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Talk about Text: Facilitating Classroom Discussions

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In prior sessions we have focused on the quality of talk.  In this session we we will look at :

  • how you organize the teaching and learning to support talk and the scaffolding and
  • the modeling necessary for establishing routines for productive classroom talk.  

In prior sessions we have practiced a routine of planning questions that foster rigorous discussion during interactive read aloud.  Students need additional practice talking about text to synthesize ideas, to construct meaning, to cite evidence from text.  We encourage you to leverage the talk that occurs during an interactive read aloud to initiate further classroom discussions.  The first step to plan for this talk is to allot time in the literacy block, or class schedule for this talk about text.  Classroom discussions might occur as a whole group or in small groups as part of literacy centers: 


The next step is to think about teaching students how to have class discussions.  In this first video watch how this first grade teacher provides some carefully scaffolded partner to partner experiences.

Returning to the classroom teacher that modeled an interactive read aloud on Bugs, Bugs, Bugs (6:29),

observe how the teacher leverages read aloud to shift the whole group discussion about text- holding children accountable to talk about text, and providing practice classroom routines that encourage time for student-to-student talk during discussion. While you watch consider teaching moves is she making to support the process of talk (peer to peer, teacher to student, student to student, etc.) and the content of talk (elaboration, explanation, citing evidence, etc.)  Use the classroom discussion observation guide to collect data on teacher questioning and students responses. 

Think about what are the prompts to teach kids the process of discussion guideline for facilitating literature discussions (New Schools Project, 2015) about facilitating accountable talk.  

Before next meeting time:  Select an instructional routine or series of prompts to model and practice in the classroom.  Practice class discussion and have peer observe using observation guide.  Bring data to share, including photo of anchor chart or observation guide.

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These tools were created as part of the Literacy Improvement in Rural Education through Collaboration (LIREC) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education