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


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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?
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This is a very helpful technique and it’s eye opening since sometimes in class, I would just check out. Only when I knew I was in danger of being called on did I somewhat listen. Plus, I think repeating everything, especially by having the students try and explain, is important to see if they are paying any attention. Adding on is good to where it doesn’t put other students down while contributing another idea. As for the “I think alike” sign language movement, that is an interesting and helpful technique where when someone is talking and they agree, they show it silently rather than interrupt the speaker. All of these techniques are very interesting and seem very helpful in a classroom.
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It is very interesting technique, because pupils very often not keeping silent during the lesson especially when someone is answering. Using this technique is beneficial to every grade at school, especially asking passive pupil is very important. Passive pupils are always fly somewhere beside the class, it’s difficult to keep their concentration in the topic, however they could understand the topic even better and faster than the others... due to this technique pupils are improving critical thinking. It will be very useful for their future. Critical thinking will allow them to think outside of the box to extend your learning abilities, problem solving skills and will empower their knowledge and understanding to evaluate a statement or to articulate one.
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  • [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: 417

Data Provided By:



M. Lynn Simpson
5 / Teacher


Teaching Practice

Project-based Learning, PBL, Projects, Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement


Lesson Planning


Professional Learning


Next Generation Science Standards