Everybody Talks, Everybody Talks

Last week I presented on Talk at the Saturday Reunion. One of the most popular ideas from this day was the curriculum of talk, created with Cheryl Tyler, Principal turned Staff Developer! Here is what it looks like:

A Curriculum of Talk/Talk Now for Kindergarten


In the morning, when kids arrive, they are engaged in a “Talk Now’. The teacher selects a topic for the week based upon the child’s interests, passions, current events or unit. In Kindergarten it may be as simple as “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” or “What is your favorite piece of equipment on the playground?’ Upper grade students may propose topics (that they subsequently turn into essays) that have included “Animals shouldn’t be used for fur” or “Rents in the Bronx are too high”.

We use this talk to explicitly teach language structure and vocabulary.

Day 1 Talk to your “Talk Now” partner about the topic. While students are talking, the teacher is listening in and taking notes to assess language. Ex: full or incomplete sentences, few words, listening and responding to partner or each partner talking about themselves etc…
Day 2 Talk to your “Talk Now” partner (could be same or different partner) about the same topic. Teacher can listen in and coach to help students use higher level language and speaking skills.
Day 3 There will be a whole class conversation. They have had 2 days of practice saying ideas and sentences about the topic.
Day 4 The teacher will transcribe on a chart paper a syntactically correct and structurally complex synthesis of the ideas the kids have be talking about” Shared talk.
Day 5 The written piece made on Day 4 will be revised to include higher level vocabulary. For example you may change the word ‘ate” to “devoured’.

Read the piece created for shared reading, as much as you can.

Sample of what chart from student conversation may look like…

 The children of K-302 eat a lot of different variety of things for breakfast. Dylan thinks that pancakes are delicious and eats devours them. Caleb, Annie and Tyler prefer to have cereal and often put fruit on top.

Annies mom prefer her to eat cereal that doesn’t have too much sugar. Having large amounts of sugar for breakfast is bad unhealthy.

On day 5, they went over vocabulary including variety, devours, and unhealthy. Kids then read this piece many times for shared reading and was a favorite to come back to.

Accountable Talk Chart

Let's Talk (conversation) anchor chart


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