Speaking & Discussing

Resources for teaching academic listening, speaking and discussion. 

Listening.Speaking.RubricWe’re recommending that teachers use the Listening, Speaking, & Leading Rubric & Discussion Tracker to help students achieve the goal of class averages averaging a 3 out of 4 on the Listening, Speaking, & Leading Rubric.

Different Types of Discussion:

1.  Partner Discussion

2.  Small-Group Discussion

3.  Half-Class Fish Bowl Discussion

4.  Whole-Class Socratic Seminar Discussion

Discussion Procedures:

1.  Sentence Starters

  • What:  Teach your students how to begin their conversations in more fruitful, effective ways by teaching them sentence starters (and reinforcing the expectation of full, respectful communication).
  • When:  Students can use this when discussing text, essays, and multimedia in partners, small groups, or whole-class discussions.
  • Why:  Sentence starters help students:
    • Construct their thinking in easier-to-understand ways
    • Actively listen & respond fully in spoken word
    • Build trust and respect among each other
  • How:  Here are a number of sentence starters that teachers have taught students to use in the past + a shorter downloadable version for your students:
  1. Expressing agreement & building upon an idea:
    1. My idea is like ____’ s idea.
    2. My claim/ evidence is the same as _____’s.
    3. My thought builds upon ______’s thought.
    4. I agree with _______’s perspective.  I also think that…
    5. As _____ already pointed out, it seems like…
    6. __________ already mentioned…., but I would like to add that….
  2. Expressing polite disagreement & providing evidence:
    1. I don’t entirely agree with ______ that…
    2. My opinion/ experience/ perspective is different than _____’s.
    3. My idea is slightly different than ______’s.
  3. Affirming:
    1. That’s an interesting idea!
    2. I hadn’t thought of that!
    3. I see what you mean!
  4. Asking for clarification:
    1. What do you mean?
    2. Will you explain that again?
    3. I have a question about that:
  5. Holding the floor:
    1. If I could finish my thought…
    2. What I was trying to say was…

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