Getting Your Students Talking with Talking Sticks

Getting my pre-k students to engage in discussions has been a goal of mine this year. We started very basic with tracking the speaker whether it was me or another student, then we moved on to using our "loud and proud" voices, and finally to speaking in complete sentences. My students were doing such a great job but I noticed that several students were dominating the discussion. I needed to find a way encourage all of my students to participate in discussions in an equitable way. When Laura Candler offered to let me try her Talking Sticks Book Discussion I jumped at the chance!

I introduced talking Sticks during small group guided reading. Each student was given 3 sticks and  I explained when they wanted to contribute to the discussion, they had to place one of their sticks in the Talking Sticks cup. I also explained that the goal was to use all of your sticks before the lesson was over. My students who tend to dominate the conversation were quickly out of sticks and students who rarely participated were encouraged to use all of their sticks before the lesson was over. To foster discussion about the book we were reading, I also used Laura's discussion prompts. Her unit includes discussion prompts for Personal Response, Informational Text, and Literature so no matter what text you are reading you have discussion prompts at your fingertips! It has been weeks since I first introduced Talking Sticks and I can't imagine teaching without them. What I love the students are more thoughtful in their responses because they don't want to "waste" a stick!

With Talking Sticks Book Discussion the possibilities are endless! Use it during whole group or small group (just vary the number of sticks), you can use the discussion prompts with any text you are reading, you are encouraging your students to engage in meaningful discussions about text and ensuring equitable participation all while addressing the Listening and Speaking Standards. I used Laura's Kindergarten set but she has them available for ALL grades K-5, so you can find the set that is perfect for your students! If you are interested in using Laura Candler's Talking Sticks Book Discussion in your own classroom, you can check it out at her TpT shop.

How do you get students talking in your classroom?

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Movin' To Learn

I hope you've gathered lots of great ideas already on this Bright Ideas hop! I am so excited to share my absolutely favorite brain break website with you...Move To Learn!

Why do I love Move To Learn so much? To start, Move To Learn videos are FREE! You can download them so they are easy to access and always right there on your computer. There are videos for K-3 and 4-6 and the videos were recorded by a PE teacher in a real classroom, so all of the activities can be done around a desk.  The videos are all close to 5 minutes long which is the perfect amount of time to get the wiggles out so your students can sit down and focus. We were lucky enough to have Coach Calhoun visit our school and it was the best program! He was such an energetic presenter and the students loved getting up and moving during an assembly. The Move To Learn website has a ton of information and resources all for FREE...I hope you'll check it out!

Be sure to check out Heidi's Bright Idea post about using vocabulary and sight words during transitions!

My (Not So) Elementary Life

For more Bright Ideas click any of the links below!


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