Joseph Rogers Primary School

December 8, 2014

Let's Talk

Students LOVE to talk, and so do teachers! I believe that may be the reason I chose to teach. I love to hear myself talk. As I read an article in the latest Educational Leader journal, I began to think about how students are communicating with us. When there is a good balance between teachers and students leading discussions in the classroom great things can happen.

Productive student talk is essential to teaching and learning. Below are a few reasons to support this.

  • The person talking is doing the thinking - a study conducted a number of few years ago found that in high achieving classrooms, teachers talked about 55 percent of the time, but in classrooms in which students were identified as low-achieving, the teacher talked about 80 percent of the time.
  • When students are not asked to talk and think, teachers fill in that time by talking themselves (and you know we all do!) think about this - when we understand a concept or idea it is so much easier for us to talk about. When you attend an inservice and you understand what is going on you are more likely to participate. Participation = learning
  • Talking facilitates reading and writing development - "Reading and writing float on a sea of talk." James Britton in 1970 recognized that focusing on students' oral language development facilitated their ability to read and write. Literacy and Writing are two of the county-wide goals that we have this year. Speaking goes right along with this goal. Good speakers become good writers and readers.

Questions to use to facilitate good speaking in your classroom

  • Can you tell us more?
  • Would you say that again?
  • Can you give me another example so we can understand?
  • I'd like to hear what others are thinking about (child's name) comment.
  • Take your time. I can see you've got further thoughts about this.
  • Why do you think that?
  • Where could we find that information you just brought up?
  • I'll restate what you just said. Listen to make sure I got it right.
  • That's a great question. Let's pose it to the rest of the class. What do you think?

Thursday afternoon I had the opportunity to attend a meeting facilitated by the state department. In this meeting, many questions were being asked to the presenter about TVAAS (another topic, another week...), but each time a question was asked she would say "That is a really good question." I was watching the faces of the adults when she reinforced their question as having merit. The validation they recieved from that one comment was expressed in each person's face. We all like to feel like what we are asking is worthwhile, kids are no different. Acknowldege them, give them that validation and imagine the conversations that will begin to take place in your classroom.

Enjoy conversing,


taken from Educational Leadership, November 2014

Calendar of Events

Fun Times at JRP

December 1-12 - AIMSweb Testing

December 10 - 80th day of school. Wear your 80's attire and take your kids on a gallery walk of the 80's timeline and the 80's artifacts museum.
December 8-11 - Standards Based Benchmarks in Literacy and Mathematics; I would like to have the spreadsheets by Friday, December 12. If this is not possible, then by Monday will be fine.

December 10 - Fire Drill - 9:00

collaboratives - scoring writing assessments and begin to look at anchor papers for each grade level for exemplary writing/score benchmark assessments

December 12 - Santa Pictures

December 15 - Fire Drill - 10:00

December 16 - Tacky Christmas sweater/shirt day

December 16 - establishing Tier I, Tier II and Tier III groups to begin after Christmas (during planning in Paula's classroom)

December 17 - AR celebration, NO Tardy Party, modified related arts schedule on this day

December 18 - 1/2 day - Christmas parties for Students
December 19 - staff development day - teachers and assistants work. Breakfast will begin at 8:30.

December 20-January 4 - Christmas Vacation -

The hallways will be repainted during this time. Please make sure all artwork etc. are removed from the hallways so everything can be repainted. After 14 years, it was time for some freshening up.


It matters who's talking in class because the amount of talk that students do is correlated with their achievement.

-Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey

Let your students be exhausted at the end of the day ,not you.