Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Chalk Talk"

So...I went to an ESL Workshop this summer. Learned a cool technique called "Chalk Talk" (although the term is a bit outdated; I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions??). The basic premise is that students answer a question written on the board, in our case, or a biiiig piece of paper, which we'll use for future "talking." Students answer the question, respond to each other, ask each other questions, and...bang! You have a very interactive and engaged group of students! They're not allowed to talk, only write. They can't be interrupted, because...well, they're writing. They aren't put on the spot, because they have time to think about what they want to write/how they want to write it.

Here are some pics from our 5th grade trial run. (We used an easy question for this first one to get used to the format. We'll use this many more times this year...)

The starting question.

Students writing, reading, responding, questioning, thinking...
The end result!
The girls started this discussion--shopping! 
Of course, we had a conversation about soccer!
We even talked about sleep! Really?? :)
Hope you enjoyed the "Chalk Talk" as much as we did! And if you have any new name suggestions, let me know!


  1. A.W.E.S.O.M.E. IDEA!!!! Love it, love it, love it.... Name suggestions...Hmm.. I have a couple.
    1. Marker chat:)
    2. Board meeting (if you do it on the white board)

    I'll let you know if I think of anything else:)

  2. Katie Brooks said:

    I LOVE this post. Thanks for sending it to me :)

    Maybe a better name would be board blogging or chalk chat. It sounds closer to their more technological ways of communicating.

  3. I asked the kids what they thought a better name would be. A good handful (...5 or so) of them suggested "Texting." How interesting! I would not have thought of it this way (I don't really think of it that way even now, but...), but that's what they know and that's what it reminded them of. Katie, I love "Board Blogging." That's exactly what it feels like--blogging. Lena, "Board Meeting" sounds so official. Professional. How cool would that be to say, "Let the Board Meeting begin!" :)

    Thanks for your suggestions!