KinderGals: Building Brain Power through Brainstorming and Discussing

Search This Blog

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Building Brain Power through Brainstorming and Discussing

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 Talk
I 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.”
Developing Families
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….
Pin It!


Unknown said...

Kim- I have learned so much from you on how to get kids to talk to each other! Your terminology works so well with Kindergarteners. You have paved the was for best practice for so many teachers! You are one inspiring you!!!

JD's Firsties said...

Thank you so much for sharing... I love all the ideas your included in this post. I do a ton of "Turn and Talk" or "Turn and Teach" in my classroom but I love the idea of assigning elbow partners. I'm gonna give it a try this week. Using the word "family" is so powerful and meaningful for the kiddos when they are working with other students. Can't wait to start using this with my kids!

Holly said...

Oh my goodness...your emphasis on partnering/families just made me smile. I'm going to have to pin this and come back to it time and time again. I like your idea of "lean and tell" and keeping their elbow partner the same all year. I call mine "learning partners" and they change each you've given me something think about and I just LOVE that! Thanks a bunch for your insights!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

amy.lemons said...

You are such a genius, my friend! I love how you showed and explained so many different things! You're the kind of teacher that we can all learn from!

amy.lemons said...

You are such a genius, my friend! I love how you showed and explained so many different things! You're the kind of teacher that we can all learn from!

Deanna Jump said...

I commented on someone else's post earlier and said that I love how you do your class Families and BOOM!! here's a post about it. LOVE it! I've always partnered my kids and done lots of turn and talk but I've never thought to put them into Family groups until I visited your room and saw you do it. It is an awesome way for the kids to not only work together but to also have a sense of belonging! LOVE you and everything you do for teachers!

Linda Nelson @ Primary Inspiration said...

I love the idea of Lean and Tell as a mini-Turn and Talk! Thanks for sharing so many great ideas in this post!
Primary Inspiration

Kara said...

I love the idea of assigning spots for where they work or talk to their buddy. You are an amazing teacher. When I taught Kindergarten, you were a huge go to source for me.

Recipe for Teaching said...

I love the idea of "lean and talk" - what a great idea!! And I also love your reading buddies chart and the anchor charts you created to go along with them!! Thanks for sharing some really awesome ideas!!!


Jayme said...

I am so motivated after reading your post! I wanted to try to set up families in my classroom after reading the first two strategies and just thought about making my table groups the families. But after reading your post I know I have to change that! I love having all abilities represented in each family and designating spots around the room for the families to work! I can't wait to try the lean and tell also. We do a lot of turn and talking and sometimes when I want a quick response from everyone I tell my kids to whisper the answer into their hands, now I have to try the lean and tell! Thank you for such helpful suggestions!


Teach Talk Inspire

Michelle said...

We are always in partners or small groups but calling them a family makes my heart happy! Love your post! You rock.

Pin It button on image hover

Receive All Free Updates Via Facebook.