Series Engaging ELLs in Academic Conversations: Talk Moves in Academic Discussions

Talk Moves in Academic Discussions

Lesson Objective: Listen to others and respond appropriately
All Grades / All Subjects / Participation


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. What are the different talk moves that Ms. Groves describes?
  2. Why are talk moves helpful to use with English Language Learners?
  3. How could you adapt these talk moves for use in your classroom?


  • Private message to riiupw afrass

Nice strategy for those who have problems with academic language learning. You can engage with other students at higher levels, and add to other ideas in agreement or disagreement. That is very helpful. Actually, I would lie to say that there are many useful sources and strategies to help people study and develop. Now I speak about fast cheap essay writing service. It is also a helpful tip to gain new knowledge. Ordering essays from professionals at you learn how to write them correctly with high quality. And I think that`s great!

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  • Private message to Taylor Bacon

"Talk Moves" is such an important skill for students to have in their toolbox! This teacher is provided perfect scaffolding for her student to develop the building blocks needed to engage in a meaningful academic discussion. I like how she used small group discussion before throwing them into a whole-class discussion that might put too much pressure on some students. I also think projecting the "starters" on the board was really helpful and you could tell her students were refernecing it throughout the class. Overall a great strategy!

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  • Private message to Mary Silva

Mrs. Groves describes talk moves such as statements that say I agree with what you said, I want to add on to what  blank person said and I want to disagree or agree with what others have said. I feel that talk moves are very helpful with ELL because students engage with each other at higher levels, they add to others ideas in agreement or disagreement. It also helps and engages students in academic language learning. As a CTE teacher I feel these talk moves are an excellent way to get students to engage with each other, good starting point for students unsure of what to say and also lets students know it is ok to make mistakes, we also learn how to fix our mistakes. Teaches students to start academic converstations, and continue to learn more, to agree or disagree and therefore broaden their vocabulary.                                                                                        Thank you, Mary L. Silva 02/18/2020


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  • Private message to Karen Carlson
This type of discussion allows even the more introverted student to feel some sense of confidence when preparing to add to the discussion.
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  • Private message to Judy Mrecieca
The Talk Moves that Ms. Groves describes are to add on, to agree or disagree, to restate the comment all offer students a starting point for participating in the discussion. The different Talk Moves give students choices about what and how they will respond. The partial script is just formal enough to give students confidence to begin. This strategy offers students opportunities to hear and produce language and the continual practice reinforces language as well as ideas. I could adapt Talk Moves for my class by asking students to include specific elements of the text into their responses,
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  • Talk Moves in Academic Discussions Transcript

    +++ 00:00:04 +++
    Tamica Groves: When you're having a conversation, you're going to share your

    Talk Moves in Academic Discussions Transcript

    +++ 00:00:04 +++
    Tamica Groves: When you're having a conversation, you're going to share your answers.
    8th Grade English Language Development Class
    Tamica Groves: But you're not only going to share your answers. You're going to respond to what other people say.
    Tamica Groves: We've looked at Talk Moves quite a few times and clarifying questions.
    Talk Moves in
    Academic Discussions
    A Classroom Strategy
    Lower Third
    Tamica Groves
    8th Grade English Teacher
    Westlake Middle School, Oakland, CA
    Tamica Groves: It's about learning how to participate in an academic discussion, learning how to listen to what other people are saying and respond appropriately.
    Tamica Groves: What's the first Talk Move?
    Student: I agree with what blank said because...
    Discussion 'Talk Moves'
    I agree with what ______ said, because...
    I want to add on to what ______ said. I think that...

    +++ 00:00:37 +++
    Tamica Groves: So you can agree, say, "Oh, I said the same thing as Diana. I agree with what Diana said because that was crazy when that happened." Jei-Lin, how about the second one?
    Student: I want to add on to what blank said. I think that...
    Tamica Groves: I would love to hear you adding on to people's ideas. I'll read a couple more.
    I disagree with _______ because...
    I have a connection to what _____ said...
    Can you explain your thinking?
    Tamica Groves: You can disagree with someone, you can make a connection to what someone said. You can ask someone to explain their thinking. Or you can even say, "Can you repeat that? I couldn't understand you."

    +++ 00:01:09 +++
    Tamica Groves: I feel like they give them a good starting point. So for the students who aren't sure of what they want to say or how they want to get their ideas out, they at least have a point and some choices that can lead them into what they want to say.
    Student: The most thing are interesting and unbelievable is Siddhartha talked and walked when he is a baby, because I never see a baby talk and walk like this.
    Student: I got the same answer.
    Tamica Groves: Okay, so what about if you look up here at the Talk Moves. Would you say that again, using that top one?

    +++ 00:01:39 +++
    Student: I have a connection to what she said, Diana.
    Tamica Groves: Better.
    Tamica Groves: My role is to be explicit in what I'm asking them to do and also modeling ways to improve the discussion.
    Tamica Groves: I like that everyone's sharing their ideas, but make sure like how Michael responded to someone else, I want to hear Talk Moves too, okay?
    Tamica Groves: Part of it's having the confidence that it's okay if they mess up, having the starters up there, so they have something to kind of lean on and a crutch.

    +++ 00:02:10 +++
    Student: I agree with what Debin say, because he want have a better life than he being spoiled.
    Tamica Groves: I want them to get to a point where their conversation is more authentic and where they're engaging with each other at higher levels.
    Tamica Groves: Perfect.

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School Details

Westlake Middle School
2629 Harrison Street
Oakland CA 94612
Population: 455

Data Provided By:



Tamica Groves


Lesson Idea

Structure, Lesson Planning, Student Engagement

Lesson Idea

Modeling, Discourse, Discussion

Lesson Idea

Classroom Management, Routines


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