One of my goals for this school year is to improve my classroom discussions. How many times have you planned out a great topic for discussion only for it to fall flat? Or had only one or two students able to participate in the conversation? I have found that explicitly teaching the students how to engage in discussion lays an important foundation for later classroom success. So, how do you teach students that may not be comfortable speaking in class, to speak in class? You start with some simple "talk-moves." The first one that I plan on teaching the class is called repeating. This is especially important if you have ELL students or kiddos that are uncomfortable talking out in class. Repeating is simply asking one student to repeat or rephrase what another student has said. This really shouldn't be used as a "gotcha" classroom management tool. Your goal as the teacher is not to "catch" the student that wasn't paying attention but rather to highlight and amplify the student who "hits the nail on the head." You don't have to ask students to repeat everything that is said- they aren't parrots. When a student makes a great point you just ask one or two or three other students to repeat or rephrase what they have said. You then check back in with the original student to make sure that you are retaining the intent of their statement.
There are six other "talk-moves" that I will be trying out this year; revoicing, reasoning, adding on, waiting, turn and talk, and explain and revise. These are all adapted by my school from the book Classroom Discussions; Using Math Talk to Help Students Learn. As I learn more and practice I hope to post about them here and we can all learn together! In the meantime, check out my student friendly posters on TpT for classroom discussion. You can print them out and hang them around your carpet area to help key you and your kiddos in to increasing discussion, engagement and achievement!
Check them out here