Question Detail

What are some strategies for the first time you set norms for classroom discussions in middle school?

Jun 15, 2017 2:38pm

In science and in middle school, classroom talk and discourse is very important to student learning. i feel as though the environment must be set at the beginning of the year in order to successfully develop it in future science investigations. My struggle has been with developing ideas of how to practice it FIRST in a fun and meaningful way and model expectations ?I have seen talk stems, talk moves, etc...but how do you actually DO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME to 7th graders without making it too childish for them? Any ideas or strategies would be so very much appreciated.

  • Science
  • 6-9
  • Behavior / Class Culture


  • You must sign in before we can post your answer.
    Don't have an account? Sign up only takes a few seconds.

    • Jun 26, 2017 7:27pm

      I use think pair share. I would start with something simple, like some photographs that tell something about me (a picture from my wedding day, my dog, my favorite book, etc.). I show the first picture and model with a student how to discuss the picture and what the picture tells about me. Then I show the second picture and have the students practice discussing in pairs as I walk around, monitor, and listen in. I give the signal to come back together as a group and have students share out. Then repeat with the following photographs. While teaching the expectations for think pair share, the students are also learning about their new teacher.
      You can then repeat the activity for introducing class rules. Teach the first rule and then have the students explain the rule to their partner. Repeat for the following rules.

      • Aug 24, 2017 12:42pm

        I talk about the EPIC science fails (blood letting, the earth being flat, etc.) and then talk about moonshot thinking. I share with students that in science we make so much progress from being wrong so as we set a class culture its important that we listen to the ideas of others so that we can learn from them. You would have thought a person was crazy if they told you that tiny living things called bacteria were crawling on our skin 150 years ago... but someone was brave enough to speak up, study and share. I tell them they don't want to be the guy who pick on Einstein.

        In addition to just talking about it, you could have them use scenario cards to guide the conversation and it could also lead to talking about evidence for claims in class. Good luck!

        • Jun 26, 2017 7:46pm

          Thank you! I like the ideas you had to incorporate introductions and class procedures with the discourse procedure.

          • Sep 2, 2017 8:30pm

            Discussion Behaviors :
            Listen carefully.
            Speak clearly .
            Remain on topic.
            Cite evidence.
            It is ok to disagree with an idea.
            Use positive body language.
            Contribute relevant ideas.

            Discussion Starters:
            I agree with ...
            I disagree with …
            I would like to add …
            Can you explain that further …
            This is important because …
            In paragraph …… it says ...