Today I’m continuing the Professional Development series about how principals, school leaders, and teachers can implement thinking routines in schools. This article outlines how educators can use the Chalk TalkThinking Routine to engage students in visible thinking.
To learn more about how I got started using Making Thinking Visible, read the first article in this professional development series.
Thinking Routine of the Month: Chalk Talk
This month’s post highlights the Chalk Talk thinking routine. With the Chalk Talk protocol students are asked to think about ideas presented to them, make connections to others' responses and then question the ideas and responses of their peers. It is an excellent way of having silent “conversation” — and it allows all learners to be part of the conversation anonymously. Students are not asked to sign their name to their comments in order to encourage risk-taking in their thinking. It is great for increasing comprehension of a topic by having students present ideas, question those ideas, and then build upon the ideas of others. I always enjoy seeing which students change or expand their thinking after seeing their classmates' ideas.
Introducing the Chalk Talk Thinking Routine to Students
This is how the Chalk Talk protocol works:
Write a topic or question on a piece of poster paper and hang it up for the class to see.
Tell your students to write down any ideas that come to mind when they consider this idea, question, or problem.
Ask your students if they can make any connections to others' responses. Have them add these connections to the chart.
Then have the students add to the chart any questions that come up as they think about the ideas and consider their classmates’ responses and comments.
The Chalk Talk thinking routine can be used in almost any subject area, and on a wide variety of topics. It can be used prior to covering a topic or as a reflection at the end of a lesson or unit. If time permits, it is always interesting to implement the Chalk Talk protocol after reading a persuasive article as a way to see if students’ thinking has changed or expanded even further.
A Printable Graphic Organizer
The Chalk Talk Thinking RoutineGraphic Organizer is available for download. You can use this graphic organizer in several different ways. I made the Chalk Talk Thinking RoutineGraphic Organizer into a poster and laminated it so I would be able to use it throughout the year with my students, writing on it with dry-erase markers. You can also make copies of the graphic organizer to give to students as a note-taking sheet where they can capture their ideas before writing them on the class poster. No matter how you decide to use the graphic organizer, it is a great way to get students thinking.