Sentence Stems and Question Starters
I love sentence stems and question starters. The number of awkward ah...um....err...uh.... comments I get has drastically decreased after I modeled how to participate in discussions. I have posted anchor charts like these ones:
for math, science and reading. Students are expected to answer in complete sentences and listen to one another, providing thoughtful comments and feedback. Since listening and speaking are part of our standards, I figured teaching how to communicate in whole and small groups was a good idea. Our classroom can run like a mini Socratic seminar at times and I wanted to make sure my students left for middle school knowing how to appropriately participate in discussions and thoughtfully respond to peers or prompts either orally or in a written format. Plus, with modeling, their answers got WAY better, which only helps in constructed responses :) Winning all around!