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Academic Conversations

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1 Academic Conversations

2 Brainstorm What types of conversations are most interesting to your students? How do they start? How are they maintained? If students were to have a “scholarly” conversation (i.e. classroom talk that fosters critical thinking and content understandings), what would you: see? hear? hope for?

3 What are Academic Conversations?
are sustained and purposeful conversations about school topics use core conversation skills: elaborate and clarify support ideas with examples build on and/or challenge a partner’s ideas paraphrase synthesize conversation points help students focus on and explore an important question, idea, or topic

4 Why Teach Conversation Skills
Why Teach Conversation Skills? Or what to say when the administrators want to know why your classroom is always so loud! Oral language is a cornerstone on which we build our literacy and learning throughout life. Warning: Just because students are talking does not mean that the interaction has any depth of thinking or negotiation of meaning.

5 Strategy: Quotation Cafe
Gives pairs a chance to predict, synthesize, and interpret Requires students to use academic terms to support their ideas •Set up: Choose important quotations from the text that students will read. Put them on separate paper strips or note cards. Distribute a quotation to each student. Show the title of the text, read the first part of the text aloud, and/or show an image or two from the text. Explain that the purpose of the activity is to form an idea of what the text will be about as they talk to different partners. Students circulate and find one partner at a time with whom to discuss each quotation and predict what the text will be about.

6 All Great Ideas Begin by Talking Out Loud:
Redesigning Classroom Conversations

7 What is an Academic Conversation?
An academic conversation goes beyond casual conversation. The goal is for the participants to reach a new understanding of a school topic through the use of specific conversational skills. Each partner must listen and speak, elaborate, clarify, challenge, paraphrase, and summarize what his/her partner says, and determine the outcome of the conversation. https://wisc.adobeconnect.com/_a /p2gavpn3fog/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal Webinar

8 Getting Started Effective conversations Both partners talk
Critical and creative thinking Welcome controversy and conflict Recognize and reduce ambiguity Follow norms Encourage thinking based on rules of the discipline Use opportunities for transfer of knowledge and skills Provide choice and ownership

9 Conversation Norms We listen to each other
We share our own ideas and explain them We respect another’s ideas, even if they are different We let others finish explaining an idea without interrupting We take turns and share air time

10 Elaborate and Clarify: Questions
Questions ask for specific information. Try these: Can you elaborate on…? What do you mean by…? Can you tell me more about…? What makes you think that? Can you clarify the part about …? Can you be more specific? How so? How/Why is that important? I wonder if …? I’m a little confused about the part…

11 Support Ideas with Examples: Teaching
The Hunt for Deep Ideas. What makes you stop & think? Write quotations on cards. Plan the conversation on an organizer Evaluate the support (quality) of examples on a continuum: Idea Example The Red Sox are a great team. They won the World Series eight times. (1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918,2004,2007, 2013) They have 74 players in the Hall of Fame. IDEA Weak support Med Support Strong support

12 Elaborate and Clarify: Frames by Grade Level 3-5
Questions Answers 3 What do you mean by…? Tell me more about…. Can you elaborate on…? I wonder how/if…. What makes you think that? Can you be more specific? How does that connect to…? Why is that important? I mean… By that I meant…. I think that… It’s similar to when… In other words… According to .… It’s important because… I believe that… 4-5 I’m confused about the part…. Can you clarify the part about…? According to… An analogy for this might be… More specifically, it is…because… Movements: move arms apart, point with hands together

13 Support Ideas with Examples
Questions Can you give me an example from the text? Can you show me where it says that? What is the evidence for that? Why do you say that? Like what? Answers For example, … In the text (on page..) it said … For instance, … According to… In this situation…

14 Synthesize Conversation Points
Questions What have we discussed so far? How can we bring this all together? What can we agree on? What are the main points? What was the original question? Answers So, you are saying that… Let me see if I understand you. In other words, … What I’m hearing is…

15 Build on &/or Challenge a Partner’s Ideas: Teaching
Read two texts, opposing views Two-minute Opinion Share Give the partners a controversial question. Assign one partner A, one B A gets 1 minute to defend her/her side of the question B must challenge A’s position Third minute is for consensus Build – and use – a set of norms

16 Build on and/or Challenge a Partner’s Ideas
Questions Can you add to that idea? Do you agree? How does that connect to…? What are some other ideas? Answers I want to add to your point that… Connecting to that, … Another way to look at that is… If __________, then __________. I wonder if….

17 Conversation Norms - Challenge
We listen to each other We share our own ideas and explain them We respect another’s ideas, even if they are different We respectfully disagree and try to see the other view We let others finish explaining an idea without interrupting We try to come to some agreement in the end We take turns and share air time

18 Opinion Continuum Jelly beans are better than M&Ms.
Yes No Students place their own personal arrow where their opinion falls.

19 Integrating Critical and Creative Thinking Strategies
Carol

20 Three types of argument: Social Arguments
It is not about whose viewpoint is “right” it is getting to deeper understandings with new and broader perspectives Three types of argument: Social Arguments Literacy Argument Nonfiction Topic Carol

21 Social Arguments Should chocolate milk be allowed in schools?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjxpeAom5HU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ4wGDl56Zg Should soda be sold in school vending machines? Carol

22 Literary Arguments Giving Tree – is tree weak or strong?
Children learn to be more nuanced Lead to deeper understandings of abstract ideas Example: Socratic Seminar, Carol

23 The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
In Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” is the poet ambivalent, self-assured, regretful, or adventuresome? How does this poem connect to the focus on increasing academic conversations in your school? The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that, the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Carol’s example Socratic Dialogue

24 Nonfiction Argument What they know comes from the text
Requires student to sort, weigh, and evaluate evidence Reasoning coupled with evidence Examples: Structured Academic Controversy, Debate Carol

25 Academic Controversy Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you? Walt Whitman, 1860 Darina Another instructional strategy that involves conversations around divergent ideas – Structure

26 Scaffolding Academic Controversy
It was the __________’s opinion that barbed wire led to _______. While ________ felt that barbed wire was _________, ________ felt that it ___________.. Darina Example from 7th grade Social Studies According to ______ barbed wire is _______ because____________.

27 Darina

28 Academic Controversy exists when one student’s idea, information, conclusions, theories, and opinions are incompatible with those of another, and the two seek to reach an agreement. (Johnson & Johnson, 1995) Aristotle called this deliberate discourse - the discussion of advantages and disadvantages of proposed actions aimed at synthesizing novel solutions. Darina So take a look at this quote and how might it relate to the previous examples – The Walt Whitman quote Pictures of the use of barbed wire How, in structuring and scaffolding conversation, has student knowledge and learning been impacted? Both examples show perspectives and controversies…

29 Student Talk vs. Teacher Talk
ACADEMIC CONVERSATIONS TRADITIONAL CLASS DISCUSSIONS 97% student talk 97% teacher talk Average student response – 8-12 seconds Average student response – 2-3 seconds No teacher approval or disapproval Teacher judgment; emphasis on correctness Thinking is paramount, backed up with textual evidence Rightness is paramount; thinking ends when someone is right Students listen primarily to peers Students listen primarily to teacher Student ownership for “flow” Teacher ownership for “flow” Karen Take a look at this data comparing the traditional format for teacher led classes and discussions vs. teacher facilitating student conversation.??? Think of the teachers in your school – which do you see as academic v. traditional

30 Student Talk vs. Teacher Talk
ACADEMIC CONVERSATIONS TRADITIONAL CLASS DISCUSSIONS 97% student talk 97% teacher talk Average student response – 8-12 seconds Average student response – 2-3 seconds No teacher approval or disapproval Teacher judgment; emphasis on correctness Thinking is paramount, backed up with textual evidence Rightness is paramount; thinking ends when someone is right Students listen primarily to peers Students listen primarily to teacher Student ownership for “flow” Teacher ownership for “flow” Karen Take a look at this data comparing the traditional format for teacher led classes and discussions vs. teacher facilitating student conversation.??? Think of the teachers in your school – which do you see as academic v. traditional

31 Academic Conversation
Journey to Student Driven Academic Conversation 4 Leadership 3 Listening Learn how to share leadership with the teacher. Learn how to lead the group. 2 Cooperation 1 Participation Work together to listen to each other and the text. Examine their assumptions and perspectives and how they differ from those of the text and one another. Begin to change their opinions because of what others say. Become aware of problems like factions and dominance. Work together to enable all members to speak. Karen Learn to speak to each other with minimal mediation by facilitator. Learn discussion skills Invest in process through sharing experience.

32 How might I apply this information in my school?
Karen How might I apply this information in my school? What resources and support might I need? What professional development might my teachers need? Who at my school can help lead the way?

33 Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up What is the purpose of using academic conversations? Describe how you could support moving from talk to discourse in your building. Conversation prompts: Can you elaborate on that? Please give an example. I was wondering what you meant by… To build on what you said… Karen – Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair up Conversation starters: I would ____ in order to ______. If ___, I would use _____.

34 To succeed in life, students should be able to write and speak with clarity, and to read and listen with comprehension. Language and thought are inextricably connected, and as students develop their linguistic skills, they hone the quality of their thinking and become intellectually and socially empowered. - Ernest Boyer, Carnegie Foundation Carol

35 Deepen the Practice Students take on more responsibility to deepen the conversations: Whole Brain Teaching: Teach/OK Pairs invite singletons to join them Pairs change If one pair member won’t talk, other member may join another pair Each pair monitors itself – point value (eventually) Baseline and improvement data Students monitor conversations with checklists Recognition for great conversations

36 Watch for: Disputes Accumulation “The Red Sox are a great team.”
Which skills could move this conversation forward? “The Red Sox are a great team.” “The Yankees are better.” “The Red Sox by far.” “You don’t know anything.” Accumulation and then…and then… and then… Information is added, but there is no critical questioning

37 Watch for: Procedural talk
Which skills could move this conversation forward? Students talk about what they should be doing or discussing, who should be next, etc. rather than exploring the topic.

38 Big Idea: Collaborative academic conversations empower students to communicate well in a variety of situations. Essential Questions: What 21st century collaboration skills are needed to sustain purposeful conversations and to enable students to be successful members of society? How do we move students beyond “talk” to academic conversations? How do conversation skills transfer to academic reading and writing in all content areas? How can academic conversations demonstrate Depth of Knowledge? (3 minutes)

39 Speaking and Listening Anchor Standards
Comprehension and Collaboration Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

40 5 Core Conversation Skills Structured Interactions of “Collaboration”
Independent Academic Conversations Elaborate & Clarify Paraphrase Support Ideas with Evidence Build on and/or challenge partner’s ideas Synthesize 5 Core Conversation Skills Kagan/Cooperative Learning SIOP Strategies Pair Share Save the Last Word Take a Side Conversation Lines and Circles Structured Interactions of “Collaboration” Individual Seat Work

41 Directions for Interview Grid— Example of a Structured Interaction
Walk around the room interviewing three other people using the questions on the grid. Have them explain their answers. Paraphrase the responses you hear and record it on the grid. (1 minute)

42 Interview Grid Name What is one thing you would never do and why?
What is one thing you would never do and why? If you could change one thing in your life what would it be and why?  When you think back on your summer vacation, what one thing still makes you smile and why?

43 Debrief discussion Did you use the skills?
How did your discussion include the 5 Core Conversation Skills? Elaborate & Clarify Paraphrase Support Ideas with Evidence Build on and/or challenge partner’s ideas Synthesize Brainstorm individually on the back side of the interview form, then share with your elbow partner. After 4 minutes selected participants will be asked to summarize. Which skills did they use to get their partners to explain their answers.

44 Why do we need students to have academic conversations?
We are not going to answer the second question yet, but we are going to acknowledge these are the questions they will be having. How do we have time for academic conversations with everything else we need to do in our classrooms?

45 How would our students respond to this question
How would our students respond to this question? Are our students prepared to answer this questions? Lead into next slide.

46 Assessment Informal: ask students how many skills they used
More formal: Skill checklist on clipboard Teacher roams, checks some or all conversations One student listens and checks 2 talkers. Rotate. (Who checks the checker?)

47 “Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century.” National Research Council, 2012

48 If these are the skills, how do we currently meet the demands of the 21st Century? Turn and talk
TURN AND TALK…call on a few volunteers to share

49 How does engaging in productive academic conversations meet the demands of the 21st Century?
As you are categorizing the benefits of Academic Conversations, we argue that one way to meet these demands that are being asked from employers and universities is through productive Academic Conversations. The work of Jeff Zweirs from Stanford University is guiding our work on Academic Conversations, where talks about the benefits of Academic Conversations. As you work on the sorts with your groups, talk about how AC meets the demands As a group, sort the advantages of academic conversation into categories.

50 1. Language and Literacy Advantages
Conversation builds: academic language vocabulary literacy skills communication skills Each also meets the Theoretical Framework categories and 21st Century Skills Academic language: People learn language as they are exposed to it and use it in real situations. Listening, talking, and negotiating meaning are crucial for language development. Conversations allow students to practice these skills. As students learn and begin to use new vocabulary and language they negotiate meaning and refine their conversations to make them better and more clear. Vocabulary is best learned when using it in authentic conversations. Using vocabulary in speaking and writing increases students’ long-term knowledge of the vocabulary. During conversations, people adjust their understanding of vocabulary based on experiences and knowledge learned form others. Literacy skills: Oral language is the foundation for reading and writing. Conversations build oral language. Conversations give students the opportunity to share and refine their ideas. Many reading skills, predicting, summarizing, clarifying, interpreting, and making inferences, are practiced through conversations. Oral language and communication skills: “The ability to listen, express, and build meaning with others form a cornerstone for learning.” Many students are not exposed to oral academic language at home so they need more practice and exposure in school. Students also need to be taught communication skills that are used daily, such as argumentation skills, group discussion skills, listening skills, and valuing talk and clarity.

51 2. Cognitive Advantages Conversation: builds critical thinking skills
promotes different perspectives and empathy fosters creativity fosters skills for negotiating meaning Each also meets the Theoretical Framework categories and 21st Century Skills Conversation Builds Critical Thinking Skills (COG) In order to be CCR, students can’t just be consumers of facts whose sole purpose is to raise test scores Academic conversations help them to develop their intellectual agility, or their ability to think on their feet in “real-time” Academic agility allows them to quickly process and respond to unanticipated comments while examining, scrutinizing, validating, and shaping the ideas being discussed Thinking about facts and communicating about them, allows the information to be learned in lasting ways Real time cognitive agility is vital for future success Conversation Promotes Different Perspectives and Empathy (COG) Conversation encourages students to get to know one another and exposes them to a range of opinions, ideas, and worldviews All of our important ideas are unfinished, and constantly being revised as a result of our experiences and interactions with others Productive conversation requires that the participants be interested and respectful of different perspectives Conversation gives students practice in thinking about their partner’s needs, wants, values, and feelings which is a real-life skill needed to solve many social and political problems they may face in the future Fosters creativity: The stages of creativity include defining the issue and brainstorming the possible solutions. Negotiating meaning: Negotiating meaning by comprehension checking, “Is that clear?” and paraphrasing, “Are you saying that…?” Focusing on a topic: We are competing for the students attention. Conversation helps builds focusing stamina.

52 3. Content Learning Advantages
Conversation: cultivates connections helps students co-construct understandings helps teachers assess learning Each also meets the Theoretical Framework categories and 21st Century Skills Conversation Build Content Understandings When students have an opportunity to talk about what they are learning it helps them remember and have a better understanding of the content they have learned. Rather receiving information, true knowledge and understanding is derived when there’s an opportunity to think about what you have heard by talking about it, organizing it or selecting an idea that needs clarifying. When students discuss what they are learning it is the mixing of ideas that increases ones knowledge. Rather than just repeating facts, students who listen to other points of view will walk away with a clearer understanding of the ideas of others and their own. Knowledge gained through this process deepens understanding and supports retention of information because of the ownership of information that is taking place. An example of this is when you have to teach something. Having to explain something forces you to look at different aspects of the concept which brings about new knowledge. Conversation Cultivates Connections When teaching is disjointed, such as teaching to raise test scores, students don’t have a way to connect the information. In order for learning to occur it needs to be meaningful, coherent, deep and connected. Through conversation, students have lasting memory of the information, which they can build on. This supports them in their ability to make connections to real life applications, be creative and practice with problem solving. Conversations Helps Students to Co-Construct Understandings (CON) When students shape knowledge, they are more likely to own it.         Ex: When you paint a picture you remember the details better than if you were told the facts about it. Conversations help build a rich foundation of shared backgrounds and experiences upon which to build new knowledge. “Education with inert ideas is not only useless; it is above all things, harmful.” (Alfred North Whitehead, 1939) Conversations Helps Teachers and Students Assess Learning (CON) Through conversations, teachers can assess students’ learning and get insight into their thinking Conversations  also allow students to show what they’ve learned, what they are able to do, and what they still need to learn.

53 4. Social and Cultural Advantages
Conversation: builds relationships makes lessons more culturally relevant fosters equity Each also meets the Theoretical Framework categories and 21st Century Skills Conversation Builds Relationships The experience of getting to know another student’s thoughts and views can provide an entry point into new friendships and a way to clear away obstacles to a positive relationship. Advantages: Conversations give practice in caring about a person’s ideas and thoughts. When a partner cares, it makes the recipient feel valued and cared for.(Builds friendships and breaks down barriers and encourages students to go outside their comfort zone) Conversation Builds Academic Ambience Once students are encouraged to converse about the content of their lesson, their entire school experience becomes more integrated. School becomes a place of continual learning. Conversation Makes Lessons More Culturally Relevant Culture has a powerful influence on shaping language, learning, and thinking in society. A cultural lens encourages us all to place a high priority on understanding how students think, learn and communicate in order to develop academic skills and content.( Example: At home a child might not hear extensive use of examples to support ideas but at school he/she might be expected to use examples to support ideas. Conversation Fosters Equity Conversations in school can increase students’ exposure to the language and thinking of texts. Teach students to use language because it is free to use.

54 5. Psychological Advantages
Conversation: fosters engagement and motivation builds confidence and academic identity builds student voice and empowerment Each also meets the Theoretical Framework categories and 21st Century Skills Develops inner dialogue and self-talk: Our internal dialogue is our thinking process. We often map out conversations in our head before or during conversations with others. When learning a foreign language, we realize that we’re learning the language when some of our thoughts start coming in the new language. Inner dialogue must be promoted in order to cultivate thinking skills and conceptual understanding. This is where ideas and perspectives are formed first. Fosters engagement and motivation through the process of talking with peers. It is through conversation that people get to know each other, take sides, persuade others to take their side, and learn more from others. When students are truly engaged in a conversation it intrinsically motivates learning and energizes them through sharing out their thoughts. Builds confidence and academic identity just by being truly listened to and listening to others. Students need to be trained to show they are listening. You, as the teacher and facilitator, can do this by saying to a student “I didn’t see that point. Thank you for bringing it up.” “That was an awesome idea. Let’s write it down.” Fosters choice, ownership and control: through conversation, students can gather ideas from their own experiences and backgrounds to connect to the topic. It increases confidence in communicating and thinking. It encourages students to “collaboratively wrestle with ideas”. Builds academic identity: the more students converse in an academic setting, the more confident they feel about their learning. Builds self-confidence. Fosters self-discovery: through conversations, students can discover interests, new perspectives and opinions, and even uncover talents. They can clarify existing interests, perspectives, and opinions. Sometimes students need to talk about something to realize they want to know more or to develop a passion for a subject or topic. Builds student voice and empowerment: when students generate ideas, themes, questions and connections through conversation it creates the launching pad for bigger ideas to evolve such as debates, persuasive or argumentative letters to your senator, participating in school board or city council meetings, etc.

55 Pick a Content Area Connect with your own teaching partners
Decide how you will apply one or more of these skills IT IS OK TO TAKE IT SLOW Try one skill at a time Stick with it for awhile until if feels natural There is no hurry, there’s just taking the next step Thank you for your time today!

56 What are collaborative academic conversations?
“Academic conversations are back and forth dialogues in which students focus on a topic and explore it by building, challenging, and negotiating relevant ideas. They push students to think and learn in lasting ways.” Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford Academic Conversations Make the connection for teachers with the title of our module: academic conversations need to be taking place in class. This requires collaboration with others whether it be one other person, small group, or whole group. (2 minutes)

57 CCSS. ELA-Literacy. CCRA. SL
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Remind teachers that the standards state that conversations should be taking place in a variety of situations…partners, small groups, class discussions. The video we will be watching is an example of students engaging in a whole class discussion

58 Establishing Norms for Collaborative Academic Conversations
Listen to others attentively 2. In order for students to be successful with the five core skills, there needs to be norms set in the classroom. These norms should be in accordance with school and department rules. *Start them off with 1 example norm then have teachers discuss and write other norms they think should be included. (3 minutes) *Have teachers share out possible norms. Chart these for teachers to have as a list of norms to choose from when they create their class norms. (5 minutes) Now, brainstorm (by yourself or with a course alike partner) some of the norms to promote effective academic conversations in your classroom. Consider incorporating schoolwide norms as well.

59 Between now and then… Be prepared to share:
Create norms for Collaborative Academic Conversations with your students Provide time for students to practice these norms in a collaborative setting (pairs, trios, groups, class discussions…) Be prepared to share: What have been the positives with establishing and maintaining norms in your classroom? What have been the challenges? What changes still need to be made?

60 Next Steps Application of Five Core Skills
Connecting to Theoretical Framework & Academic Language Creating Conversational Prompts

61 Academic Conversation Skills Placemat
x Karen © Jeff Zwiers

62


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