Oral Language FAQ

What data should I use when strategically grouping students for discussion/talk?

It’s best to use multiple data points when creating your pairs or groups. Some criteria to consider would be: oral language development data, social/behavioral considerations (introvert, extrovert, who they work well with, etc.), reading levels and writing skills. Formative data like writing samples, anecdotal notes from small and whole group lessons, or other student work can be very useful to examine.

What do I do when a student doesn’t have a partner?

If a student’s partner is missing they should join with another pair to form a triad or find another student without a partner. You can problem solve these solutions with your class as you establish the routines and procedures of Turn and Talk. Avoid taking on the role of filling in for a missing partner. When you are involved in a paired conversation, you cannot listen in on other groups.

Can I use triads as well as partners?

Partners are the preferred grouping. This allows each student to have an opportunity to engage in the conversation equally. Triads are used if a partner is missing.

What are you listening for while students talk?

Listening in to student talk is formative assessment in the moment. You can be listening in for a variety of things such as language structure, use of academic vocabulary, understanding of the content or concept presented. What you are listening for depends on your teaching point and language objective.

What prompts are you using to generate conversations?

Open ended prompts provide students with many entry points into the conversation or discussion. When students struggle with the language structure, we often see the teacher providing a sentence stem to start the conversation.

What is the New Teacher Center?

New Teacher Center (NTC) is a national non-profit dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers. NTC works with school districts, state policymakers, and educators across the country to develop and implement induction programs aligned with district learning goals. New Teacher Center seeks to reduce the achievement gap in our nation’s schools by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers through comprehensive mentoring and professional development programs.