Oral Language Strategies - Scholastic Education

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The placemat strategy enables students to record their thinking individually, ... The Inside-Outside Circle strategy offers opportunities for students to engage in ...

ORAL LANGUAGE STRATEGIES Placemat The placemat strategy enables students to record their thinking individually, to discuss the topic in an organized way, and then to use cooperative skills to come to consensus. Procedure: 1. Create small groupings of students (four students per group is optimal; however, if necessary groupings can consist of three, five or six students). 2. Provide students with a pre-made placemat or instruct students to draw the placemat formation on chart paper. Each student requires their own space for recording ideas. 3. Instruct students to individually think about a question/topic/prompt and to record their ideas in their own section of the placemat. 4. Have students take turns in sharing their ideas to discover common elements. 5. Tell students to come to consensus about the common elements and to record these in the middle section of the placemat. 6. Appoint one member to share the group’s ideas with the class.

Anticipation Guide This strategy allows students to discuss issues about a topic based on provided statements. Identify a major concept, issue, or event in a text for students to read about. Procedure 1. Write four to six statements on an Anticipation Guide graphic organizer. Choose statements that focus on important concepts raised in the text in order to encourage thought and discussion. These statements will challenge students’ beliefs and experiences about topics being studied. 2. Have students read and react to the statements by circling ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’ in the before reading column. 3. Pair students to discuss their opinions and reasons with a partner. They should discuss similarities and differences. 4. Have students read the text with the purpose of gathering information that confirms or contradicts their opinions. 5. After reading the text, review each statement. Ask students to confirm or revise their opinion adding any additional information from the text. 6. Have students share what they have learned.

Inside-Outside Circle The Inside-Outside Circle strategy offers opportunities for students to engage in discussions where they experience a variety of ideas and perspectives. Every student gets a chance to speak with, and listen to, different people. No time is spent waiting. It is an effective way to share learning in the content areas. Procedure: 1. Direct students to find a partner and number themselves One and Two. 2. Direct all Number Ones to stand in a circle facing out. Have Number Twos stand facing their partners. 3. Pose a question and have students think about the question for about 30 seconds. 4. Have Partner One share his/her answer or solution with Partner Two. When Partner One is finished he/she says, “Pass.” Partner Two paraphrases what Partner One said, and then adds his/her own response, which Partner One then paraphrases to complete the turn. 5. Rotate the outside circle one person to the left or right. 6. Either direct new partners to share responses or pose a new question. Repeat the process from steps four to six.

Value Line The Value Line strategy encourages students to offer opinions, listen to opposing views, keep an open mind, and make decisions. Procedure: 1. Draw a line on the floor using string or masking tape. 2. Make three labels ‘Strongly support’, ‘Strongly Oppose’, and ‘Not Sure’. Place the first two labels at either end of the line and ‘Not Sure’ at the middle. 3. Pose a question or issue for students to consider. 4. Have students reflect on the question or issue to determine ‘where they stand’ – strongly support, strongly oppose, or not sure. 5. Direct students to move to the appropriate place on the line and share their ideas with the others in their group. 6. Once the groups have had a chance to hear everyone’s views and reasons, have the student share with the other groups in a whole class discussion.

Say and Switch Say and Switch is a strategy in which partners take turns responding to a discussion question, switching roles at unpredictably signalled intervals. It is a useful strategy for reviewing and checking for understanding and ensures active participation. Procedure 1. Organize students into pairs. 2. Pose a discussion question. 3. The first partner begins to respond while the second carefully listens. 4. When a signal is given, the second person finishes the first person’s line of thought and then presents personal ideas. 5. Give further signals to indicate that partners need to change roles again. 6. Continue signalling at unpredictable intervals so that several switches take place during the allotted discussion time.

In Two Minds This strategy enables students to hear and compare other peoples’ viewpoints. Procedure 1. Each person writes and sketches key ideas under the heading ‘What’s on My Mind?’ on the In Two Minds BLM. 2. Have students join with a partner and share what’s on his/her mind, showing the partner any sketches to explain ideas. 3. Instruct the partner to orally summarize what was said and to jot key words and notes under the ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ section of the organizer. 4. Have partners reverse roles. 5. Tell partners to discuss any differences in viewpoints and the reasons for those differences.

Tea Party The Tea Party strategy encourages active participation. It allows students to predict what will happen next as they make inferences, identify and understand relationships, and practise sequencing. This pre-reading activity helps students activate their prior knowledge and engage with a text (see Beers, 2003, p. 94-101). The activity is like a tea party in that students talk in pairs, share information, and then circulate in the room discussing with others as they try to piece together a broader understanding of the subject or text. Procedure 1. Before the lesson, preview the text and select several interesting key phrases or sentences. Choose enough for half the class (for example, fourteen phrases for twenty-eight students). Writer the phrases in a


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list, make two copies, and cut the lists into strips, with one phrase recorded on each strip. In this way, each snippet will be considered by two students. Give one phrase to each student. Have students read the phrase and think about its meaning. For example, a student might connect a phrase to his or her own experiences (text-to-self); or connect with something he or she has read, seen, or heard (text-to-text); or relate the phrase to the community, current events, or the world (text-to-world). Direct students to find another student and share their phrases and the connections they identified. Have students continue to mingle and try to talk with 6-8 classmates. At a signal, have students create small groups of 3 or 4. Together the students put their clues together to make a gist statement or statements about the subject or text. Have each group share their predictions about the text and explain their thinking.

Questioning the Author Questioning the Author (Beers, 2003) is a strategy that promotes critical literacy skills for reading. This strategy encourages students to consider the author’s intent for the text and the author’s success communicating its meaning. Procedure 1. Have students work in small groups of up to 5 members. 2. Instruct students to read a selection from the text several paragraphs long. 3. Select questions from the following list for students to answer within their group. Choose questions suitable for the text being read and questions that will support the lesson’s objectives. Posing such questions will help students extend their thinking, develop their ideas, and sustain discussion: - What is the author’s intent? - What is the author talking about? - Does this make sense in light of what we already know? - How does this connect with what we have read before? - What does the author mean here? - Why is the author telling us this now? - Whose perspective is presented? - Whose voice is absent? - How is this writing making me feel and why? 4. Prepare a template for students to record their responses. The question

The author says

I say


Graffiti A Graffiti oral language strategy involves students brainstorming ideas, expressing their opinions and understanding about a topic, and making connections with their prior knowledge and experiences. Procedure 1. Prior to the lesson, determine the number of groups and then place the same number of pieces of chart paper at stations around the room. Title each page of chart paper to correspond to the assigned task. 2. Each group brainstorms and then records all they know about the topic. 3. After a short interval, give a signal and have groups rotate to the next piece of chart paper. 4. Continue rotating groups until each group has visited all stations. 5. Assign one group to each of the stations and have each group follow these steps. - Read the information on the chart. - Group related ideas. - Remove any duplicated ideas. - Reach an agreement about the main points that clearly represent the group’s thinking about the original question or statement. - Appoint a spokesperson to share the main points with the whole group.

Other Great Oral Language Strategies: Think-Pair-Share Think-Pair-Share is a strategy designed so that students can think and share ideas with a partner and helps encourage student participation. Procedure: 1. Pose a question or topic. 2. Allow time for students to think about the question or topic. 3. Have pairs of students exchange ideas. 4. Then have each pair share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Four Corners The Four Corners strategy provides opportunities for students to think about different points of view during discussions where they listen to others who express similar or different views. Procedure: 1. Create four labels that reflect differing viewpoints, for example, ‘Agree’, ‘Strongly Agree’, ‘Disagree’, and ‘Strongly Disagree’. 2. Place each label at one of the corners of the classroom. 3. Pose a question to the whole class and have students think of what their answer would be. 4. Invite each student to visit the corner that best reflects his or her opinion about the question. Have students share the reason for their view with others in their group. If the group is large it may be necessary to create smaller sub-groups to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. 5. Ask each group to reach a consensus about their response. 6. Have each group share their opinions with the rest of the class.