Marcia Tayte tells us “when people open their mouths to speak, they send more oxygen to the brain.” What are we doing to get our kids talking? Here are a few ideas….
Turn and TalkI think we have probably all heard of “turn and talk”. Whenever we want the kids to engage in conversation, we invite the children to turn and talk with their elbow partner. Lots of modeling was needed for our kids to learn how to engage in conversation on a given topic!!!
What is an elbow partner?
- Elbow partners are assigned and they keep the same one all year.
- Elbow partners sit beside each other on the carpet.
- Elbow partners are cognitively similar.
Lean and Tell
- They also use their elbow partner for “Lean and Tell.”
- Lean and Tell is used when there is a quick response.
- We use this instead of having our kids raise their hands to answer.
- This allows for active engagement of everyone.
Marcia tells us, “students who have opportunities to brainstorm a variety of ideas with their peers without the fear of criticism or sarcasm are those who naturally improve their comprehension and higher-order thinking skills.”
Another strategy that Marcia talks about is using “families”. I love my family set up!
Here’s how I do it:
- Each family has a group of kids who work well together, without playing.
- Each family has all abilities.
- Each family has a natural leader.
- Spread out the children who are “talkers” or more active children.
- Children work with their families for centers and any time we are doing group activities.
Each family has a meeting area. When I need them to get with their families, they know where to go!
Working With Partners
- During Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop kids work with a partner.
- These partners are based on running records for reading and rubrics for writing.
- Partners are “close” to the same level.
- New partners are assigned every two weeks.
- Partners have their “private working area” in the same location as their partner working area.
- This way, no one has to move when we transition to partner time.
- We use this chart to help us keep up with partners.
- We have one for reading and one for writing.
- When I first started having kids work with partners, I was frustrated. I would tell them to “read with their partners” but they were simply sitting side by side not engaged.
- So that’s when we developed these two anchor charts. We spend a week on each chart. We model each technique and have time for them to practice right there in the lesson.
- Marcia tells us, “When students talk about a topic, they will understand it better because their brains not only mental process the information but also verbally process it.”
Here’s my summary….