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  • Conversation is something that we as adults do naturally.

    Many of us are conversational learners and make meaning about content and our world through conversation. But students don’t necessarily come to school knowing the intricacies of conversation. It is critical for students to learn what listening and speaking look and sound in order to be able to engage with the content. Thinking and talking about information transforms information into personal knowledge. Purposeful talk helps to guide that transformation.

  • Modeling a Turn and Talk

    allows the students to see and hear what one should look and sound like and what is expected of the students.

    It is very important to teach the importance of  listening and speaking (conversation skills). We need to explicitly model these steps and bring them to students' attention. While at first it may seem artificial to teach some of these skills in isolation, students need to be made aware of the skills needed and then be taught how to integrate them to have a conversation.

  • This talk is a lens

    into what the child currently understands, what content vocabulary they are able to articulate, and the level of sentence structure used in conveying the depth of understanding. For example does the child respond with one word, a simple sentence, an unfinished thought or incomprehensible output, or a sophisticated, well supported response? Listening in provides the teacher with next steps based on what is heard and in relation to the teaching point.

  • Turn and Talk is an opportunity for teachers

    to listen to and observe students. Are students  making meaning with the content? As we listen in on paired conversations, we can provide a prompt if we see a conversation has stalled and then move on to another pair as a way to differentiate in the moment. It is important to keep the multiple conversations moving by not getting too involved in one conversation. This is also a time when we can assess students' language structures, academic language, and content vocabulary.   

    Turn and Talk gives us a window in to what a student is thinking and whether they have the language to express their ideas. Listening to partner exchange allows for assessment of language skills, and allows the teacher the opportunity to see if the concepts are being grasped.

  • Student talk is essential

    in order to provide students with opportunities to process content and for the teacher to assess understanding. Turn and Talk helps the teacher to ascertain background knowledge, (check for understanding) throughout the lesson, or as a vehicle for students to recap the learning from the lesson.