Series Collaborating to Plan & Teach Gifted ELA: Respectful Talk

Respectful Talk

Lesson Objective: Encourage positive and productive discussions
All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Chism use accountable talk stems?
  2. What concrete strategies does Ms. Chism introduce for getting students to engage in respectful talk?
  3. How could you use Ms. Chism's strategies in your classroom?


  • Private message to John Ford

Accountable stems are ways to talk cues a card stalk on each students desk

Concrete Strategy for respectful talk students call on each other by name and the use of accountable talk stems

The way I would use in the classroom is to post stems visible for students to see and use daily in classroom and as a reminder during discussion groups

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  • Private message to Nicole Miller

Love this approach! Teaches students how to interact respectfully in society!

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  • Private message to Lisa Zanetti

This was an excellent video of Ms. Chism teaching accountable talk in her classroom. She is teaching respect toward each other and while speaking. The interactions were accountable using a talking stem which gave them cues on how to interact, disagree and share with their classmates respectfully. Most of the students didn't use the talking stems, as they are comfortable and obviously they have practiced this. This approach and lesson can be used in many grade levels and should be. Teaching social graces, respect and positive interaction is a necessity in the classroom.

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  • Private message to Michael Stires

Establishing ground rules is vital on the first day and maintaining those boundaries hold the community to work together. Learning this concept of respect will only branch beyond the walls of the classroom. Setting the example while enforcing “Accountable Talk” conversations engages them to stay present while forming a routine of communication that can be utilized anywhere. Great video!

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  • Private message to Avery Baird

Setting the rules in the classroom first thing, allows the students to feel comfortable to say something but also know the expectations for respect in their answers or comments. The earlier students learn this concept of respect, the more likely they will continue to use that respect outside of the classroom. Having the students call each other by their names has them see each other as equals even when providing feedback in a positive way. 

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  • Respectful Talk Transcript

    [00:00:00;00] - [00:02:05;14]

    Student: I'd like to add on to this conversation and say...

    Sherwanda Chism: In this classroom, I

    Respectful Talk Transcript

    [00:00:00;00] - [00:02:05;14]

    Student: I'd like to add on to this conversation and say...

    Sherwanda Chism: In this classroom, I tell my students, you can say what you want to say as long as you say it respectfully. In a classroom, rapport is so important -- when I think the students know that I'm not going to attack them, so I respect them, so they respect me -- I think it's a dual thing.

    Sherwanda Chism (in class): Jocelyn, you have the floor.

    Student: I would like to add on to the conversation and say, "immigrants," because...

    Sherwanda Chism: I am big on them saying each other's names.

    Student: Rachel, what did you talk about in your groups?


    Student: In our group, we talked about how...

    Sherwanda Chism: Students called on each other because I think that's respect because that's one of the things I think about -- common core -- is that you're teaching them to be college career and life ready. Teaching them how to interact socially. They can't just say, "you! Hey, you!" They call each other by name.

    Student: Nakiya.

    Sherwanda Chism: I'm also providing accountable talk stems to teach children how to respectfully debate.

    Sherwanda Chism (in class): I want you to talk to the people in your group. So, I'm listening for accountable talk as well.

    Sherwanda Chism: On the children's tables, there is a card stock with stems and I call them, "accountable talk stems." And so students know that when they speak, they ought to use an accountable talk stem.

    Student: I agree and both disagree with Nakiya.

    Sherwanda Chism: You notice, they didn't necessarily pick these up because we've been using this. It's become a normal practice.

    Student: I disagree. I say you feel relieved because...

    Sherwanda Chism: We teach them to cherish their voice. And everybody has something to say. We can say it as long as we're not harming and as long as we're not hurting.



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School Details

Winridge Elementary School
3500 Ridgeway Road
Memphis TN 38115
Population: 515

Data Provided By:



Sherwanda Chism