Improving Participation with Talk Moves
Lesson Objective: Encourage participation and collaboration
All Grades / All Subjects / Discourse

Thought starters

  1. How do talk moves encourage students to make connections with each other?
  2. Which talk moves do you use in your classroom?
  3. Which could you add?
  4. What can you learn from Ms. Simpson about encouraging students to change their minds?
Excellent little video. Thank you to the teacher for sharing!
Recommended (1)
Very nice, Thanks!
Recommended (1)
Just perfect. Thanks!
Recommended (1)
Loved the shared thinking sign and will use it next week in class!
Recommended (1)
I will definitely adapt this for my prek classroom. Thank you!
Recommended (1)


  • [00:00]
    Interviewer: Talk moves are a way to encourage discourse in the classroom. The first talk move that I learned

    Interviewer: Talk moves are a way to encourage discourse in the classroom. The first talk move that I learned was repeating.

    Interviewee: That plus that is 80, it’s not 20.

    Interviewer: Can you explain for me what she just did up there?

    Interviewee: What she said was 80 divided by four is not 20, so it’s not gonna be the same as those two because when you add ‘em up it’s gonna be 80.

    Interviewer: At first no one can repeat it because children were used to, “The teacher called on that person, so I’m gonna check out until she calls on me.” Then suddenly it was like, “Whoa, we need to pay attention.” They really started paying attention to each other, and they could finally repeat.

    Interviewee: I would like to add something where Jason said 60, 80.

    Interviewer: Another talk move is adding on where they listen very carefully to what somebody said, and then they felt that something else needed to be added. They would say, “I’d like to add on to what so and so said.”

    Who has an answer that they want to give? Jason?

    Interviewee: Forty.

    Interviewer: Are there any other answers?

    One of the talk moves that we created is the silent signal in the classroom that I am thinking the same thing as you are. In my class the, “I agree with you sign,” is this. It’s like you and I think alike. That is so encouraging to the student who is speaking when they suddenly see everybody doing this to them. They’re like, “Yeah, everybody’s thinking the way I am, I rock.” They are encouraged by what they’re saying.

    Interviewee: You can’t change the divisor; you can only change the dividend.

    Interviewer: Revising our thinking is permission to change our mind once we are confronted with new information.

    Interviewee: I think she might be right, so I’m starting to think it’s false.

    Interviewer: So you’re starting to wonder?

    That talk move is valuable, not just in math, but it’s so valuable everywhere, that when you’re confronted with new information, you should change your thinking. You should take what you learn, merge it with what you already know, and then come to a new understanding that it’s okay, and that it’s expected.

    [End of Audio]

School Details

Lakeridge Elementary School
7400 South 115th St
Seattle WA 98178
Population: 420

Data Provided By:



M. Lynn Simpson
5 / Teacher



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture