I teach this lesson within the first few weeks of school in whole group and small group situations. I teach this lesson early so my students can grow their skill set as time goes on. I am sure to set the expectations early for participation and I reinforce those expectations regularly and consistently.
Students need to be grouped in pairs and small groups (3-4) for this lesson. There are many ways I might choose to set up these groupings at different times throughout the year. Since this lesson is taught so early in the school year, I do not use intentional partnering yet. And that is okay, but it is important that partnerships and small groups be put together pretty quickly. It is also important that groups are put together ahead of time (this is a part of lesson planning for me). As I get to know my children, I will change partners and groupings based on ability and need.
Here is a video about my thoughts on why accountable talk can work for you.
I introduce the students to the idea of Accountable Talk.
At this time, I have students all seated on the carpet, facing me.
"Today, we are going to talk about some rules for our classroom! We are going to discuss what it really means to have a cooperative conversation."
"What does it mean to cooperate?" (Allow wait time and call on a few students to answer.)
"Cooperation means working together. Can you say that with me, please?"
Students will say, "cooperation means working together."
"Right! Cooperation does mean to work together. If we are having cooperative conversations, that means we are going to have conversations together. If we are having conversations together, we are ALL speaking and listening. Let's say this together: We are ALL going to speak and listen when we have cooperative conversations."
I say it with the students all together, "We are ALL going to speak and listen when we have cooperative conversations."
"You're right- that will be our mission..... Now, what is our mission?"
Students will say this alone: "We are ALL going to speak and listen when we have cooperative conversations."
"Great job, everyone! Now, if you're ready to learn how we are going to do this together, jump up, give me an air high-five and sit back down!"
“Today, our mission is: We are going to practice having cooperative conversations.
What is our mission?”
(Students will say, “we are going to practice having cooperative conversations. “)
“Yes! Great! I love how everyone responded to me! That’s something we will have to do in our cooperative conversations! I actually have a list that we are going to use to tell us all of the rules for our cooperative conversations. It is located on my rules of engagement reference poster that I hang up and refer to often! When we all work together and have meaningful conversations, we should follow ‘The Rules of Engagement.’ When we follow ‘The Rules of Engagement,’ all of us are engaged and participating! So… let’s talk about these rules so we can begin to practice them!”
I hold up the ‘Rules of Engagement’ poster that is attached.
As I read each rule, I have the students repeat it back to me. Once all rules have been read and repeated, I go back over them myself one more time for the students, making sure they are nodding along and paying attention.
“Now that we know all of the rules for Cooperative Conversations, let’s see if we can make sure we follow them! This is part of self-monitoring; making sure you are making smart and useful choices for yourself. So, pay attention and see if you know how to make this work for you!”
“I am going to give you an example of something. I want you to give me thumbs up if I am following the ‘Rules for Engagement’ or thumbs down if I am not following the ‘Rules of Engagement.”
I then give examples of each rule, both good and bad, and see who is answering incorrectly.
--- If someone answers incorrectly, I ask them to explain their thinking. Once they have, I choose a person who answered with the correct answer and then have them explain their thinking. Finally, Ihave the original person (with the incorrect answer) re-state the correct person’s answer.---
Example: “I am listening to my partner, ____, but I have nothing to say………. VOTE!”
(look at their thumbs up or down, then have students explain using the above process)
“Good! That would not be following our rules for Cooperative Conversations. Let’s try another one! I am listening to my partner, _____, and when they are done talking, I respond to them……… VOTE!”
(I look at their thumbs up or down, then have students explain using the above process)
Do this for every ‘Rule of Engagement.’
When I am done with my examples, I read the rules back to the students. I then have them choral read them with me.
“I am so happy you guys are learning these rules so quickly! I am sure that you will follow these rules to participate in our Collaborative Conversation here in a few minutes!”
“Before we practice, I want to tell you what we are going to discuss. We are going to discuss ourselves! Now, are we all the same?”
(Students will say, “No, we are not all the same.”)
“Correct! We are all different! That means, we all have different ideas! Say that for me?”
(Students will say, “We all have different ideas!”)
“So, since we have different ideas, we are going to follow the ‘Rules of Engagement’ so everyone gets to share and share nicely when we have a Cooperative Conversation! Don’t forget that, please!”
“In a minute, we are going to break into groups (your groups should be predetermined). When we do that, everyone is going to take turns! When someone is talking, you will listen respectfully; you will only respond back to them after they are done. When every person is done sharing, feel free to work together and ask each other any questions you may have about something someone said. Just remember: even if you’re done with the topic, still follow the rules!”
“If you’re ready to participate the right way in a Collaborative Conversation, give me thumbs up! If you’re nervous but you know you can do it, give me thumbs sideways. If you are confused, give me thumbs down.”
(At this point, I differentiate. Those with thumbs down should come in a group with me so that I can think aloud and show them what to do. I send those with thumbs sideways into groups with those who have thumbs up.)
Once all students are in their spots, I give final directions: “I want you to take turns telling your friends who you are.”
Students should be saying, “I am ______” and then moving along to the next person.
I think aloud: “A good way to respond to ___ saying ‘My name is ___’ would be to say to him/her, ‘Nice to meet you, _____. I am ______.’ And then that first person could also say, ‘Nice to meet you too.’
“Alright. Now, I want you to do the same thing- take turns, listen respectfully, have everyone talk- and I want you to tell your partner(s) how old you are by saying, “I am ___ and I am ___ _years old.”
***** Having students model my complete sentences, even in group work, is vital to oral language skills!
As students talk to each other, I walk around, monitor and give corrective feedback.
Lastly, I have the students have one more conversation. “Now, I want you to tell your partner(s), Something I like is ____ because ____.”
*****I make sure to see who is listening and not responding too early- this question will get them all wanting to find similarities with each other so I pay attention and provide feedback here!
Once all conversations are done, I call students back to the carpet. I then summarize my activity:
“You guys did a great job following the ‘Rules of Engagement’ while we were having Collaborative Conversations. We worked together, so we collaborated. We listened respectfully and responded. We did a great job! If we always talk to each other like this, everyone will get a turn and everyone will hear many ideas; this will make our class a much more enjoyable learning place! So… are you guys in to do this every day….?”
I also like to use a ring of stems for my students to use for support and/or differentiation!
For the ASSESSMENT: I wait until the students have a little more experience with the practice before I assess how well they are doing. I repeat this exercise (with different information/conversation) for two to three more days, then assess.