Have you heard of silent conversations?
When you think of silent conversations you may find yourself thinking, isn’t that an oxymoron? You would be right! You should also know silent conversations can be a powerful tool in your classroom.
Why Use Silent Conversations?
They are a way for students to practice valuable content vocabulary with their peers. By writing down their thoughts instead of speaking them aloud students are able to scaffold for one another. The writing process also allows students to further cement their knowledge.
How to Use Silent Conversations
The process for using silent conversations is simple, which is part of what makes it so great. All you need is a lined piece of paper and writing utensil for each student. Students should be in partners, but if you need to have a group of three that will work too.
Students each take their paper and fold it in half vertically.
The teacher gives a topic.
Each student writes a question, comment, or wondering on the left-hand side of their paper. When both students have completed their comment they trade papers, read one another’s statements, and then respond in turn.
Students continue to respond to one another for as long as time allows.
Benefits of Silent Conversations
As I already mentioned above, one of the key benefits of this strategy is that students use academic vocabulary in writing to scaffold one another.
The benefits don’t end there though!
After you finish the silent conversation and collect the papers you are able to read through and check out students’ understanding of the topic.
Additionally, the silent part of silent conversations can be a lifesaver. This is a great strategy to use right after you have finished up a noisy science lab or need to settle back in after PE. It gives you a moment to collect your thoughts and get students back on track.
When To Use Silent Conversations
This strategy is great to use in a variety of settings.
It is wonderful to use before you begin a unit to see what students already know. It’s also fantastic to use as an exit ticket at the end of a lesson or unit.
Really, there is no wrong time to use a silent conversation!
Want More Ways to Integrate Writing?
Check out this post with more strategies!
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