Week Ten: Chapter 6B Ensuring Active Thinking and Participation: Asking good questions and holding students accountable

18 Mar 2014 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Week Ten:  Chapter 6B  Ensuring Active Thinking and Participation:  Asking good questions and holding students accountable

To what extend do you currently use the five talk moves in your instruction?  

What benefits do you see in incorporating some or all of these moves into your practice?


  • 18 Mar 2014 10:55 AM | Deleted user
    First, I want to say how much I have enjoyed reading this book. It confirms my beliefs regarding how students learn, and I too have learned a great deal from this book.

    One aspect I want to comment on is the use of wait time. Many years ago, our district hired a consultant to do many workshops with us regarding methods of backward design lessons with learning targets & providing us with lots of graphic organizers. He also discussed the importance of wait time, and how that students who struggle don't even start thinking because they know that someone will be faster than them. He showed us the "eyebrow" approach & I used it often in my classroom.

    I always began my question with, "Sometimes it takes me awhile to think about a question or problem- does anyone else sometimes need more time to think?" Often, many heads were nodding yes. Next, I stated, "So I am asking you to help me and your classmates out. Don't raise your hand if you think you have an answer, but raise your eyebrows instead. This way, I know you have an idea, while others are still thinking about theirs. Can we try this?'

    The students, first of all, loved the idea of raising eyebrows. But also, I "saw" those students who would normally not even try and think about the question at hand begin to think. Some students moved their mouths while they were thinking, others might use pencil & paper to do their thinking- but they were thinking. It also gave me the opportunity to call on others who may not have had an opportunity to share because they needed more time to just think.

    So yes, wait time is very important aspect of giving time for students to compose their responses.

    Pretty sure, Shawn, that I have not answered the prompt, but really wanted to share this.

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    • 30 Mar 2014 8:22 PM | Deleted user
      Donna, I like the raised eyebrows idea. I often ask students to give a thumbs-up gesture rather than a raised hand. I find that other students sometimes stop thinking when they see hands go up, so thumbs up, or raised eyebrows can have the effect of keeping others engaged in thinking for longer.
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  • 30 Mar 2014 8:19 PM | Deleted user
    Using wait time would seem to be the easiest move for teachers to make, but many do not wait long, either after asking a question or after a student responds. This is probably due to a perceived need to keep things moving and avoid dead air. But when students get used to the practice, they often will offer additional comments, respond to others, and keep discussions going. The larger the group, the more it seems necessary to use wait time in order to give slower responders time to generate their thoughts.

    Revoicing is natural, especially when students are not so capable at articulating. I often use revoicing to help the class understand. Asking for verification helps to keep the initial speaker involved and validated.

    Asking students to tell more about what they think, respond to others' thinking, and restate the reasoning of others are all good moves. I need to plan be sure I make those moves, or sometimes I don't. As I use them more, they should become more natural.

    The benefits of those talk moves center around slowing down the process and allowing more space and time for students to consider concepts. We are often in a time crunch, but slowing down when considering important ideas helps students learn more deeply.
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