PSJA Early College Express

January 2016

This month: Classroom Talk

Classroom Talk

Classroom talk creates the space for students to articulate their thinking and strengthen their voice. Classroom talk takes place in pairs, in collaborative groups, and as a whole class. As students become accustomed to talking in class, the teacher serves as a facilitator to engage students in higher levels of discourse. Classroom talk opens the space for questioning, effective scaffolding and successful collaborative group work and literacy groups.

The Teacher Effective Rubric: "Demonstrating"

  • Classroom talk occurs regularly and authentically, and it drives all classroom activities.
  • The teacher believes that effective CT fulfills learning objectives and goals.
  • The teacher establishes and maintains a positive classroom tone where student voices are encouraged, acknowledged, and respected.
  • The teacher champions CT to "Initiating" teachers.
  • The teacher acts as a discussion facilitator, prompting students to deeper thinking and learning.
  • The teacher knows strategies and protocols and ensure that all students participate in CT.
  • The teacher consistently asks open-ended questions that fulfill learning objectives and goals and expects students to do the same.
  • The teacher uses multiple strategies that encourage students to develop their speaking voices.
  • The teacher uses CT in conjunction with other strategies to create an experience of learning for all students.
  • The teacher expects students to expand on others’ comments in a substantive way.
  • The teacher uses CGW, WTL, Questioning, and Scaffolding to build to CT and sequences activities so students are ready for discussion.
  • The teacher allows students to demonstrate expectations for CT every time it is used.
  • The teacher models and expects the use of academic language and accountable talk by all students.
  • The teacher designs most or all lessons to allow students to verbally demonstrate their learning.
  • The teacher employs CT as an informal, formative assessment of what students know, how they know it, and what they need to know.
  • The teacher plans activities that encourage in-depth participation and where students have a leadership role in CT.
  • The teacher consistently assigns tasks that require students to talk to one another and the whole class.
  • The teacher expects ELLs to actively participate in CT and provides them with the necessary supports.
  • The teacher allows student discourse to drive learning.
  • The teacher engages in Questioning with students to move them further along without providing answers.
  • The teacher acts as a facilitator, creating circumstances for productive discussion that drives student learning.
  • The teacher expects students to accurately paraphrase others’ comments and then link to them in substantive ways.
  • The teacher listens more than talks and gathers data about the learning process.
  • The teacher expects moments of silence during classroom discussion and sees them as valuable thinking time.

The Student effectiveness rubric: "Demonstrating"

  • Students understand that CT is a norm and expect to demonstrate their thinking through discourse.
  • Students are comfortable and confident speaking and expressing ideas in front of the class.
  • Students understand the value of their voices and know that what they have to say matters.
  • Students take ownership of CT and take it to relevant levels of intellectual discourse.
  • Students consistently listen and build on one another's ideas to enhance their own learning and thinking.
  • Students are confident in their voices and expect to use CT in order to clarify and further their learning or understanding of a topic.
  • Students take "think time" before responding to others' contributions.
  • Students use their written responses and the outcomes of their work in pairs and small groups to scaffold to CT.
  • Students verbally demonstrate that they are clear about the goals and objectives of the assignment and can articulate how CT helps them achieve those goals.
  • Students consistently make connections and demonstrate their learning during CT, making explicit connections to other assignments through discourse.
  • Students know how to use their written responses and the outcomes of their work in pairs to enhance their CT.
  • Students collectively engage in higher-order critical thinking through effective CT.
  • Students use accountable talk during discussions, using the vocabulary, syntax, and linguistic approach of the subject matter they are studying.
  • Students lead and monitor the discussion themselves and keep one another focused on the content.
  • Studnets listen to one another, ask questions, refute or expand on another's thinking, and take notes during CT.
  • Students are highly engaged in CT, lead the discussion, and give thoughtful responses.
  • Students address one another primarily (rather than the teacher).
  • Every student in the class is an active participant in CT thoughout the lesson.

Conver-Stations: A Discussion Strategy

Watch this very brief (3 minute) video on structuring academic conversation in the classroom.
Talk in the Classroom

CLICK ABOVE to read this brief article by

Classroom Talking Stems

Watch for this document, below, courtesy of the PSJA Instructional coaching department, to feature prominently in both this month's webinar and in this month's face-to-face PD.
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January Webinar: Classroom Talk

This webinar explores the purpose and power of Classroom Talk. Please watch this webinar with your department prior to your school's face-to-face professional development session (see schedule below). Please click on image below to view the webinar.
Classroom Talk Webinar

Webinar feedback

Please click on the image below after you've watched the webinar to give us your feedback.

PSJA January Professional Development Schedule

Murphy MS: Monday, January 11, during Team Share

Alamo MS: Wednesday, January 13, during CLCs

Yzaguirre MS: Tuesday, January 19, during Team Time

PSJA ECHS: Wednesday, January 20, during CLCs

Memorial HS: Thursday, January 21, during CLCs

Austin MS: Friday, January 22, during CLCs

Scott Hollinger

PSJA Professional Development Specialist