To be “college and career ready,” today’s students must have regular opportunities to take part in a wide range of conversations and reflective thinking tasks in order to build their content understanding and become active participants in their learning.
Speaking and Listening Anchor Standard 1 in the English Language Arts CCSS (Washington State Learning Standards) states that students must “Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.” Student engagement is a key component in creating a collaborative culture where students regularly engage in partner, small group, and whole group academic conversations to build their speaking, listening, and critical thinking skills.
One resource that is available to support these types of structured opportunities for learning is Expeditionary Learning’s Protocols and Resources. This document provides teachers with over 60 highly engaging resources for explicitly teaching protocols for discussion, checking for understanding, assessment, and building academic vocabulary. Some examples of protocols to increase student engagement and critical thinking included in this resource include:
- Chalk Talk—strategy to promote discussion and awareness of issues and perspectives–silently
- Interactive Word Wall—an instructional tool to strengthen academic vocabulary
- Take a Stand—protocol to support students in articulating and reflecting on their opinions
- Fishbowl—a protocol to support classroom discussion; allows students to observe and reflect on verbal interactions
I recommend this resource to teachers looking for strategies to successfully engage students in the classroom as well as to instructional facilitators and administrators looking for new ways to engage adult learners in professional development sessions. Check it out!