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Manuela Ippolito
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Posts: 21

Some teachers have said they are afraid to let the students talk on their own. That they do not do it often, because the children can not handle it.

I agree, at first, it is messy and uncomfortable. There is a lot of modeling, prompting, waiting, asking, and clarifying.

I think I have it down now. Really down.

This year I began accountable talk, within the first couple days of school, with my 3rd graders. Now, in December, I have students jumping in asking others to elaborate, and explain their thinking, at ALL times of the day.

We have discussions many different ways. Usually, they turn to a partner for exposure of ideas, before we do a shared discussion. Mostly, I have the learners talk at their teams. Everyone has to share.

The intro sounds something like this:

“In just a minute, you are going to share at your team, one at a time, your answer (or response). Everybody has to share their work, and before you share you MUST start with “I AGREE or DISAGREE”. You can add on, say it differently, or ask for help if you were completely confused. You may NOT shrug your shoulders, or stay silent. At the end, I will ask if anyone didn’t share. Those of you who spoke responsibly, will put a tally mark on your accountability chart. Decide who will begin. Okay, go ahead.”

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I also remind them to look at the speaker, and if they can not hear, it is their responsibility to ask the speaker to speak up. In addition, I wander around the room, stopping and asking students to repeat what their peer said. This is where I do some reteaching on accountable talk.

For example, I might stop and if a student can not paraphrase (or especially even repeat) what was said, I remind them to say “can you say that in a different way, I still do not understand”. Likewise, I urge the students who are explaining their thinking to ask (certain learners) to repeat back, and if they can not, it turns into a peer teaching session.

I have to say, this is my favorite part of witnessing my students learning. I thoroughly enjoy observing their learning out loud (LOL).

I have a couple other techniques to get students talking, but I will save that for next time.


In the meantime, get your feet wet then jump in. You will not regret the end results.

Manuela Ippolito




January 3, 2015 at 9:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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