Turn and Talk Fishbowl

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SWBAT: deepen the level of discourse by seeing a distinguished Turn and Talk.

Big Idea

Having used the Turn and Talk strategy for years, deciding to take the discourse deeper challenges thinking.

Guiding Question

5 minutes

This lesson was born out of necessity--I was finding that when I was telling my students to "turn and talk" about something, the level of discourse was really shallow. One person would say their thinking, then the other person would share their thinking, then the conversation ended. There was no new understanding, in fact, I'd be surprised if the partners even listened to each other at all.

The Guiding Question addresses that suspicion: "What is really going on during Turn and Talks?"

Mini Lesson

15 minutes

For the mini-lesson, I told all of my students to make a circle around the room and I put two chairs in the middle. I pulled in another adult (for me it was my collaborative teacher for two periods, an assistant principal for one period, and my literacy coach for a period), basically anyone you can find. I gave a copy of the Turn and Talk cards to all of my students and my fishbowl partner. I instructed my students to jot down what they saw--the adults were the fish in the fishbowl, and they were outside of the bowl observing us.

My partner and I had a discussion about what we are currently reading. I made sure to pause, rephrase, make eye contact, and ask follow-up questions. We made sure that we were having a conversation, rather than simply sharing our individual thoughts.

When we finished, we took a bow (the kids think this is funny, like we're on stage) and invited students to share what they noticed.

Work Time

25 minutes

For the work time, I give time for reading, but leave a longer time to practice talking about what we read. 

Here is a Turn and Talk session from another lesson:

Wrap Up

5 minutes

For their Wrap-Up, I specifically want to know how their Turn and Talk is going to change, so I tell them to make a quick "T-chart" in their notebooks. One one side is the old Turn and Talk, and on the other side is the new Turn and Talk. This is a nice way for them to differentiate between the two, and see what I'm asking them to do is new.