion about the new behavior management system. I give them a persuasive prompt to convenience the teacher of an amazing prize. Students can practice explaining how to fill up the blurt jar to get their prizes. They love the prompts.  I tell them they can rub or shake the beans for inspiration.

Blurt Beans

Read Stories About Blurting

There is a story provided in the Blurt Bean download called Billy the Blurter.  I have students put their thumbs up if they hear someone blurting out during the story. Also, I read books like My Mouth is a Volcano or It’s Hard to Be a Verb. Students are able to make text-to-self connections easily.

RULES & Posters

Students will buy-in to the system if you let them write their own rules, teach them how to regulate their voices, and model behavior.  Place posters around the most visible area to remind students of expectations. I like to have my own beans on my desk and tell them my principal gave them to me for not blurting out at the last staff meeting.  They will see that self-control is a life skill.

voice regulator

Also – don’t forget to follow Teacher’s Brain on TpT, so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff!

Another GREAT classroom management tool is Desk Pets. Read all about them and grab a freebie HERE.

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