We have been getting a lot of awesome feed back from our “Go To Lessons” (French, PE, Dreams, Primary) so we decided we would make it a weekly feature on our blog. Introducing… Teach It Tuesdays! We will post some of our favourite lessons and you can take what you want, use them how you want, and then let us know how it went (of course the last part is optional but we do love to hear from you!)

I learned about today’s “Teach It Tuesday” idea during my final practicum placement (thank you, Karen!) Today’s Teach It Tuesday is called a Chalk Talk (“white board talk” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…) A Chalk Talk is a way to get students engaged in a discussion without actually talking. The teacher writes a word or statement on the board and has a few white board markers ready to go. Students may come up to the board and contribute their thoughts, questions, facts, opinions, etc. to the Chalk Talk by drawing a line from the main word/statement and adding their writing and thinking, like this:

ChalkTalk2
This was our Advisory block Chalk Talk today in grade 7. As you can see, some students were very serious about the topic of discussion…others, not so much. It’s a learning process 🙂

It is important that students follow a few key expectations when participating in a Chalk Talk:

1) Absolutely no voices. Not even a whisper.

2) Three to four people max writing on the board at any given time (any more and it can ruin the experience)

3) Respect all ideas that are shared…no question is a “dumb question” and everyone is welcome to share their own opinions, whether they agree or not. “Agree” can be conveyed with a simple smiley face drawn on the board next to any point, and “disagree” can be conveyed with a frowny face. Note: meeting these expectations takes practice. Not all students will be able to pull off a silent, serious Chalk Talk right off the bat. Take, for example, the fine contribution in the lower right hand corner of the photo I posted above: “chickins die every day”…true fact, but not really the vibe we were going for. This student was definitely just trying to be funny. As the teacher, I let anything go when a Chalk Talk happens – it’s amazing to see what kind of conversation derives from these things!

After Chalk Talking for about five minutes or so, invite the class to discuss (with voices!) the ideas shared. You may choose to do AB partners, small groups or a class discussion.

This morning we got really into this part of our Chalk Talk:

ChalkTalk
The comment: “They don’t have to have a baby if they don’t want to” stemmed from the thought, “I wonder where the most births in the world occurred this year?” As you can see, we dove directly in to issues such as family life, cultural diversity, human/women’s rights and downright disgust with the thought of having a baby 🙂

Chalk Talking is a great way to get your more reluctant, quiet students to contribute in class discussions. Let us know if you have any Chalk Talk questions or ideas and definitely let us know how if works for you if you decide to try this in your class!

Karley