Lesson: Turn and Talk (starters)

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to use accountable talk to start a conversation about a book.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Yesterday, we worked hard to write down our thinking about a book. This is the first step in having meaningful conversations with each other about books.  As readers we want to think and talk deeply about a book.  Today, we will learn ways to start a conversation about a book using what we already know about stopping and thinking to write down our ideas.


Teach (10-12 mins):  Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  I suggest teaching a mini lesson previous to this lesson on the procedures for turning and talking in your classroom or assigning knee partners who always sit with each other on the carpet. 


Readers, today is a big deal in our learning.  I noticed you have many wonderful thoughts about your reading and now it’s time to take our thinking to the next step.  Today we will use prompts to start a conversation with our partner.  Talking about our reading is a way to think more deeply about a book because our partner might have similar or different ideas.  We will only focus on beginning a conversation today but by the end of the week you will be expected to carry on meaningful talks with your partners.


Watch me as I show you a few prompts to begin a conversation with the book, “Library Mouse” by Daniel Kirk.  Teacher reveals the teaching chart for the day which has the following conversation starters:


I wonder…

I think…

I noticed…


I can use any of these three prompts to begin a conversation (teacher may add more or less prompts depending on the level of students in the class).  I wonder is a great way to start a sentence about a question I have in my mind.  I think is an idea that I have that may not be written in the book and I noticed is an idea that I thought about while reading that was in the book.  It will be much clearer when I show you a few examples.  Let’s start reading.


Teacher reads aloud the first page of the book.


Sam was a library mouse.  His home was in a little hole in the wall behind the children’s reference books, and he thought that life was very good indeed.


Already I have an idea that I want to share with a partner.  I wonder why the mouse lives in the library because I normally only think about books in a library, not a mouse.  Did you notice how I had a thought about what I was reading so I used a sentence starter to say my idea.  This allows my partner to respond to what I am thinking but today we are only beginning our conversations.  Let me show you one more example.  Teacher reads aloud the next page.


Every day, when the library was full of people walking up and down the aisles, studying, checking out books, and working on the computers, Sam was curled up in his little hole, sound asleep.  Every night, when the people went home and the room was dark and quiet, the library belonged to Sam. 


And every night Sam read, and he read, and he read.  Sam read picture books and chapter books.  He read biographies and poetry, cookbooks and sports books, fairy tales and ghost stories, and mysteries by the dozen. 


I noticed on these pages that Sam loves to read which makes sense because he is a library mouse.  In that conversation starter I said an idea that I noticed from the book and explained why I thought that made sense.  If Sam lives in the library he must love reading books or he would probably choose to live somewhere else.  I think you are ready to try. As I read aloud the next page think about how you would start a conversation.  Teacher reads aloud next section.


Sam’s mind was filled with facts and information and images of far-away places, and his imagination brimmed over with wonder and fantasy.  One night Same decided that it was time he wrote a book of his own!


Think for a moment what you want to say to your partner.  Then turn and tell your partner your idea.  If you are partner number one share first then partner number two will share.  Remember we are not responding to our partner, we are only listening to their conversation starter.  Students turn and talk while teacher listens in to conversations.  Teacher calls on a few students to share their ideas.  Great work readers!  I love how some of you had questions and others noticed key ideas.  I think you will have great conversations soon.  Let’s try one more page.  Teacher reads aloud.


Sam folded over some little squares of paper he took from the librarian’s desk, to make the pages.  Then he found a pencil that had rolled underneath a shelf, and he began to write.  “Write what you know,” Same had read in a book about writing, so Sam wrote about being a mouse.  He drew the pictures for his book by posing in his little mirror and then sketching what he saw.


Sam worked very, very hard, and finally his first book was done.  He called it Squeak! A Mouse’s Life, and he wrote on the cover, words and pictures by Sam.”  He went to the biography/autobiography section of the library, and he tucked his first book onto the shelf.  Then he went back to his little hole in the wall and waited. 


Think for a minute about what you want to share with your partner.  Then turn and talk.  This time partner two may share first. Teacher listens in to conversations and calls on students to share their thinking with the entire group.  I heard some wonderful conversation during that share and I think you are ready to try on your own.  When you return to your seats, you will be given a copy of Library Mouse to read.  As you read stop and write your thinking in the story.  At the end of workshop time you will share your thinking with members of your group.  Remember to use sentence starters each time you stop and write.  Off you go readers.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins):  Students return to their seats to work independently.  Each student will be given a typed copy of the book, Library Mouse.  As they read they will be prompted to stop and jot using their sentence starters.  Their writing will be used during the share part of the lesson.  Teacher should circulate during this time to conference with students or read with lower readers. 


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins):  Students should be given time to share their writing with students at their table (or assign groups if students do not sit in groups).  Students may take turns sharing their conversation starters at each place they stopped and jotted down their thinking.  Teacher should collect worksheets at the end of the lesson to monitor student progress.


Reflection: This lesson can be taught with a variety of books.  I chose to use a picture book so that all my students could access the text at their seats and many students relied on the pictures to write down their thinking during the read-aloud portion of the lesson.  This lesson should be repeated several times throughout the school year as teacher notices that students are no longer using sentence starters. 

Lesson Resources

Library Mouse Stop and Jot.doc  


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