Collaborative Discussions

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Structured Conversation Skills

  • Turn and TalkTurn and Talk is a foundational structured conversation skill that provides students scaffolded interactions to formulate ideas and share their thinking with another student. This strategy encourages a high level of pupil response and increased participation helps students sustain their focus. Student partners respond to and discuss ideas prompted by a focus question provided by the teacher. Students literally turn and then talk to another student while the teacher monitors, listens and records interactions.learn more
  • Write Pair ShareWrite/Pair/Share is an oral language support strategy that allows students to formulate their thinking in writing before oral interaction with a peer. It increases student accountability for talk and supports the more hesitant speaker by providing written rehearsal. Peers quickly write down a response to a focus question provided by the teacher, then read the brief response to a partner and follow it with discussion of ideas.learn more

To explore various classrooms where teachers are using explicit strategies and  structures for oral language development, you can:

“If there is one instructional strategy that teachers can implement to support academic success of children, especially those in low socioeconomic communities, it is to let them talk.”  (Mason and Gallaway, Reading Today, IRA Feb/Mar 2012)

"Students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations- as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations require that students contribute accurate relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains.” (Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects [PDF document - retrieved]