Accountable Talk Stems encourage our youngest students to participate in effective discourse. 

I'm currently supporting a teacher who really does a fantastic job incorporating higher order thinking in his classroom discussions (3rd and 4th grade).
He's also planned for multiple opportunities for student discourse during and after instruction. The only snag? There's a small group of students who are having an easier time reaching for those higher order thinking questions and at times may dominate the conversation.
Does that familiar?
At our last check-in, we talked about incorporating accountable talk stems to help other students join in the discussion.
I imagine some students are feeling left out and/or insecure while other students simply do not know (yet) how to appropriately participate in the discussion.
We also discussed grouping to offer smaller groups more support and an even smaller group explicit directions (i.e.: sentence starters) to help them find their voice.

I quickly whipped up this handout for our check-in this week:

Free Accountable Talk


In order to support my younger students, I definitely model and provide opportunities to practice accountable talk in our small and whole groups. A great opportunity to practice is in response to answering questions after a read aloud. 

Tips for Modeling – Using Think Alouds

If this is completely new to your students, I suggest modeling not only using accountable talk stems, but also the process of choosing which question to ask.
This could look like you incorporating “think alouds” while referencing the sentence stems. Students will see that they also can use chart to try out different questions and see what feels comfortable for them to use in conversation. 
I start of by modeling only one or two (you're the best judge of what your class is ready for) sentences at a time. We may stick with these sentences for a few weeks or even a month until they began to appear in our regular book discussions.

How do you support accountable talk in your classroom?


Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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