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Instructional Update 1-28-20
Kathy House
Tuesday, January 28, 2020


As we continue to explore the teal colored portion of our learner centered anchor chart (attached) and our walk-through focus of progress monitoring and feedback (attached), I want to share a strategy tool kit for dialogue/discussion that can be used in any classroom regardless of grade level and content…Accountable Talk.  When you look at the student look for’s identified on the walk-through tool, you will find that this level of engagement and empowerment can be achieved through academic dialogue.

I cannot think of a subject area, or class, in schools today in which we are not working with learners on articulating thinking. We regularly ask learners of all ages to put forth an idea then explain their reasoning in support of that idea. In English Language Arts we might ask readers to say what kind of person they think a character is, and use evidence from the book to explain why they think that. In Science classes we ask learners to form a hypothesis then use observations and data to prove their hypothesis correct or incorrect. In Social Studies we might ask learners to argue why a particular historical figure was a strong leader. In art and music classes we ask artists and performers to critique works and performances, using observations and knowledge of technique to support their judgments.

Accountable talk is the process of learners sharing their thinking with others, and engaging in thoughtful discussion with others about those ideas.  When learners work through an accountable talk experience, they go beyond simply sharing ideas and thinking. They discuss similarities and differences in their ideas and reasoning with the ideas and reasoning of others, and work towards clarifying any confusion or misunderstandings between group members. Not only does engaging in this work deepen understanding, it builds a foundation for respectful and civil discourse, an essential lifelong skill we surely want our future learners to be well versed in.

Below is a link to a Google Drive folder that contains everything you need to utilize this in your classroom.

These tools will help you foster a stronger learning community that enables students to engage in feedback and monitoring of their own learning.

Standards of Accountable Talk(Resnick, 1999)

  • Accountable to the Learning Community
  • Accountable to Knowledge
  • Accountable to Rigorous Thinking

As always, please let me know how I can support you as you try some of these strategies.

Thank you for all you do for the students of Trimble County!