Education · Special Education · Teaching Resources

Introducing (and Reinforcing) Partner Discussions in the Classroom

Kids inherently know how to talk to each other. They can chat all day about the latest YouTuber or their birthday sleepover party this weekend. When you ask them to discuss an academic topic, however, they’ll pretty much provide surface answers. They might not even listen to what their partner is saying because they know they’re supposed to give an answer, since “talk with your partner” doesn’t actually say anything about listening. But it’s really so much more.

I take a lot of time at the beginning of the year practicing Partner Talk, and it’s so important to continue to practice it throughout the year as the discussions become more academically rigorous.

Providing the steps in an easy-to-follow format and sentence frames for when they get stuck is important. This is a mature task to ask of young kids, but once they understand the steps, they become quite proficient at it!

I’ve uploaded my lesson on introducing Partner Talks, as well as “mini posters” that you can use to either post around your room, project onto your screen, or use as a guide to develop an anchor chart (always the best idea). Grab them here!

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