Use Productive Talk Moves to enhance class discussions in order have high quality discussions that engage everyone and further student understanding of the material.

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  • By using Productive Talk Moves effectively, you can improve the effectiveness of your classroom conversations.
    • The goal of class discussions is for the teacher to facilitate student talk, not for the teacher to talk.
    • Productive Talk Moves are designed to help you achieve this goal.
      • For more info on Productive Talk Moves, check out the resources at the bottom of this tip.
  • When you call on students, your goal is to have them respond to each other.
    • Be careful not to respond to students yourself after you call on them. This is the perfect time to call on another student.
      • This is a crucial part of productive class engagement.
  • Below are the nine talk Productive Talk Moves to use while leading a discussion from Inquiry Project:
    • Time to Think.
      • Provide wait time or time for students to write down their answers before the discussion.
    • Say More.
      • Ask students to clarify what they just said, to say more.
    • So Are You Saying…?
      • Restate what you think the student said.
    • Who can Rephrase or Repeat?
      • Ensure that other students are listening and understanding by asking them to recite a recent point a student made.
    • Ask for Evidence or Reasoning.
      • Push students to explain why their answer is correct by forcing them to share their thinking outloud.
    • Challenge or Counterexample.
      • Have students think about exceptions or where their idea might be wrong or exceptions to their idea.
    • Agree/Disagree and Why.
      • Ask other students to take a position and defend it in response to a point an other students just made.
    • Add On.
      • Ask other students to provide more information, such as if there are multiple examples of a phenomenon.
      • Doing this can get students to come up with a lot more examples.
    • Explain What Someone Else Means.
      • Ensure that students are not only listening, but also understanding their classmates.
  • It’s important to ask well crafted open-ended question that lead to discussion and debate.
    • Use open-ended questions rather than asking a question to which there could be one best answer.
      • Asking a question that anticipate a single best answer is called IRE (Interrogation, Response, Evaluation) sometimes known as guess what’s in my head.
    • Consider the following example questions that use Productive Talk Moves for an in-class discussion about efficiency:
      • “We would agree that efficiency is good, but there are many debatable elements to efficiency.”
      • “There are multiple kinds of efficiency. Which is best? Speed? Size?”
      • “Can you ever maximize all kinds of efficiency?”
      • “Does it even matter if code is efficient?”
      • “What about less efficient code that is more readable?”
  • Ask a question tangential to the course content to teach students how to have class discussion in a low-stakes context.
  • Check out the Talk Science Primer for an easy to understand and free resource: http://inquiryproject.terc.edu/shared/pd/TalkScience_Primer.pdf
  • Get more information on Productive Talk Moves, as well as videos demonstrating them, at http://inquiryproject.terc.edu/
    • The Productive Talk Moves and the student engagement in inquiry are extremely appropriate to computer science at all levels.
      • Though the videos and the project are aimed at 3rd to 5th grade science classes, they can be incredibly powerful in your classroom.
      • Programming is a form of inquiry, as students test what the computer will do with their code.
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Tip-A-Thon with Glenda Guerrero.

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