Elementary Science

Navigating Discussion and Creating Appropriate Questions

I am currently in a Teaching Science class working on getting my degree to become an elementary educator. My question has to do with discussion based learning and having students learn by conducting their own experiments and evaluating their own work. I am wondering, as a teacher how you navigate discussion so that the students come out learning what you want them to know? How do you steer students away from wrong explanations without flat our telling them they are wrong? Is there a method or research on how to create such questions during discussion?

Jillian Blanc
Jillian Blanc
195 Activity Points

Jillian, I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa and enrolled in a Science Methods course. From what I have learned it is important for us, as teachers, to be asking productive questions. These types of questions are person centered. This means that students can respond to the question without a fear of being wrong or being judged on their response. This means that when they do resond and their explanation may not be quite on the right track, you can then probe the student and ask them more questions about their explanation. This may steer them in the right direction, and for them to think critically about their own response, and they may then decide to shift their thinking and change their resonse a bit. 

Kennedy Kraus
Kennedy Kraus
2515 Activity Points

Jillian,

 

I am in a methods class for teaching science and we just learned about ways to facilitate learnings and thinking. We watched a video where a teacher was talking with her class about light and how we see things. Some students were stating that the light hits their eyes and thats how they could see, while others were stating that light hits the object and thats how we can see things. Before learning the "Talk Moves" today, I think I would have tried my best to explain the real reason, rather than letting the students have a debate about their thinkings and giving the reasons why. "Talk moves" are ways in which we, as teachers, can facilitate learning and steer the students' thinking in a productive way to get the end result we want for them. There are questions that can be asked to help students understand one another and to get them thinking for themselves. A method I picked up the most was being engaged with what the students are saying, clarifying what they are saying and asking them what they think personally. "What do you think about..." questions are common questions that are person related and gets the students to think on their own. 

 

Good luck,

Jessica

Jessica Fountain
Jessica Fountain
2880 Activity Points

Jillian, 

 I am in a science methods course at the moment and we are discussing discussion based learning right now in class. One thing that I have taken a way that seems to steer students in the right direction for their thinking process is to have them use evidence to try and explain their reasoning.  This will ensure that students have information that is accurate and will let them discuss with their classmates what they believe to be the correct answer or solution for whatever problem they are working on at the moment. By giving students information to help them along this process, it allows them to look at facts to ultimatemately determine what the “correct” answer is. Hope this helped. 

Stephanie Kohls
Stephanie Kohls
2025 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also in a Science Methods course, and I have learned that it is okay if students get off course as long as they are still learning. In my class, we are currently in a "what makes things float" unit. We get to act as the students that we will one day teach by seeing different phenomena (seeing a grape sink and a watermelon float for example) and coming up with different ideas as to how the phenomena is happening. If you are really wanting them to stay on a central idea however, come up with a specific guiding question for them to discuss. Hope this helps!

Makayla Bauer
Makayla Bauer
2515 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, my name is Macie. I am currently a senior at UNI I am also taking a sciecne methods class right now. Something we talked about today in class was called "talk moves" I really liked all the ideas that we talked about with these talk moves. We were able to watch some videos to demonstrate these in a classroom. One that I really liked was repeting the students thought or question. This really helps to clarify it to yourself and to other students in the class. Another talk move is adding on. This one is another great one, because instead of saying that a student is on to a right thought or not you can add on to their thinking and try to steer them into a better direction or into the same direction they are going. Another talk move was agree or disagree and why. This one is also a great one to include with students and it is important to agree or disagree politely so using evidence and teaching students that you can disagree with someone but show them or tell them why. The last talk move is wait time. I like this one because it allows the students and even the teacher to wait and really think about his or her answer or question. Instead of answering or speaking right away and not having the time to organize your thoughts, students can take time they need to think about the questions.

Macie Ault
Macie Ault
3360 Activity Points

One helpful way I have learned to navigate discussion is to go into the discussion knowing what I what them to learn and how I want them to answer. I think through the questions I ask my students before actually asking them so I can be specific in how I word them and how I guide them throughout the lesson. Being intentional in our wording is a great way to navigate discussion as teachers. The Socratic Method is an effective tool in steering students away from wrong explanations. The Socratic Method involves answering student questions with questions that will guide them toward the correct way of thinking. This also effective because the teacher does not provide the correct answer but rather allows the students to uncover the knowledge for themselves. When developing questions, keep in mind Bloom's Taxonomy and gear your questions toward the top tiers of learning. Know what level of the taxonomy you are gearing your questions toward and be purposeful in your questions. Discussion based learning and hands-on learning can take a lot of effort but it is so worth it for our students!

Mallary Erbes
Mallary Erbes
90 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also a student at the University of Northern Iowa in a science methods class. I think that allowing students to have meaningful discussion can naturally help students steer away from wrong explanations if given enough time. Encouraging and continuing prompting and questioning are ways to allow students to continue discussion and make them think deeply about a concept or idea. One way to help students have a good discussion can include prompts such as encouraging students to speak using terms such as “I think,” “I feel,” or “I wonder.” Other students can then agree or disagree with what one student has said. This allows students to explain their reasoning, but it also gives opportunities for other students to expand on their thinking.

Catherine Moeller
Catherine Moeller
2740 Activity Points

Hello!


I am also currently in a Teaching Science class and I'm learning about discussion based learning. This week, we have read a lot and watched a few videos over how to formulate discussion with your students in your classroom. Before anything, it is important to first explain to your students how you want discussions to run and how they should look like. This will give them a chance to practice and figure it out themselves so it becomes natural to them. Of course, you want your students to be respectful to everyone that shares their thoughts. As the teacher, you should then be giving feedback. It is important to not tell your students that they are right or wrong,  but to ask more questions and ask them to explain their answer. In the video we watched in class, the students needed to be listening at all times so they could ask the student who answered to restate what they just said. From there, they should then follow up with their own thoughts. Another component of the video was showing a “I agree” sign to the student. When a student said something, other students would hold up this sign. This was a way for the students to feel good about answering and how they answered. By asking your students to recite and explain what they said, you are checking for understanding in an engaging way.

 

 

Brittany Hammes
Brittany Hammes
2665 Activity Points

I am currently enrolled in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. Based on what we have been talking about in class, I think the best way to have a discussion about complex topics is to demonstrate how to use evidence. Many times if the students know and understand how to analyze and interpret evidence then they should be able to back up their claims through their own experiments. I also think that having them test and retest their hypothesis is a great way for them to come to conclusions because an experiment may not have gone as planned on the first try or they may have not achieved the intended outcome. Instead of telling them if they are right or wrong pose questions that make them think about holes in their own thinking.

Mason Foster
Mason Foster
3015 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) studying to become a teacher. As I am taking courses to prepare me for teaching, I am participating in a science class that teaches us how to teach elementary students science. We have been working on using the 5E's for lesson planning (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). Right now we are in the Explain part where we are actually talking about classroom discussion and how to navigate a discussion that engages all students. The first part in creating a good discussion from your students is to make sure that your classroom is a safe place and the students are able to voice their opinion without getting put down. The next step is for the teacher to make sure that the questions he/she is asking are not yes or no questions or ones that only have one answer. You want to make sure your questions are open-ended so students can think deeply and gather many different ideas to the question being asked. Along with asking open-ended questions you want the questions to be student-centered meaning the question will engage all the students in their thinking and ideas. I believe that these steps are the most important steps in having good classroom discussion. Another idea that I really enjoyed learning about and one that I personally use when being in the field is asking the student to tell you more about that, you want your students to not stop with their answer they give you but rather ask them to explain their thinking and ideas more deeply. Make sure your questions are effective and open-ended and let students voice their opinion. Hopefully this helps you in your own teaching :)

 

Arianna Knutson

Arianna Knutson
Arianna Knutson
2610 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, 

I am a student at UNI and we have been learning different ways to get students interacting with each other and having productive converstation over topics in the classroom. I think that the first point is to allow the kids to feel free in expressing their ideas and finding freely without the fear that they will be wrong. Instead we can guide them a certain direction without telling them they are wrong. As teachers we can ask questions about their finding and put in questions that may not have to do with what they say but it will get them thinking in a different direction. Also, if they are starting to flow down the wrong path, we can ask what kind of evidence they have to back up their claim. Now, if we only ask for evidence when they are not giving the correct answer, they will start to pick up on that and understand what you mean, so it is important to have give the direction of having evidence before the discussions even start. Once the answers are starting to be given, we should ask all what supportive evidance is there that backs up their claim. 

Camie Crawford
Camie Crawford
2830 Activity Points

Hello, I am currently taking the Methods of Teaching Science Course at UNI.  We recently talked about "Talk Moves" that teachers can use during discussion.  You bring about a good question on how to steer children away from wrong explanations without telling them straight out that it's wrong.  One Talk Move we learned about is the "Agree/disagree" talk move.  During discussion a student may bring something up in which they have some misonception going on.  Instead of flat out telling them that they're wrong you can actually ask if other students agree or disagree with what was just mentioned.  Students are then challenged to back up their claims with reasons either supporting what was said or not supporting.  Then this same student may say the reasoning behind why his claim isn't correct through other student's reasonings.  Because then as teachers we can come back to this same student and see if he agrees or disagrees with what others may have said and the reason why.  This would help the teacher maybe to explain the concept better as well without directly telling him. 

Shenay Damirgi
Shenay Damirgi
3310 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, I am currently enrolled in a teaching elementary school science course at the University of Northern Iowa. I recently just learned about talk moves, which are strategic teacher moves designed to open up the converstaion and support student participation, explination, and reasoning. There are four goals that are critical in promoting discussion that leads to greater learning. One goal is to help individual students share, expand, and clarify their own thoughts. A student has to share their own thoughts and responses out loud in a way that is understandable to others. Teachers can also help students listen carefully to one another. Students need to listen to others and try to understand them in order to contribute to the discussion. Another goal is to help students deepen their reasoning. A key role of the teacher is to continuously and skillfully press the students for reasoning and evidence. The last goal is to help students engage with others reasoning. The students will take the ideas and reasoning of other students and respond to them. This is when the discussion can take off and become exhiliarting for the students and teachers. I hope this information will help you in your future classroom for dicussions. 

Emily Flockhart
Emily Flockhart
3390 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am currently in a Science Methods course and we are currently talking about forming productive questions that will enable students to dive in deeper and critically think about the topic. I know several others have talked about these questions, but I wanted to add that when forming these productive questions you want to leave them as open ended. If you ask a close ended question such as a yes or no, or a question that only allows for one answer, then the students are only participating in recalling the information and not critically thinking. In science we want our students to dig deeper into their understandings in order to be able to apply their learning to the world around them. By asking open ended questions, the students will have to dig into their thinking and understand their thoughts and why they are thinking a certain way. This is the process of critical thinking. So, to answer your question, it is important to make sure your questions are open ended and allow the students to think about the topic in depth.

Katlyn Alexander
Katlyn Alexander
3080 Activity Points

Jillian, 

 

I am an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am in a Science Methods class and I think we are hitting on this topic very well! I think when the child is getting the wrong ideas/answers that's when we as teachers must dig deeper into their understanding so we can ask them different questions to steer them in the correct direction. We know as teachers it's not in the childrens best learning interests for us to just tell them the answers. If there's an opportunity for another experiment or some different questions for the student to be answering now would be the time to reflect on their learning as well as your teaching. I'm not saying anything is wrong with how you are presenting the information but is this the best way for the certain child to be learning? Would he learn better by doing? Answering questions? Discussing with their peers? Or maybe even working by themselves so they can think alone... 

Amy Griffin
Amy Griffin
2050 Activity Points

Hello! I am currently a senior at the University of Northern Iowa and we have discussed effective ways to deal with this issue. First, I would develop questions that will aid your students in the coming to the answers that they should find eventually. This does not mean that you will give students the answers, but instead give them hints to help them come to the conclusions "on their own." With the experiments, if you give them gentle pushes along the way, to ensure that the students are on the right track and overall end up where they are supposed to be in their learning. 

Madyson Walker
Madyson Walker
3195 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,
I am also enrolled in a teaching methods class for science and we have been discussion ways to make class discussions productive and meaningful. One strategy I like to use when doing a class discussion is when a student contributes to the conversation, I like to respond in a way that prompts students to re-state and clarify what they were just saying. So, for example, I will respond with “So let me make sure I am understanding your thinking…”, then I will say a little blurb about what their response was. In doing this is automatically gets the student thinking about what he/she just said and can even get them thinking deeper about their answer and what the original question was, and they might then have something more to say. While this is happening, it also gives the other students in the room to get a second chance to hear the student’s answer in case they really didn’t understand it initially, and it can also help other students dive deeper into their own thinking and can promote participation from everyone. I think this is such a good way to foster a productive and well-constructed discussion that pushes student to use their critical thinking skills.

Brooke Pigman
Brooke Pigman
3120 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, 

I am in a methods of teaching science class and we have been talking about how to have class discussions and make them significant to our student's learning. It’s important to ask students questions to enhance their thinking and have them explain their reasoning and present their evidence.  Incorporating “Talk Moves” helps students actively participate in discussions throughout the lesson.  I’ve learned it’s important to ask students to say more, and to get other student's thoughts included to direct the conversation in the way you want it to go. Overall, it’s about keeping the students thinking and not telling them if they’re right or wrong. 

Kristen Harold
Kristen Harold
1700 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! I am currently enrolled in a Science Methods course at the University of Northern Iowa and also preparing to become an elementary educator. We have just begun the discussion of navigating effective discourse in the science classroom. A strategy we are learning to use is Talk Moves. There are many examples to incorporate talk moves into your lessons. Some examples include: providing wait time (5-7 seconds), modeling and encouraging students to add on to their peers answers and solution, asking other students to repeat what their peers have said in their own words, and allowing students to have student to student talk instead of the discussion be teacher lead. Once you have modeled these techniques for your students and by using the vocabulary of "adding on" and "repeating in my own words", students will pick up on those techniques and eventually use the talk moves without being prompted. Providing students with a chart or poster listing different talk moves strategies can also help in prompting them to use these techniques. 

When a student answers a question "wrong", ask them to explain their answer so you can better understand their reasoning. After they have explained their reasoning, ask questions and provide opportunity for their peers to disagree or defend another answer. At the end of the discussion, recap what has been discussed and connect it to the goal of your lesson to agree on a correct answer as a whole. 

I hope these techniques and strategies are helpful to you in your future! 

Karlie Fahey
Karlie Fahey
1655 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! I am currently studying Early Childhood education at the University of Northern Iowa. This is a topic that is discussed often in the classes that I am taking. I think it is very important to allow children to discuss and investigate on their own. This helps change the lesson from information that the teacher is making them learn to a topic that they have ownership over. Due to this feeling of ownership students are more likely to better understand and better remember the information that you wanted them to learn. Also, allowing students to discuss helps them learn how to respectfully disagree, how to support their ideas with fact, and helps them learn the social skills needed to have a discussion. Allowing children time to talk with each other allows them to help develop their language skills. Here is a link of ways to help set ground rules for your classroom discussions! 

https://extension.umn.edu/public-engagement-strategies/setting-ground-rules-productive-discussions 

Trisha Knott
Trisha Knott
2645 Activity Points

Hi Jillian. 

Like many others in this thread, I am currently taking a science methods course at UNI. In this course, we have been learning about discussion based learning and one way to have a successful class discussion is by incorporating productive questioning. Productive questions include several factors such as they should be open-ended, address the target science concepts, used during appropriate phase of inquiry, person centered, and equitable. Although all 5 of the factors are equally important to your end goal, the one that really suck out for me was open-ended. Start off by asking a question that is open-ended that allows your students to start thinking deeper and try to experiment. While they are doing that instead of just coming out and telling them the outcome they should have found, probe the students to redirect their thinking. Probing is a "talk moves" strategies that we have been learning about in class. This gives you the chance to guide the students thinking in the right direction without telling them they were wrong. Best of luck to you! 

Baylee Kleitsch
Baylee Kleitsch
2426 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

My name is Emily. I am in a science methods class at the University of Northern Iowa, also working on getting my degree to become an elementary educator! In my class we have been doing a lot of exploring about the beneifts of discussion based learning. Before starting discussions, maybe at the beginning of the year, teachers will need to establish a set of "rules" about discusssion. Students need to feel that their ideas will be taken seriously and if there is a disagreement, that the idea is challenged, not the student. This takes a lot of trust and respect in the classroom between the students. As teachers we must find ways to create this sense of trust in order to take part in the beneficial discussions. 

Navigating discussions is something I feel like will take some practice for myself as well. Knowing your students and knowing the science concepts being used is an important first step for the teachers. The teacher should start the lesson with a clear, framing question. This is the question that will inspire ideas, perspectives, or solutions for students. Most curriculum materials have these launching questions, but sometimes we as teachers have to adapt the question for our own students needs in order to create a rich discussion. It is key to also have a set of follow-up questions to bring up thoughout the lesson to keep the students on task, make connections, or support their thiking. Another key element in navigating disucssion is Talk Moves. Talk Moves encourage student's supportive listening and promote deeper thinking. Some Talk Moves I have learned about include, asking a student to restate what another student said, but in their own words, asking a student to add-on to an idea another student has stated, or as the teacher restating what the student has said to clarify understanding for yourself and others. Another Talk Moves is, asking the students if they agree or disagree (with the idea not the student) and having them explain their reasoning and evidence. Lastly, allowing wait time for students to collect their thoughts, revise their thinking, or put together a way to explain their thinking to students.

Questions and Talk Moves are two very big ideas with creating a rich discussion. They steer away from just the right or wrong answer and allow students to discuss why they agree or disagree while also sharing their evidence. Discussing enhances student's listening skills as well as provides way to thinking deeply. Hearing students thiking is huge when being a teacher and I think these discussion based lessons are a great way to acknowledge that.

Emily Cook
Emily Cook
2535 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I am also a student working on my elementary degree and also in a science methods class. We have talked a lot about phenomena and how asking questions to students gets them engaged into what they are learning and experimenting. A Phenomena is something that gets studenst asking why or how something works and it makes them really want to find out the answer to why that thing is happening. We have done many experiments using a phenomena in our classroom and even at a college level, we were all very engaged. With your question about telling your studens the are wrong without telling them they are wrong is just by telling them how great their idea and explanation was but try and streer them in the right dieerection without giving them the answer. 

Carisa Meyer
Carisa Meyer
2780 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am studying Early Childhood Education with a minor in Special Education. I am enrolled in a science method class and we are learnig about discussion! Class discussion is such an important tool to use with children's learning experience and being able to express their knowledge on a topic. Many other replies have given you a great background on different techniques a teacher can use within their classroom during class discussion. Often times with teaching you have to go in open-minded, especially with class discussion. Class discussion can go many different directions: go on the topic you were thinking or go on a topic that the class has now steered toward. It is VERY important to accept student's responses, telling them they are wrong can lead to the student not having the confidence to speak up again in your class. Probe for other responses from students. Give your students enough time to answer questions, count to five. When you give your students enough to think of their response, more students will respond. 

Sadee Koehler
Sadee Koehler
2895 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am currently taking a science course at University of Northern Iowa. I think it would be a great idea to have them do a phenomenon that they are interested in. This will keep them engaged throughout the whole lesson. To telling them yes or no, I suggest answering their question with a question. Depending on what questions you ask them will depend on what direction they go in. Your question can take them farther into their learning or could steer them in the right direction if they are on the wrong track. 

 

Cami 

Cami Scovill
Cami Scovill
1940 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!

My name is Annika Amundson and I am in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa! Facilitating class discussions can be an extremely valuable technique. I think the best way to facilitate discussion in the classroom is to engage the class in "Talk Moves". Talk moves are strategies we are learning about in class that help to facilitate and continue the discussion for you and the students. Some of these questions may include, "Who can repeat?" or "Who can add on to this studetns thoughts?" This helps the students to take their peers' thoughts and decide whether they agree or disagree with them. Depending on their answer, they may want to ask a question to their peer, add on to that thought, or even argue it. Along with talk moves, another part that is important when it comes to asking questions and having discussion is wait time. It is proven that if you give students 8-10 seconds of wait time rather than having them answer right away gives them time to think about the question, and provide a more in depth answer. Discussion based learning is so beneficial, and I definitely think it is important to faciliate those discussoins! I have also attatched an article that dicusses different talk moves you can use in your future classroom that may help! I hope this answers your questions!

 

https://amandamoss.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/talk-moves/

Annika Amundson
Annika Amundson
2645 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am in the same boat as you are. I am in a science methods class and we have been discussing this topic in our class. Students thrive when they are alowed to participate in inquiry based lessons, so it is also important for us as (future) teachers to be prepared to guide thier discussions instead of just stating the answers. We have been discussing talk moves in our class which are an amazing way to help students learn by talking with you and each other. They are ideas that we as teachers and the students can use to effectively communicate ideas. They help students describe what they know, why they know it, and then helps the teacher guide them into the right direction instead of just stating no thats not right or yes that is right. There are so many ways to use talk moves, if you research them so many things will come up and they will tell you exactly how to use them!

Mikayla Evers
Mikayla Evers
1885 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I completely understand the instinct to tell students the right answer in fear of continuing misconception, but your natural instinct to guide students into their own understanding is absolutely perfect! In my science education course at UNI we just discussed effective questioning and talk moves that can be used to have productive conversations with students. I know that others have described different types of effective questions so I decided to do some research into the subject to provide you with some more information. If you have access, the study Teacher Questioning in Science Classrooms: Approaches that Stimulate Productive Thinking that was published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching could be a very informational read. It includes descriptions of real-life interactions between teachers and students and highlights some of the different types of questions used including pumping, reflective toss and constructive challenges. These types of questions have students challenge their own misconceptions and build their own schemas. 

Audrey Klunenberg
Audrey Klunenberg
2900 Activity Points

Hi, I would say the first step ypu should try taking is set ground rules for your discussions. Students have to feel a sense of trust during discussions, they need to know that their ideas and beliefs can be supported in a respectful manner. A way you can make sure they come out learning what you want them to learn is to implement talk moves. We just talked about these in our science class yesterday, and it's a strategy to guide discussions so they go in the right direction you need it to go. Make sure, as a teacher, to have a well, thought-out question to begin the lesson, you can also prepare some follow-up questions. I hope this is helpful! 

 

Sarah Kimbro

Sarah Kimbro
Sarah Kimbro
1675 Activity Points

Jillian, 

My name is Ashley Edaburn and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am studying Elementary Education. I am currently enrolled in a Science Methods course where we are discussing how to facilitate student learning rather than be a guide to it. When it comes to open discussion there is definitely times when you will worry that you will go off track from the topic and worry if you are meeting the learning goal you wish for them to achieve. I think that the best way to navigate the discussion, but not take over the whole discussion is to listen to the student's understanding of the topic and use prompting questions to lead them to your main goal. When asking questions, make sure to provide an answer wait time and give them a chance to think about an answer. Another way we have talked about is as teachers we can use probing questions to help students direct their discussion in the right direction. This is a way you can use to help facilitate the discussion, but also to help students become independent.

Ashley Edaburn
Ashley Edaburn
1080 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! I am currently studying Elementary education at the University of Northern Iowa. This is a topic that is discussed often in the classes that I am taking. I think it is very important to allow children to discuss and investigate on their own. This helps change the lesson from information that the teacher is making them learn to a topic that they have ownership over. Due to this feeling of ownership students are more likely to better understand and better remember the information that you wanted them to learn. Also, allowing students to discuss helps them learn how to respectfully disagree, how to support their ideas with fact, and helps them learn the social skills needed to have a discussion. Allowing children time to talk with each other allows them to help develop their language skills.  With discussion based learning, studets can often become frazzled, even caught off guard when asked to speak.  Here are some guidelines I've leared in some of my classrooms that help facilitate discussion based learning.  First, you must lay out some guidelines for the discussion.  Possibly, create a discussion schedule where the students can see important topics that they want to talk about to prepare their thoughts before class time.  The schedule isn't meant to limit student's thought processes, but help guide them in the right direction for topics that you want to cover in class for that day.  Most importantly, you want to let the studets lead the discussion process.  As the teacher, you can interject to guide them if needed, but ultimately we want to hear the students thought processes.  

Nicole Strang
Nicole Strang
1345 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, My name is Hannah and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am in a teaching elementary school science methods course and we are discussing productive talk (talk moves) in the classroom during science instruction. The great thing about this strategy is allowing students a platform to share their opinions without being corrected right away. As a teacher, it is sometimes hard to not instantly correct a student when they give a wrong answer. When we allow students to talk about their thinking and ask them questions to guide them to the answer that we want. When we allow them to get the confidence to share and not worry about a right or wrong, we are fostering a deeper learning environment. Talk moves are way that teachers frame questions and responses to those questions given to the class. When we ask more student centered questions and really get students thinking deeper, we challenge their thinking and not only themselves but the other students in the classroom. The teacher starts a lesson with an open question that is meant to provide multiple perspectives and resposnes from the students. I think about in math where we would show ways that we answered a question. Even if we made a mistake, we still learned as a class. With science, even if a student doesn't answer a question correctly or the way a teacher would preffer, it can still become a teaching moment.        

Hannah Clark
Hannah Clark
1805 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and I am currently enrolled in a science methods course. In this course we are currently talking about the importance of discussion amongst students in a science classroom, and the benefits that it can instill in the students' learning. By having students conduct experiments and evaluate their own work, as you stated, you are giving them the opportunity to work through problems and utilize their higher order thinking skills. With these experiments I would suggest letting the students discuss their results amongst each other while providing probing questions to further their thinking. In order to prevent your students from going astray throughout this process, you can introduce "talk moves" which are used to help maintain a rigorous, coherent, engaging, and equitable discussion. An article that I would suggest to you would be Talk Science Primer by Sarah Michaels and Cathy O'Connor. In this article you will find information regarding productice talk in the classroom and ways that you can implement them into your classroom. 

Regards,

Rachel Bronson

Rachel Bronson
Rachel Bronson
2890 Activity Points

Hey Jillian!

I am at the University of Northern Iowa to be an elementary teacher but also have a math minor! I am in this science course currently, where we are talking about effeincet questions to use in the classroom to promote discussion. I personally think that to create classroom discssion, we need to start with have questions to ask the students. It is difficult to think of effective questions on the spot, so if we can write down the questions that should promote critical thinking, that would be a first step to take when wanting to start class discussions. Something that we have been talking about in class would be that teachers should not just answer questions with yes or no and then move onto the next question. We should be asking the other students if they also agree, want to add more, or even if they disagree, and why they believe what they believe. If we only say yes or no to answers our students give us, we are not keeping an open mind to other possiblities and discussions that students might need to have to grasp a better understanding. I hope some of these tips help you in your science class!

Best of luck,

Marissa

Marissa Strickler
Marissa Strickler
1960 Activity Points

Jillian,

I'm currently in a teaching science class as well at UNI to became and elementary school teacher. From the content we've learned in class, as well as discussions had in this class (and others...) I've come to appreciate discussion based learning. I think that it's important to allow students discussion based on a question provided to help them think of point of views or other factual information they may not have realized or known. I think this allows students a more fun and productive way of learning, rather than just reading from a textbook or powerpoint. I think we can steer them from wrong explanations because it allows other students to build and reteach what they are saying if they happen to be wrong. This can ultimately help our students learn more if they hear it maybe in another way. 

 

Payton

Payton Cannon
Payton Cannon
1755 Activity Points

Jillian, this is such a great question! Wanting to encourage your kids in their thinking, but not wanting to get too far down a bunny trail that it is hard to come back from. 

 

I think this is something that educators eventually get a good sense for. I want to allow my future students to think for themselves but also find our ideas as a class and begin to accept those.

 

Some of the things that I have found work really well are asking students to reflect on their own thinking after an activity or experiment. When students think and write about their ideas, they often find what was wrong or what needs changed. I also think having them restate what was said by a peer is helpful when forming their own ideas. They will be able to sense and hear when they don't agree with something, that can help them formulate their own opinions. 

 

One other thing I think is a good step is for your students to hear from all different people and resources about one topic so they can make an educated decision. Just hearing from you may not be enough for them! Find what works and use it! I also have sometimes thrown in a few ideas, some wrong, some slightly wrong and some right, just so they have some different content to analyze! 

 

Hope this helps!

Camille Henry
Camille Henry
2040 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also currently in teacher prep science class, and we have been working on discussion based learning as well as misconceptions. Your question is great, and I believe it can be hard to complete perfectly, and it definitley depends on the crowd you are working with. I found on the following website  (https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/speaking-listening-techniques/) a great idea! They called it the pinwheel approach to discussion. What they did was have four groups in the class, three of which are discussing the topic at hand, which I would give my students a prompt to lead them in the right direction. The fourth group then plays the devil's advocate, which I would use as the group that could argue the misconception. I would then guide the discussion throughout by making comments and asking questions to make sure the discussion heads in a direction that proves the three groups are correct and the one misconception is incorrect. You can manipulate this acitivity in many ways to best fit your classroom. I think that no one method is going to best fit your classroom, especially as your audience changes each year. Exploration and trial and error is going to be your best bet. Goodluck! 

Brandie Bushee
Brandie Bushee
1965 Activity Points

Jillian,

 

I am a currently a senior at UNI studying elementary and middle level education. I believe that in order to help students to reach the learning outcome you want them to, you need to ask open ended, productive questions. I also think that it is important to ask one question at a time and allow students time to think or work with a partner to come up with an answer before immediately expecting an answer. Your questions can be leading questions to the answer you want, and if students are understanding what you want them to, then you can ask less questions. I believe that helping to navigate discussion doesn't have just one method, but is a combination of methods! The questions you ask, depend on student understanding and I don't believe there is a set way to go about this. In my opinion, it differs by class and group of students. 

Lauren Caldwell
Lauren Caldwell
1685 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also in a science methods course pursuing my elementary education degree. One thing that I have learned is to have questions ready for students that can steer them in the right direction. By having many different questions ready for whatever arrises you may be able to steer them in the right direction and not tell them they are wrong. Also I think you should allow students to explore different things, but then clear the air if you are seeing any misconceptions present by the students. I hope this helps! Have a wonderful day!

Faith Slinger
Faith Slinger
2470 Activity Points

Jillian, I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa and enrolled in a Science Methods course. From what I have learned it is important for us, as teachers, to be asking productive questions. These types of questions are person centered. This means that students can respond to the question without a fear of being wrong or being judged on their response. This means that when they do resond and their explanation may not be quite on the right track, you can then probe the student and ask them more questions about their explanation. This may steer them in the right direction, and for them to think critically about their own response, and they may then decide to shift their thinking and change their resonse a bit. 

 

Hey there! I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa and am in a Scicence Methods course. During my experiences, I have learned many things about student controlled science classrooms and inquires. A really important thing to help "steer" our students in the entended direction is to as student centered productive questions. Ex: What do you think about... While their answers my not be exactly correct it is their opinion that they are telling you based on the information they have gained. This feed back from student's can be a great way to formally access our students when they are working on their own! When discussing findings and claims in groups you could have the student use talk moves to move the coversation and have them discuss and work through opposing claims while guiding them towards the correct one. Those are two methods that I have learned and would suggest to you. :)

- Hayle 

Hayle Gaul
Hayle Gaul
1715 Activity Points

Hi I am currently enrolled in Teaching Elementary School Science at UNI. We learn to navigate discussion with talk moves. You can direct them in the right direction so you get them to learn a specific thing. You can steer students away from wrong explanations with productive questions. This way, as a teacher, you are able to direct them in the right direction without having to spoon feed it to them.

Sarah Kimbro
Sarah Kimbro
1675 Activity Points

I think the best way that you can help students come out of something learning what you want them to is to have questions ready to ask them to scaffold and steer them in the right direction. However, you may want to let them discuss what might be a misconception for awhile before addressing that, for they could learn a lot from that. 

Abbi Staack
Abbi Staack
1985 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! 

I'm a student at the Univeristy of Northern Iowa and I'm currently taking my science methods class. We've talked a lot about this topic and the importance of argumentation and discussion in the classroom. We talked heavily about talk moves to help with this problem of how we can steer our students away from misconceptions without hurting or stunting the learner. Talk moves are all about expansion. Saying things like "OOh! Tell me more about that and your thinking. Make that make sense for others who might not get what you said yet." or "Hmm, let me see if I got this right..." and then follow that statement with a summary of what the student said. 

 

By not feeding our students the exact right answer allows them to expand their own thinking and learn concepts. Otherwise we're teaching them to simply recall and that doesn't do much for student understanding! 

 

I hope your class is going well and hopefully our responses helped with teach talk! :)

Rachel Wagner
Rachel Wagner
2115 Activity Points

Hello Jillian! One thing you can do is give them time to really hash out their ideas. Ensure they have the time and space to support their answers. And even though this should be student based learning, feel free to add ideas to get them thinking about different viewpoints, but make sure not to confuse them in this way. Having them engage in conversation with their peers can also be beneficial. 

Ryan Veencamp
Ryan Veencamp
1760 Activity Points

I think that the best way to do so is to take what the students think, and run with it! If they have an idea that is incorrect, think of a way that you can test their ideas where the outcome would be them realizing on their own that it is wrong. Asking open ended questions is a good way to encourage students to really think about their ideas. Likely, someone who has to explain their reasoning behind something has taken more time to think about the logistics of it, so always asking them to explain why they think that is the correct idea.

Ashley Vinson
Ashley Vinson
1465 Activity Points

Hello Jillian,

I am taking a science methods course and from what I have learned throughout my semester is that you have to ask your students intentional and productive questions. If they answer a question and you dont get the answer you wanted alter the question in a way that the students can maybe better understand. Also when asking questions you should be using talk moves, besure you are giving the students plenty of time to think of the answer, ask several students the same question because maybe someone else has a different idea, that doesn't mean it is better than the answer before but you could use it to get the students thinking. if a student answers wrongly you could just ask if they have any other ideas or ask if they thought of something else.

 

I hope this helps.

Stephanie Sterbenz
Stephanie Sterbenz
1485 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am also in class about Teaching Science! You pose an interesting question. From my personal (also student) experience, you have to model good discussion for your students before launching them into a discussion section. They must have some knowledge of a bad question and a good question (if there is such thing in your classroom) before they can be expected to be involved in discussion. I think that steering students away from incorrect explanations is one that comes with time and practice, but I am also curious about a method or research on creating questions to guide students. 

Thank you for your thoughts! 

Hannah Biondolillo
Hannah Biondolillo
170 Activity Points

Hannah,

I am also in a Science Methods class currently and we are discussing how to create questions and discussions. I think that this type of skill will be learned through our teaching processes because we will become more accustomed to the traits we will be seeing. As I want to be a lower elementary teacher, I think that making sure why students know why something is right, is going to be more important than the students knowing if it was right or wrong. I don't think that we should steer students away from incorrect explanations but just use more extending questions or probe them with other types of questions about the topic that could possibly make them change their mind or think differently. As teachers, we can use talk moves to allow open discussion with other students being the center. We could create an environment where all students want to share out and explain their thoughts as a class rather than privately. This allows their thinking to dive deeper into the 'why' of the questions and allow students collaboration to broaden our thoughts and ideas more than we would normally do ourselves. Overall, I feel that you had some great points and that teaching students science topics can become difficult but also very insightful as well. 

Alyssa Hawkins
Alyssa Hawkins
2485 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am also in class about Teaching Science! Your questions are really good, as for I have the same ones. As from my experience you can steer them towards the right answer by questioning, or if they are dead set on the answer then you can review models as a whole class and come up with the best over all class model.

 

AnneDee Rylee
Annedee Rylee
190 Activity Points

I like your idea of doing a model as a whole class. This way you are not just pointing out one student. Usually if one student has a question so do other students so this can be benefical to everyone. 

Cami Scovill
Cami Scovill
1940 Activity Points

Jillian,

One way that you should be navigating discussion is making sure that you set clear conversation expectations so that the whole class knows the standards of your discussion. You should also make sure that you are not following an I-R-E or Initiate-Respond-Evaluate method. It is better to ask for reasoning, or to ask them to dive deeper into their explanation. This will help foster discussion from your whole class. The student who posed the answer doesn’t necessarily need to be the one who extends their thinking, but could have a friend/peer dive deeper into their own thinking about this to help them out. Guide them to the write answers, without giving them the write answer. Guide them to reaching the answer themselves so they can understand the idea as a whole better. Instead of telling your students that they are wrong, you can promote discussion among your students to decide if that answer works? If it doesn’t, figure out what would work. To create questions during discussion,  talk moves are ways to frame questions and responses when guiding discussions with students and support teacher-student and student-student discourse. You should first set conversation expectations, second make arguments with the talk move, assess the reasoning talk move, and reflect on student learning. These are the things that I am currently learning about in my methods of teaching elementary science course at UNI. There is research on all of the points that I have made as well.

Becca Schouten
Becca Schouten
2730 Activity Points

Jillian

I am not yet a teacher but I attend the University of Northern Iowa. In my Science Methods class we have been talking about this subject. We have been exploring the idea of is it okay to be wrong, we recently modled an experiment call Why does it float. In this experement we as teaches saw in modling that student can learn more from discover something on their own. It is okay for them to be wrong at first. Have them question each other and show you why things work. If possible use phenomenon to make them question themselves. If these are not getting them to were you want them to be you can use Productive questions to push them in the write direction but never giving them the full answer. They need to build their knowlege on their own. This will allow them to be able to take a concept and aply what they have learned in other subjects and even disaplans. It alll boils down to productiive questioning. Make sure that your question are Equitable to everyone, Address target content, Open ended, and as person centered as possible.

Nic Peiffer
Nic Peiffer
1805 Activity Points

Jillian, 

It is okay for students to get the wrong answer, but make sure that you tell them that it is wrong and why it is wrong. Most likely if they got the wrong answer, so did a few others in the class. Let them show you the way that they got the wrong answer, and then show them your way and tell them why that is the correct way to do so. If you don't want them at all to get the wrong answer, make sure that you are setting very clear expectations so that everyone knows how to do it the right way. You could also have the student who got the wrong answer get into a group and have others teach their ways to that student so that he knows what the right answer should be. Sometimes, the right answer isn't always what we should be worried about. We should be focusing on making sure that they are coming up with ideas and communicating with their peers and using higher levels of thinking to find their answer whether it is wrong or right. These are just a few ideas that I have learned over the years that I have been in college. 

McKenna Tow
McKenna Tow
2230 Activity Points

Jillian.

You pose a great question, as it is currently being discussed and taught in my class at University of Northern Iowa. We have been learning about ways to faciliate and lead into a certain direction, disucussion. The first thing i would recommend would be to make sure your students know what a discussion looks and sounds like. How to listen and how to respond to their peers. Secondly, make sure your students have enough knowledge on the topic at hand to carry out a discussion. Thirdly to prep for this, have questions already thought up, and probing questions that will lead the discussion to a certain direction. Lastly, to make sure to remember that it is okay if students are wrong at first, this actually might help them to explore the idea at another level, and with the discussion they will usually get led to the right end of the idea and change their thoughts. Good Luck. 

Molly Karr
Molly Karr
2985 Activity Points

Jillian, you pose a great question for future edcators. I am taking a Science Methods course that has a lot to deal with navigating discussion and creating academically apprpriate questions. I think one key component to this type of learning is making sure the talk is productive and going in a positive way. To promote this ask open-end questions, do not call on one specific person allow the students to have a discussion to each other and not just with the you, the teacher, also do not tell them if their answer is correct. If you want your students to naviagate the lesson, you need to make sure they can do the heavy lifting and know what rules you have in play. To help your students it is your job to know the elements of promoting an academically productive talk to your students. To do this you need to have well established ground rules, the biggest rule being other students will listen to others people's ideas and respect them. Another thing is framing the question and follow-up question, framing the question is going to be the hardest part of the lesson for you because you want to engage your students and also promote learning in this prompt. I just watched a video on this type of learning in a classroom, and clarifying someone's thoughts and allowing the students to defend their answers is a great way to start this in your classroom. Hope this helps!

Kylie Phillips
Kylie Phillips
1835 Activity Points

Kylie, I am also in a science methods course. I really liked how you mentioned that a teacher needs to make sure they can do the heavy lifting and know what rules to use. Establishing ground rules, or norms, in the class lets the students know what is expected of them. I think this plays into creating a classroom culture of questioning and navigating productive discussion. Without these rules set in place, it does not create a culture. I think that a great way of establishing these guidelines is to have a discussions with the students about what is expected of them. The teacher could have a practice class where students can start to practice this way of productive learning. This can make student discussion weak because students do not want to make risks, take each other seriously, or build arguments. Risk taking can have a huge reward for a classroom discussion. It builds a community where students feel more confident saying things. If this culture is not built, a student may think their idea would be considered "dumb" and not speak up. This also allows students to ask questions without fear of getting made fun of. 

Lauren Wolbers
Lauren Wolbers
1920 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also working towards my elementary education degree. Creating a meaningful discussion environment can be a challenging task, but once the environment is created, meaningful learning can happen! One way to create a meaningful discussion environment is using productive questions. Productive questions are: open-ended, equitable, student-centered, used at appropriate parts of inquiry/lesson, and target specific science concepts. When you ask productive questions, students are encourged to articulate their thinking, deepend their understanding, and defend their beliefs. During a discussion, students might voice the wrong answer or get off track but that is when you ask productive questions in response to their wrong answer. These questions can push students to think more critcally about their response and hopefully get back on track with the correct thinking. When students identify their misconceptions themselves, it creates a more meaningful learning experience where they learn skills to help them think deeper about their ideas in the future. I hope this helps!

Lizzie

Lizzie Walsh
Mary Walsh
3100 Activity Points

Mary, I really like your thinking and explanation to Jillian's question. I have very similar views to you and wanted to add on your point about productive questions encouraging students to articulate thinking, deepen understanding, and defend their beliefs. During productive questioning this also allows students to hear and think of other methods to go about the question at hand creating a deeper discussion in the classroom. One thing I truly think is key in this is problem solving. Through problem solving one is never truly done answering productive questions which in my opinion helps the teacher keep this discussion going and allows students to stay open-minded. With all of these things in mind I truly believe one could have that discussion they are really looking for. 

 

 

Sarah Moyer
Sarah Moyer
2275 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in Elementary Education. In my science methods course I am in, we have been discussing how to facilitate a good quality discussion within your classroom. Something that is important to know is the students and the teacher each have a significant and different role to play to make the discussion an effective and efficient one. During the discussion, the students should be listening to others, building on their prior knowledge, and questioning their classmates idea's. They can do this through agreeing, disagreeing, and reasoning with others around them. Teachers will help the students engage by helping them explain their ideas in their own words, giving the students definitions and examples, and expanding on their students experiences. As a teacher, if you can accept what your students are stating without judging them, adding on to their explanations, and asking following up questions it will help create a positive atmosphere for facilitating a discussion. 

Madison Steele
Madison Steele
2380 Activity Points

Madie,

Thank you for sharing! I also agree that the positive atmosphere and different roles are important components of a good quality classroom discussion. It is important to establish from day one that your classroom is a safe zone. By doing this, students will not be afraid to share their thought or ideas, because even if they are wrong they know there will be no judgment. This is very important, because it will add so much to your classroom discussions. This safe environment can also be established like Madie said, by the teacher not being judgmental and accepting of all student answers. If teachers make their students feel like only correct answers are accepted in their classroom, it will be very hard to implement a good classroom discussion, because not all students will want to participate. Creating this safe classroom environment will boost your students confidence as well, and help them learn at deeper levels.

Maddie Johnson
Maddie Johnson
2520 Activity Points

Madie,

Thank you for sharing! I am also a student at UNI and taking the same course. Like many other people in this discussion thread, I also believe that using "Talk Moves" as a driving conversational strategy that allows students the opportunity to express their ideas in an open and nonjudgemental matter. During this time teachers are also able to facilitate conversation and help direct and assist students in conversation. Another way to do this is by asking probing questions and to guide questions with using a person centered. This would help students feel like their ideas are accepted and welcomed as well as guide conversation in a way that ensure higher order thinking. This is vital, because it allows students to connect with disciplinary core ideas as well as science and engineering practices that are apart of the NGSS. Disciplinary Core Ideas and Science and Engineering Practices also help guide students to concepts that are vital to understanding and making connects to real-life situation and skills.

Lauren Person
Lauren Person
1995 Activity Points

Madison, I think that your response to Jillian is very good. I am also a student at UNI and in my science methods class we are also learning about what you have stated. We have also talked about talk moves, where the teacher and students have a way to build upon other students ideas and the teacher has a way of checking on students listening and comprehension during these discussions. We have also learned that it may be hard to not correct students explanations so they are correct, but that it is more effective for students to come to the conclusions on their own. So as the teacher we only facilitate the discussion, as you stated. So I agree with all that you said in response to Jillian's question, thank you for your sharing your insight. 

Ashley Darling
Ashley Darling
2015 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I think its important to let discussion be as organic as you can, so that students create their own understandings. But it is also important to keep things moving in the right direction. You can ask students guiding questions, so that is when it is open ended so students can use thier own interpretation but it still has somewhat of a direction you are really looking at. When you are just letting students discuss organically it can be difficult to get in with guilding questions but you can structure discussions with telling students to agree or disagree with what the previous person said and explain. So much like what many of us are doing on this discussion post, we can agree with other comments or say I disagree and then we are explaining why we think that way. That is where you can guide thinking, you can even just in and say I agree with student 1 because... or I disagree with student 2 because.... Or even another way you can guide them is by repeating what the student said but in different words to clarify and then let the other students elaborate on that. It's really all about guiding students while still letting them express what they think. 

Shelby Betz
Shelby Betz
2355 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa, majoring in Elementary Education. I am enrolled in a science methods course where we are currently learning about the use of productive questioning. Productive questions should be equitable, open-ended, person centered, address target science concepts, and used at appropriate phase of inquiry. We should teach and lead our discussion using productive questions to keep the discussion going and on topic. As you are worried about telling your students that they have the wrong answer without tearing them down, you should use these productive questions to stay positive. Do not tell them they got the wrong answer, but guide them using other questions until they find the correct answer. We can use productive questions like, "Explain why you think that answer is correct" or "What evidence do you have?" These questions do not tell them that they are wrong, but with further thinking and further explanation they may be able to realize that they have gotten the wrong answer. You may also be able to repeat what the student has said and then ask the class if they understand or have anything else to add. This will allow other students to be able to add on and change the answer during the discussion. I hope this helps you! 

Brooke Neal
Brooke Neal
2975 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa. Throughout my education, I have read a lot and watched multiple videos on how to formulate discussion. I also have been given many opportunities to do this within my field experiences. What I have noticed to be the most beneficial is first explain to your students how you want the discussion to run. If you want the students to facilitate the discussion, then let them know. Explain in full detail. However, to avoid flat out telling your students whether their answer is right or wrong. I would start by asking them to explain more. This way you can truly understand their thinking. Then ask your students if they agree or if they would like to explain. At the beginning, make sure that you tell your students they do not have to raise their hands to speak. I think that by giving them clear directions will lead to this and then as a teacher, ask them to give you more, or recite their answer back to them for clearer understanding. 

 

Brooke Craig
Brooke Craig
2771 Activity Points

Hello!!

I am also currently in a Teaching Science class and I'm learning about discussion based learning. As a teacher I think you need to set the climate of the classroom by making sure students are open minded about others opinions and thoughts. Additionally, students are not taught how to effectively hold discussions in the classroom so it is the responsibility of the teacher to demonstrate that and give feedback to the students. In order to have a strong classroom discussion students should learn active listening strategies by teaching students to restate what another student just said, and then having them follow up with their own thoughts. As a future classroom teacher, you will know what a good quality classroom discussion will look like as students respect eachother, restate what other students have said, and bounce off other students ideas. 

 

Monica Malila
Monica Malila
2810 Activity Points

Hello Jillian,

I am currently enrolled in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa and we have been talking about discussions in science. I've learned that it is very important for students to discuss in science to hear and understand other students perspectives and ideas. It is also important to take those ideas and consider them when thinking about your own ideas and possibly using those ideas to make adjusts about your own thoughts. By having discussions in class students build important critical thinking skills. From class I have also learned that in order to conduct a discussion you must talk with your students about how a discussion should look and sound. You should even practice having a discussion with simple topics such as "Do students get enough recess time?" or "What's the best dessert?" This will help students get a feel for how a discussion should go. I believe that a discussion should be very student led, but you as the teacher should still direct the students in a sense so that they still learn what you want them to learn. 

Paige Faulkner
Paige Faulkner
2545 Activity Points

Paige,

I am also a student at the University of Northern Iowa.  We have talked about using talk moves in the classroom.  Talk moves are used in a whole group discussion that does not reject or fully accept incorrect or correct answers made by students.  Rather than telling a student they are correct or incorrect, using talk moves allows other students to challenge someone else's thoughts and/or opinions on any given topic. Talk moves are used to investigate thoughts over a topic, but must be backed up with evidence when presenting.  When holding a whole group discussion, it is important for students to know how it looks and sounds, just like you said which helps them hear and take into consideration other perspectives.  

Jade Selig
Jade Selig
2155 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am a student in a teaching science class at the University of Northern Iowa.  There are a few specific components to productive questions that you should ask during discussion.  The questions should address target science concepts, be open-ended, person centered, equitable, and used at the appropriate phase of inquiry.  Asking these types of questions will get students to think more before sharing so they can provide deeper answers.  As a teacher, there are three different ways you can respond to what the students says.  You can accept the answer without judging them, extend the answer by adding something, or probe the student and ask more questions that can deepen their own understanding.  Something that I really enjoy and think works well in the classroom is using talk moves while having a discussion.  These talk moves include re-voicing, restating, agree/disagree, adding on, and wait time.  This helps students come up with the correct way of going about how to respond to someone’s answer.  You will need to model how these are done and can also use different hand movements that show when students agree with one another.  This encourages the speaker to continue with their thought process and can help others understand more about the content.  The talk moves should be posted along with the sentence frames, such as for adding on: “I would like to add,” so students can refer to them when they need to.  Using the talk moves, especially wait time, can expand students responses and creates more equitable opportunities for all students to participate.  Class discussions take practice, but the more students participate in this productive talk, the more they will develop the proper social and academic language skills they need to continue their growth as scientists.

Samantha Butler
Samantha Butler
2740 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, 

I, like most other people on this thread, am in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. From what I've learned in class, I think the best way to facilitate productive discussion in the classroom, especially at the elementary level, is to put most of the 'talking' into the students hands. We are currently learning about productive questioning in the class, and from what I've gathered, the best types of questions are open-ended (not just a 'yes' or 'no' answer) and person-centered (making sure the student knows that answers are not 'right' or 'wrong' but are about what we think). I personally think the best way to get students talking and discussing their ideas in the classroom is to, at least for the initial discussion, throw out the concept of 'correct' answers. Ask students what they THINK instead of asking what they KNOW. We don't always know things, but you can bet that we are always thinking- our students included. 

Elizabeth Meyer
Elizabeth Meyer
2495 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,


My name is Rebecca and I am currently a senior at the University of Northern Iowa. I am currently taking my science methods course. We learned in class the theory about “talk moves.” These ideas were new to me but I really liked the idea of them. One of my favorite things about talk moves was the idea of repeating. We need to make sure our students understand what is going on. When we repeat we are clarifying information that was given to our students. Another talk move that stood out to me was wait-time. We need to allow time for our students to understand what they are thinking. If we give our students time to think and not blurt out answers more students will be engaged in the discussion. They say you need to wait up for 7 seconds before asking your students thinking. We don’t think 7 seconds is very long, but it is longer than we think. I hope this helps you out. Good luck!


Rebecca Murray

Rebecca Murray
Rebecca Murray
2215 Activity Points

Hi Rebecca, 

 

I am in science methods class as well and I really enjoyed the video we watched about talk moves. I think what you said about repeating and wait time are important and I wanted to add a couple more that I think are important too. Revoicing is one of the talk moves that I thought would be very beneficial because it allows students to take an idea from their peer and revoice it in a way that they can understand it. This also provides another way for students to understand what their peer is saying for example, if one student said something one way and not all of the students understood that allowing students to revoice might provide the other students with a better understanding. Another one I think is very important is turn-and-talk. By doing this students are able to discuss with their peers before they share their ideas with the whole class. This allows students to be confident in their answers before talking in front of the whole class. 

Kiana Wilson
Kiana Wilson
2055 Activity Points

Jillian, I am currently in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. We are currently learning about discussion based learning. One of the major things I have learned is that you need to ask open ended questions that keep the conversation alive. Instead of telling them no or that there answer is wrong you could be like “Elaborate more” on what you mean. You could ask another student to restate what the first student said and then build upon it with the knowledge that they have. Instead of giving the students all the materials and telling them how to conduct an experiment it is helpful to allow them to drive their own learning and discover the answers and how to find them using their knowledge and their classmates.

 

Well Wishes,

Cassie

CASSIE PARRISH
CASSIE PARRISH
2135 Activity Points

Jillian hello, I am a current student at the University of Northern Iowa actively enrolled in a Science Methods couse.  I understand the struggle of not wanting to be too blunt about telling the student their answer was wrong or not what you were looking for.  A good thing to do is be aware of your teacher talk or how you respond to your students.  Are you asking open-ended questions or close-ended questions such as yes or no questions? Questions that don't lead to further explanation and deeper thinking.  Are you asking productive questions? Questions that are person centered.  These types of questions eliminate or at least pull out some of the fear of being judged and being wrong in the student's response. You can also probe the student and ask them more questions to help in clarifying their answer or to help them discover if they are right or wrong themselves.  That way you aren't telling them they are finding out themselves.  Are you giving them wait time to process their answers and allowing them to fully conduct what they are trying to say?  These are great questions you could be asking yourself that can better help you help your students.  By doing all of these, you are allowing the students to deepen their knowledge, clarify what they are talking about, and so much more.  Hope this helps a bit.

 

 

Kristine Pasker
Kristine Pasker
2875 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, my name is Madison Rost I am currently a senior at UNI I am also taking a science methods class right now. Something that you can do is try and steer them in a different direction instead of telling them that they are wrong, say a statement and steer them in the right direction. You may be on the right track but maybe rethink what you are saying, say well maybe this is possible or maybe we should look at it like this instead to get them thinkning more and so they have a deeper understanding. In class we talked about or watched some videos on talk moves and how we can use those in the classroom ones that are most common are repeating/restateing what someone had said to make sure that you understand or adding one to someone elses thoughts which is a good way to get students talking and conneting with one another. With adding on your able to add on to the students thinking but also questioning them more to see what they are getting at. Another thing is framing a question with a follow up question which may be a hard part but it will get your students engaged in learning. 

Madison Rost
Madison Rost
3140 Activity Points

Hello Jillian, I am currently in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. In our class we have recently been talking about evidence based discussion. In this inquiry students are promoted to debate with one another about a subject brought to their attention. Students will state their reasoning, but it will be your job as the educator to help encourage explainaitons out of the students. In this evidence based disccusion the educator is scaffolding student learning by facilitating discussion and not leading it. One way to formatively asses students listening skills is to have a silent hand signal if they agree or disagree with the students sharing their thoughts. It is vital for students to listen to one another to build off of each others thoughts and individual learning experiences. "Talks Moves" is an education tool that is benefical to both the students in your classroom, and yourself as an educator! 

Bennett Thompson
Bennett Thompson
2735 Activity Points

I think that a huge portion of fostering good discussion in your class is consistency in having enough time for discussions. In some classrooms, the teachers have little to no wait time after asking a question and/or after a student has answered the question. Both of these wait times are important because students need time to process what was said and to think of a response. Students know from past experience (in some classrooms) that if they do not answer a question right away then their teacher will just answer it for them. This makes it hard to have quality discussions when you want them to because they are not used to it.  It is also important to make time for discussions consistently. There is a difference in a teacher asking and answering questions and having a classroom discussion. Most students aren't used to having discussions in the classroom setting. Students have to practice how to have respectful and productive discussions in the classroom, which does take lots of time, but is important to do if you want to have quality discussions.

Madeline Chilton
Madeline Chilton
2870 Activity Points

Madeline,

Your post points out several very important issues in today's classrooms! First, the concept of wait time is one that is currently being taught heavily in my methods courses. Without proper wait time, much of the teacher's other hopes for his/her class (beneficial discussions, creating mental connections, and allowing time for meaningful learning) will not be able to take place. 

I also agree that discussion time is important, and that it is lacking in our schools. One reason I think this area is lacking is because students are slowly losing the skill of interacting face-to-face with one another, as technology grows and is misused. (That is another whole discussion, I know.) On track with this topic, though; I think that teachers are not giving students adequate time to process the question, make connections to their previous knowledge, and then form a well-thought out response. Wait time is something that would improve our classroom discussions immensely! 

Another tid bit that is important to note along with these topics is the issue of questioning. All too often, I think teachers skip over quality questioning, which includes not only asking thought-provoking questions, but also asking probing questions. It is easy to implement probing questions into your questioning strategies by simply asking students higher order questions that contain higher order thinking verbs such as elaborate. You can also simply ask students "why" or "how do you know..." etc. to keep their minds moving along a certain path. 

A resource that I enjoyed reading touches on the combination of each of these discussion points, and I wanted to share it here. I found it interesting to see the improvement in both students and teachers, all thanks to the addition of a couple extra seconds on their typical wait times. Ultimately, it seems as if wait time can tie this all together. According to this article and the research it mentions, questioning and discussions will be improved as wait time is increased. 

https://www.ericdigests.org/1995-1/think.htm

Danielle Norton
Danielle Norton
2745 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, the best way to steer students away from wrong explinations is to let them have a conversation that a teacher is facilitating. It is important that students are able to talk through their ideas and be able to back them up with evidence and reasoning. A way to facilitate conversation so students get the knowledge they are supposed to get is to ask questions the right way. It is important to ask how students came to a conclusion, not just what their conclusion is. Talk Moves are also useful when facilitating conversations because they encourage thinking and listening. Talk Moves can be rewording what a student has said, or having another student add onto an answer a different student has given. Students should be given enough time before, during, and after a group conversation to think about their own ideas and determine a way to explain their ideas to the entire class.

Alex Sudtelgte
Alex Sudtelgte
2175 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!

My name is Abby and am currently a student at UNI. This semester I am in a science methods course and we have been working on how to get students to discuss with each other. We have learned that, as teachers, we can use probing questions to help students direct their discussion in the right direction. This is a way to help facilitate the discussion but also to help students become independant.

Abby Swiatly
Abby Swiatly
2085 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, 

I am a student at UNI, enrolled in Methods of Teaching Elementary Science and we have been learning about effective strategies for supporting all students so that they can improve their level of discourse as this is an essential part of engaging in science and engineering practices. Following this we talked about “Talk Moves” like Shenay already mentioned where we as educators can use to guide our class discussions. With this, you bring about a question on how to really shift your students from wrong explanation by simply probing them to reasonable explanation without explicitly telling them that they are wrong. In one of the videos we watched in class, teachers used silent signals and strategies. I feel that this is extremely important as we will always have students who are shy, hesitant to speak, or fearful about sharing their thoughts. Silent signals and strategies invite those students to stay involved, and to express themselves in unthreatening ways. They gradually build up confidence toward verbalizing.

Tulia Mulibinge
Tulia Mulibinge
1885 Activity Points

Jillian, 

My name is Sydney Luu and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa studying Elementary Education. I am currently enrolled in a Science Methods course where we are discussing how to facilitate student learning rather than be a guide to it. When it comes to open discussion there is definitely a fear of going off track or not meeting the learning goal you wish for them to achieve. I think that the best way to navigate the discussion but not takeover is to listen to the student's understanding of the topic and use prompting questions to lead them to your main goal. When asking questions, make sure to provide an answer wait time and give them a chance to think about an answer. I think that this would be a great way to navigate discussion.

Sydney Luu
Sydney Luu
1265 Activity Points

Hello! My response is intended to add onto Macie Ault's comment listed above, it just didn't give an option to reply to her post!

Macie, 

I also loved all of the "talk moves" ideas we learned the other day in class. The videos we viewed were very eye opening to see some of the strategies actually taking place in classroom settings. There was never a teacher in any of those videos who told their students their answer was incorrect. Even if the student's idea was a little bit off, it would still bring up good discussion for classmates to go off of and either add to or disagree with. It's really not about right or wrong and giving away the answers to everything, but rather the importance can be found in all the ideas and conversation generated amongst the students. If definitions and new information are always just given to them, they never have to think things out in order to make sense of them. I believe students can learn so much from each other during classroom discussion and by teachers implementing these "talk moves" techniques that Macie listed above.

Cassie Elbert
Cassie Elbert
3345 Activity Points

Cassie, I agree with you, and my fellow classmates, on the importance of "talk moves" and think this will help you immensely, Jillian. Like Cassie was explaining, if a student's idea is not exactly the accurate way you would like for them to be thinking, I would suggest asking another student if they disagree or agree with this student, and what evidence that they have to support it. What I want to add on though, is to make sure you do not respond to any of the students answers with approving that this is the correct answer or disapproving. Take a moment to pause, and then ask the other student what they think, maybe a student who you may have been observing during class time that was understanding a concept the way you wanted. Then, use another talk move strategy, and have another student, or the student who did not get the concept quite yet, to rephrase or clarify what the other student said, again without saying if it was right or wrong. What is really great about these techniques is that you can use them in all subjects in school too. We watched videos of these methods being done in both science and math, so I would try these out in more than just science.

Jillian, in response to your question on where to find methods or research that can help further answer your questions, here is a document called the Talk Science Primer. Our professor highly recommended we take a look at for assistance in leading productive and meaningful discussions in the classroom. I would recommend looking at the chart on page 13 out of 22 to help you when you get stuck on where to steer the conversation. I found the questions that it suggests for you to be very helpful in better understanding how to master this activity in your classroom.

I am not sure why the file I wanted to share with you will not attach to my response, however, I will try and paste the link in here. https://s3.amazonaws.com/NSTA1/1439619/TalkScience_Primer.pdfAWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIMRSQAV7P6X4QIKQ&Expires=1538743690&Signature=n1C4FlxJPl13pFqTDTx3yrOYIlM%3d 

Natalie LoBianco
Natalie LoBianco
3248 Activity Points

Hi Jillian- I’m just about at the end of receiving my degree of an Elementary educator and have learned a lot throughout my education on facilitating discussion. Recently in my science methods class we have been discussing different questions to provoke discussion in students. I have learned that questions asked should address target science concepts, be open-ended so that students are not simply answering a yes/no questions, they should be person centered, equitable and used at the appropriate phase of inquiry. When referring to student’s responses/questions, a strategy that I find to be effective is repeating a student’s question or thought which gives not only the student assurance of their comment was heard, but also it gives everyone in the class time to think. When it comes to time to think, I have learned that it is effective for teachers to allow 3 seconds of wait time for students to think after a question is asked. Good luck!

Katie Costigan
Katie Costigan
2075 Activity Points

Jillian, like so many others, I am also in a science methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. To establish student discussions with science I would consider the 5E model in order to plan your instruction. It goes without saying that the use of productive and relevant questioning are needed for meaningful discussion. What I found to be of most importance is how are you engaging your students? How is what you are teaching relevant to their lives? Establishing prompts for this purpose would lead to efficient discussion within the classroom setting. Some other examples of strategies to use could be think, pair, share, answering in groups before whole class, or any form of informal group discussion. I think that asking for student's thinking is also a beneficial tool in discussion. "What made you think that?" As far as waiting time for an answer, 3 seconds is a short amount of time for elementary students. To really emphasize their thinking, give them at least 7 seconds to provide an answer. If they are still quiet afterwards, then provide an additional prompt to further their thinking/ level of understanding.

Kyle Skillings
Kyle Skillings
4340 Activity Points

Hey Jillian,

I am Brady Schmidt and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and I am studying to be an elementary teacher.  There are a few things that I feel like you should know to asking effective questions. I think that the main thing that you should do, is have a good wiat period between asking the question and calling on students.  If we wait about 7 or so seconds, then it gives the students enough time to thing and process what they are being asked.  It is also proven that the longer that we wait to make students answer, the better that they do on tests and the questions that are related to the topics.  This is a very important and under rated tool that teachers can use.

Brady Schmidt
Brady Schmidt
2430 Activity Points

Hey Jillian,

I am Brady Schmidt and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and I am studying to be an elementary teacher.  There are a few things that I feel like you should know to asking effective questions. I think that the main thing that you should do, is have a good wiat period between asking the question and calling on students.  If we wait about 7 or so seconds, then it gives the students enough time to thing and process what they are being asked.  It is also proven that the longer that we wait to make students answer, the better that they do on tests and the questions that are related to the topics.  This is a very important and under rated tool that teachers can use.

Brady Schmidt
Brady Schmidt
2430 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also a student at UNI. In our class, we have been talking about the 5 E’s and really digging into the Explain part. Questions can definitely lead your investigation or help it move into different directions from either you as the teacher or the students. We talked about having productive questions. Making sure when you are asking a question it is person-centered, like using the word “you” in your questions and making them more personal to the students. Having the questions be open-ended questions, not having one answer to your question. Also making the question equitable so all students can answer It.

Natalie Witt
Natalie Witt
2735 Activity Points

I am also in a Elementary Teaching Science class and we are discussing this topic too. In our class we have learned about ‘talk moves’ that are tools to help students to share, listen, and deepen their thinking with others. An example of one of these talk moves is to add on. You can do this by asking your students to add onto an idea that another student has. This gets the other students to give their suggestions. When they do this they could be agreeing, disagreeing or creating a new explanation all together. This would help your problem of steering clear of wrong explanations. Another important thing to do is to ask the student to explain their evidence or reasoning for a claim. You can navigate students in the right direction with this by restating the claim that a student shows.

Hannah Leist
Hannah Leist
2625 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! I’m currently enrolled in a science class at UNI and we have been talking about effective discussions in class. One thing we have learned is to pick something students are interested in. To navigate their discussion keep your questions open ended so there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. In addition, if a student says the wrong answer and you know another student knows the correct answer, you could call on that student to explain their claim and reasoning behind their claim. Another way to get students to thinking about what they are learning is allowing them to talk with a partner about their answers as well as giving them wait time after asking a questions to allow them to deeply think about what you are asking. In addition, you could ask your students if they agree or disagree with what is being discussed and if they disagree ask them to back up their claim.

Hannah Heissel
Hannah Heissel
2580 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am currently studying Elementary Education at the Univeristy of Northern Iowa. As part of our educational journey, we are required to take Science Methods. This class been very beneficial to my learning and will definelty help my instruction when it comes to science. Right now we are discussing the importance of classroom discussion and the appropriate questions, we as teachers, should be asking. The most important take away, is to have the discussion and questions open-ended. Having students participate in inquiry based learning gives them the opportunity to think more critically. It is also important that we remember to keep it person centered so the student is given the opportunity to not only explore for themselves but also think critically on their own. There are lots of ways you can incorporate these into your own classroom. One big way that I will practice in my own classroom is talk moves. This lets the student answer indepth questions without the help from the teacher. It helps them effectively communicate their own ideas while backing it up with evidence. 

Anna Jochum
Anna Jochum
1045 Activity Points

Anna,

Open-ended questions are a great way to get students talking. However, what would you do for those 1-2 students that are never willingly to participate in class? Would their grade be affected? How would you get them to start participating? Thanks.

Claire Schroeder

Pre-service Teacher

Wartburg College 

Claire Schroeder
Claire Schroeder
170 Activity Points

I am currently in a PBL class, and we just went over our role as facilitators of discussion. #1 is that we avoid the urge to give "right answers" and be the expert. What do we do? 1) Ask questions to clarify 2) Solicit responses from students who may be hesitant to share ideas 3) Be the "referee" when the class rejects one student's ideas before any evidence has been discussed. As an "expert", the teacher shares what she knows, and the students become passive recipients. As a "facilitator, the teacher pulls information from students, and the students' role shifts to either experts or problem solves who recognize the need to find information. The students are active learners and consumers of ideas, a role we want students to master. 

Lynn Wakahiro
Lynn Wakahiro
180 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am also a UNI student in a science method class. Throughout our class we keep going over that we shouldn't just give students answers, even when they are getting off track. Instead we should probe them with questions so they get the answer/phenomina that we are trying to teach. Asking questions challenges what the kids already know and to explain what they think and why. This also helps students listen to each other and hear the different explanations of others.

Hope this helps!

Morgan Siems

Morgan Siems
Morgan Siems
2160 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am also a UNI Student in a Science Methods Class. This semester I have learned the importance of probing students with open ended questions. I love the idea of pushing students to create their own experiment because it gives them a chance to create questions and answers themselves. By using different talk points, lets the student think more critically about the question. Not providing a specific answer right away also gives them a chance to talk in a whole group discussion and create their own inquiries. It is also great for teachers because it gives us a chance to listen and gather information on student knowledge. 

Good Luck 

Ms. Jochum

Anna Jochum
Anna Jochum
1045 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am in the same boat taking a Teaching Science Methods course at the University of Northern Iowa. I think first to encourage the kind of discussion based learning you want, you have to start by having clear and defined discussion rules in your classroom, and that starts at the beginning of the year and don't always have to pertain just to science discussions. You can create those guidelines yourself or develop them with your students. 

Also, I think a great science teacher does a great job of talk moves and really knows how to handle common misconceptions, so a great teacher must be aware of the common misconceptions that could occur while learning. It's the same as debating someone--if you know what kind of arguments they'll give back to you, that makes you more prepared to handle their logic and combat it. Now, a student's misconception isn't a combatitve approach, it's just incorrect, but knowing what causes a student to come to a wrong common conclusion makes it easier to identify where the missed connection took place and correct it. When you know what's missing in their understanding, it's not only easier to fix, it's also easier to fix in a compassionate way because you understand how they could come to an incorrect conclusion. Even though they become aware they were incorrect, it's more comforting to know their line of thinking isn't out there and they're completely off the boat on their ideas.

I think all discussions require an element of compassion and understanding to be the most effective they can be! Good luck in your future as an educator!

Mr. Westhoff

Spencer Westhoff
Spencer Westhoff
2380 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am taking a course on science teaching methods. One strategy to suggest for your situation is, letting the students find the answer for themselves through testing/experiments. When questioning students, you don't want to use responses which indicate a right or wrong answer. Instead try saying something along the lines of "Does anyone else think the same thing? Why or why not?" or "What is another idea we have about this phenomena?". The goal of effective questions are to make the students think before they answer and think about their thinking (metacognition). We don't want to ask simple yes/no questions. Instead we need to be asking questions as the facilitator of discussion that encourages strong answers, wonder, and explorations.

Leah Willie
Leah Willie
1790 Activity Points

I'm currently a junior at UNI and I'm taking a science methods course right now. We talked a lot today about "talk moves" and I think that there are some really great ideas that align with these talk moves. One thing that I really liked, and I saw that Macie liked as well, was the repeating a student's thought or question. This not only helps the class to understand what the student was saying or asking, but to help me as an educator to understand what the student is trying to say or ask. This way, the students see that I am paying attention to them and I am trying to understand their ideas and continue teaching with their ideas in mind. I think it's also a really important to let the students find answers on their own instead of telling them the answer. You can lead them to understanding by asking them probing questions. Along with this idea, I think it's important not to tell them whether they are right or wrong. They should get to that conclusion on their own but, again, it is important to ask them those probing questions to get them thinking and to encourage them to go deeper into their ideas. Students need to be given the opportunity to come up with their own ideas and use those ideas to build on their knowledge and understanding. Asking the students questions to get them thinking is a great idea to guide them in their understanding of the content that you are trying to teach to them.

Payton Meyer
Payton Meyer
5150 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am currently enrolled in a science methods course right now. We have talked a lot about "science talks" and how these can benefit our students. During our discussions, we've talked about what science talks are and what we, and our students, can get from them. A science talk is when the teacher poses a question and the students talk about it with one another. In a science talk, they share their own thoughts and ideas while listening to the thoughts and ideas of other students. In this situation, students become encouraged because they are exploring the question together. They look at things differently when they are faced with a different perspective. Through discussion, the students can dig deeper into content and learn about complex scientific ideas. I also think it is important for teachers to weigh in on these discussions as well. If the students are struggling or not digging deep enough, we must pose questions that direct students in the way we want them to go. We have to guide them towards the content we want them to learn but allow them to do the digging with one another.

Abby Moore
Abby Moore
1895 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! My name is Hollie Mathews and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa currently taking my Science Method course. In our class we have learned that "talk moves" can be productive moves that teachers and students can conduct during a discussion to better help the flow of conversation and understanding during a topic. Just like Audrey Klunenberg mentioned in a previous post, talk moves and certain discussion techniques can guide students out of their own misconceptions without you even having to tell or show them that they are right or wrong! Students are sophisticated beings and can very much talk their way through their own thinking when given the chance to! In my experience and from what I've learned from my classes here at UNI, students should be able to construct their own thinking and feelings about what they are learning. When prompted with the right questions, there is nothing they can't accomplish when it comes to their understanding on a topic. Good luck!

Hollie Mathews
Hollie Mathews
2075 Activity Points

Jillian, 

I am enrolled in a Science Methods course as well, and we are discussing discussion based learning. From what I have learned so far, I think it's important to navigate your students discussion, not control it. Having your students use evidence to support their thinking, can help steer them in the right direction of what you want them to be learning. You can also ask students if they agree with their classamtes. I learned about a hang signal that a teacher uses in her classroom when classmates agree with what their classmate is saying, which i thought was a pretty cool idea! As the teacher I have learned, it is important to give feedback to your students, but not tell them if they are right or wrong. It's also important to ask your students open-ended question, rather than yes and no answers. This way they can deeper there understanding and make connections!

Thanks!!

Paige Kayvan
Paige Kayvan
2740 Activity Points

Hello Jillian,

My name is Mackenzie Laven and I am a junior at the University of Northern Iowa! I am enrolled in a Science Methods course as well, and we are going over discussion based learning and how to use that in the classroom. I think as a teacher it is very important to prompt your students to get to discuss more with each other and not control the conversations as the teacher. You will want to ask open ended questions to deeper the thinking of your students. This way will help students understand why something works or the way it does and be able to explain and rationalize that rather than just answering yes or no. Using talk moves is a great way to guide your students to steer them toward the correct answer without explaining it out by yourself. Just like Jessica Fountain stated in a previous post, she would want to just share and explain the answer to her students right away. But now since we understand the meaning of talk moves and letting the students expand on what they are thinking, we can let them steer the conversation with the teacher just asking things like, if they can have someone add on, if they agree or disagree, or if they have a question. There are many questions we as the teacher can ask our students without giving them the answer, and letting their brains wrap around the ideas which are given to them.

Thanks!

Mackenzie Laven
Mackenzie Laven
3585 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!


Like many others in this thread, I am also a student at UNI taking a science methods course. We have been talking about discussion based learning in class. I think that it is important to incorporate “talk moves” into your discussion. This will make the discussion more productive, and students will be able to think deeper into it. I think one great talk move is to have students repeat or rephrase what their classmate just said. This will make each student accountable, and more engaged in the discussion. Another talk move that I liked is having students agree or disagree with what their classmates say. This allows the students to explain more about what they believe and they have evidence to backup their claims. By having this kind of discussion, it allows students to voice their opinions in a safe and open environment and without the teacher telling them if they are right or wrong.

Courtney Foertsch
Courtney Foertsch
2540 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

I am a student at UNI and taking a science methods course. In our class we have been talking about "talk moves" and the benifits that the students recive from them. Talk moves are very benifical to the students because it allows them to take control of the discussion.Not only are they more engaged in the discussion but it allows them to explore and expand on the students thinking. There are different types of of talk moves that you can use in your classroom.you can ask  students to partner talk about different topics, this allows them to bounce ideas off each other , it can also help students have a better understanding of a specific topic. Agree/Disagree and why  would be another talk move you can use. Asking students if they agree/ disagree and why allows them to think deeply about what others are saying. You can also use rephrasing to make sure that you have understood what a student has said and this allows students to expand on the idea and allows others to elaborate on them. I hope this has helped !

Nancy Cuellar
Nancy Cuellar
3195 Activity Points

I am currently a student taking a science method course at the University of Northern Iowa and this is a topic that we are currently talking about now! This isa topic that is covered in a lot of my other classes as well! Having students participate in discussions is a great way for them to find answers on their own. I think any type of discussion is beneficial to all students. It is important to probe students in the right direction of the topic to make sure the discussion doesn't go way off topic though. If students are getting off topic it's important to get them back on topic by asking higher order thinking questions  withoutjust giving them the answer. We need to let students think and have them find their own personal methods to get to solutions. Just like Payton and Courtnesy said in previous posts using "Talk Moves" is a great way to help point students in the right direction without just giving them the right answer or just saying they are wrong. Talk moves allows students to use their own thinking to find solutions. These emphasize being able to think on their own, not so much of getting the right or wrong answer, which I think is very important. I have participited in one of these "talk moves" and it was a lot of fun to watch stuents use their own thinking startegies. Ithink a great way to incorporate these is to present a question to your class and let students take their best shot at it. Then come back and see what students have to say. Acppet all answers, but help point them in the right direction to get them to think of new strategies. If anything, students develop better thinking startegies! 

Matt Baker
Matt Baker
3360 Activity Points

Courtney,

I totally agree with you that incorporating "Talking Moves" into discussion can make the discussion more productive and have the students think more critically. It also provides everyone to contribute and have students motivated to participate. I like how in your discussion you talked about the different ways teachers can incorporate "Talk Moves" into their classroom. For example, students can repeat or rephrase what their classmate just said or students can agree or disagree with what their classmates said. These two different "Talk Moves" allows students to be more accountable and engaged into the discussion like you said in your discussion post. One thing you didn't mention in your post that I think is important to add is why science talk is important. Talk in science is similar in many respects to talk in other subject areas, but has certain unique characteristics that focus on generating explanations of the natural world, based on data and models as evidence or tools in devleoping explanations. By providing these "Talk Moves" into classroom discussion, it can provide students to have these science talks in the classroom about their explanations. It allows students to give their opinions without feeling judged or unsafe on their repsonses. Teachers provide a safe and respectful classroom environment for students to voice their opinion and explanations. 

I found a good article online that talks about science talks. Within the article they give explanations about how science talks support science learning, support language development, and how classrooms with successful cultures of talk tend to share certain features and practices. "Discussions are an integral part of doing science. When students have conversations in which they share their observations, interpret evidence, and explain their findings, they support one another in making connections, refining ideas, and developing new perspectives." https://www.exploratorium.edu/education/ifi/inquiry-and-eld/educators-guide/science-talk 

 

 

Ellie Meade
Ellie Meade
2045 Activity Points

Hi Jullian,

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa to become an early childhood educator. I am currently taking a science course where we discuss and explore different developmental concepts that will help students understand science in the outside world and the understanding of when to aplly skills gain from science. I think your main idea which is to have students conduct their own experiement and to evelauate their work is an excellent way to have students explore and investigate a scientific phenomenon. A way to make ure students are having productive discussions is to provide and exit activity for your students. GoogleClassroom or GoogleForms would be a great resource to create an exit activity. 

Thanks, 

Brittany 

Brittany Price-Bolden
Brittany Price-Bolden
2060 Activity Points

Jillian,

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in elementary education. I am currently enrolled in a science methods course. I think your question is really important to think about. Something I think may help is providing your students with a few articles and have them go through and evaluate those to help facilitate discussion. If not this, I would prompt the students a lot. If you see them going in a different direction, ask them "Why?," "explain to me more," etc. This may help your students realize what they're thinking may not be correct and they can backtrack to figure out where they may have went wrong. I hope this helps! -Beth

Elizabeth Reed
Elizabeth Reed
2085 Activity Points

Hello Jillian, 

I am also currently in a Methods of Teaching Science class at the University of Northern Iowa. In class we have had alot of discussion and videos showing us how to use discussion based learning that is productive. In order to have a productive discussion students must be taught how to do so. In a book I read for a previous class, they recommend using anchor charts to provide you students with sentence starters. Students will use these as prompts to guide explaining their thinking, agreeing, explaining, and adding on to others. By having students lead the discussion they will be forced to think through their thinking and show any misconceptions they may have. This provides the teacher with formative assesment to know what they later need to explain after the dicussion and what points need to be focused more upon.  As a future classroom teacher, you will know what a good quality classroom discussion will look like as students respect eachother, restate what other students have said, and bounce off other students ideas. Productive dicussion should be included in every classroom. 

Hayle Gaul
Hayle Gaul
1715 Activity Points

Hi Jillian- This is such a great question that I think of a lot teachers (new and experienced) would love to know more about. I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa in a Methods of Teaching Science course, and we have talked a lot about productive discussions. Students cannot have productive discussions on their own; they need to be taught the expectations of how and what a respectful, meaningful discussion looks like. In order to do this, talk moves are a great way to get students engaged in conversation, and learning from each other. Getting students to expand and clarify their own thinking, listen to one another, deepending their own reasoning, and having them think with others will help students discover truth. A strategy that is quite effective when responding to student response or question is repeating whaty they said back to them. This gives the student, and the rest of the class, an opportunity to think about what they said or asked, and push their thinking. Best of luck!

Riley Bodley
Riley Bodley
2665 Activity Points

Hi Jillian, 

The is a common question among many future educators and it does not have just one answer! I am an elementary education major at The University of Northern Iowa and we have been talking about the use of productive discussions in a Methods of Teaching Science course. The first step is teaching students your expectations when discussing topics and letting them know it is a safe place to answer and ask their own questions. They may not always ask or answer in way that perfectly fits your expected path of inquiring. There are always ways to put them back on the correct path, such as asking more questions related to topic you'd like them to be knowledgeable in. Talk moves would be a great way to get started! 

Melissa Brodahl
Melissa Brodahl
2065 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! 

That is a great question about teaching science to elementary students. I am currently a junior at the University of Northern Iowa studying early childhood education and I am taking a Science Methods course. I think that not giving the right answers right away is helpful. Students need time to create their own thinking about a topic and come up with an idea that makes sense to them to get them engaged at first. However, in order to teach them the right material, you could use talk moves in you disucssions wiht your students. These are ways in which teacher can help move the students' thinking in a way that guides them to get the end result we that is correct without giving them the anser. You can also rephrase question using "you" to make it personla to them. Ask the students "what do you think of this..". Ask students to defend their answe as well, and ask them a question that may push their personal theory of the topic in way that is not calling them out so to speak.

Rylee Flege
Rylee Flege
2075 Activity Points

Hi Jillian! My name is Daisy. I am a junior at UNI and I am currently taking a science methods class. Something that we have recently been discussing in class is ‘talk moves’. This strategy is a way to guide discussion in the classroom. One way to do this is to repeat a student’s thought or question after they make a statement. This not only helps you gain clarity on what the student is saying, but it also helps other students in the classroom grasp onto the idea as well. Another way to guide discussion when a student has misconceptions, is to ask if anyone in the class agrees or disagrees and ask them to support their claim. This will hopefully guide the topic to a true statement. Another way to use ‘talk moves’ is to create a wait time. After asking a question, give a few seconds of wait time for the students to think their answers through. You may also use this strategy yourself by giving yourself a few seconds of wait time before responding to a statement a student made. I hope these suggestions helped!

Daisy Johnson
Daisy Johnson
1960 Activity Points

Jessica, 

We also watched the same video in class today and I loved the way the discussion was carried out. Though, I have learned about talk moves in previous classes, especially math, I find them so important to carry out in every classroom discussion. They ensure that the students are doing the majority of the talking rather than the teacher and they help to the students to reach a more concrete understanding. My favorite of the talk moves is adding on to someone's thinking, because I think it gives the students an opportunity to pool all of their knowledge together to come to one final conclusion. Thanks so much for your insight!

Kaylynne Bratton

Kaylynne Bratton
Kaylynne Bratton
1985 Activity Points

Jillian, 

In my methods courses we talk a lot about talk moves and discussion strategies. Certain talk moves can be really powerful in student understanding. Teaching our students these talk moves, such as repeating what someone else in class has said, can help them connect with one another and learn from each other. Using these talk moves in discussion allows teachers to lead students in the right direction without straight up giving them an answer. It allows students to think things through and start to respect the conversation as a whole, not just what they have to say. 

 

Blake

Blake Miller
Blake Miller
1795 Activity Points

Hi Jillian,

Much like everyone else, I am also a student at the University of Northern Iowa currently in my methods of teaching science class. Recently in class, we have been discussing “science talk”. The science talk is students being able to share their own thoughts and claims on a given subject and then further discussing the topic. Throughout the discussion, as a teacher you can facilitate the discussion to make sure all students are involved and paying attention to what their peers are sharing. You can also lead the discussion by asking prompting questions (ex, What evidence made you think that? Can you repeat what {so & so} said). This allows you to lead to discussion, but allow the students to think critically and come to the conclusion based on their own thought and their peers. In regards to students having the wrong ideas, I think allowing other students to steer them in the right direction throughout the discussion would allow them to be able to address their misconception and be able to understand the right ideas. Allowing your students to participate in a “science talk” would allow them to think critically about their own thoughts, ideas, and their peer’s ideas as well! Good luck! 

Morgan Picolotti
Morgan Picolotti
3290 Activity Points

Jillian, I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa majoring in Early Childhood Education. I am currently enrolled in a science course and we talk alot about productive discussions. The students have to know how do so and what is expected from them during productive questions. To do this the use prompts to help lead them into thinking about certian ideas but then stepping back and listening to what hte students have to say.The students also have to feel comfortable and safe in their classroom environment so they are comfortable sharing their ideas with the class. Also if you repeat back what the student has said that can help all of the students in the classroom stop and think about what was said and really take a deeper look at the question. When worried about students having wrong ideas on certian subjects having these discussions and allowing other students in the class explain ther reasoning behind the right idea and helping lead them to the right idea can be important because they are not only learning the correct information but also learning about the misconceptions that can come along with it. It is so important for students to voice their opinions and to learn from the opinions of their classmates as well because they can all learn new information from each other.

Kaleigh Greufe
Kaleigh Greufe
2555 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!

Like so many others in this thread, I am currently taking my science methods course and the University of Northern Iowa, and until this course I had worried about this same thing when it came to teaching science, or any subject for that matter! Productive discussions are such a vital and important part of our students' learning process and can really help them grasp new concepts. In one of my classes we talked a lot about how to use students lead discussions, or as our textbook called it "real talk", as our main avenue of teaching. This allows students to talk amongst themselves to come to the conclusions we want them to with minimal interference from us. Our job is to ask probing questions to help guide our students in the right direction, and help keep them on track. Students often learn much more when they talk with their peers and work through stuff themselves rather than talking to us or having us lead them straight to the correct answer. It also helps the students build communication skills and how to disagree with someone in a way that isn't mean or argumentative. "Real Talk" also allows children to try multiple avenues to get to an answer. They get to use trial and error and collect and analyze data to come to conclusions, and then they get the opportunity to try out their new thoughts and ideas and find ways to make them work. As a teacher, we can ask questions like "How did you come to think that?" or "Where did you get that idea?", "Can you elaborate on that for me?", "Does anyone else have another idea?", "Can anyone rephrase what he/she just said?". Another way to facilitate this kind of discussion in your classroom is to rephrase what your students say yourself in order to make sure you understood them correctly and to make sure they other students are following along with what their classmate is saying. Converstations like these allow students to grow socially and educationally and really learn things from their peers. 

Kasey Lahart
Kasey Lahart
2460 Activity Points

As many have stated, there are several ways to go about asking productive questions to student and still allow them to take part in the learning and inquiring process. I feel the hardest part of being an educator is allowing students to sturggle and search for the answer even if they are not going in the correct direction. Productive questions are a great way to aid students in their independent discoveries. The questions should be open-ended and require students to have a deeper thinking of the subject. Probing is also a great strategy to give you a chance to guide the students thinking without telling them directly that they are incorrect. I hope this helps! -Caroline

Caroline Hunkele
Caroline Hunkele
1875 Activity Points

Jillian,

 

I am taking science methods at the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a degree in Elementary Education. I think it is very important to have meaningful questions that guide students in inquiry process. This is often something we talk about in not only my science class, but my other education classes as well. It's really important to let students learn with an inquiry based approach because ultimately it makes it more meaningful in my opinion. I think by using relevant questions and allowing student centered inquiry and discussion it can help them answer these questions. They are able to bounce ideas off each other to maybe think of something they didn't before, they could investigate and find out what works and what doesnt, etc. You should also be prepared to help guide your students if they are on the completely wrong track. So I try to think of anything that could go wrong or mistakes they could make, and have a plan to guide them to the right answer but allowing them to find it themselves. 

 

Payton

Payton Cannon
Payton Cannon
1755 Activity Points

Hi Jillian!

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) studying to become a teacher. As I am taking courses to prepare me for teaching, I am participating in a science class that teaches us how to teach elementary students science. We have been working on using the 5E's for lesson planning (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). The lesson we are currently working on starts with the first part in creating a good discussion from your students is to make sure that your classroom is a safe place and the students are able to voice their opinion without getting put down. Next, and I think this is very imporatant that the teacher not ask any yes or no questions or only one answer quesetions. Questions should make students think deeply and really draw on their infomation. A really great way to draw informaiton and guide discussion is to ask students to "tell you more" and then to always retell what a student has said to the group. I hope these suggestiong help you guide your lesson's discussions. 

 Emily 

Emily Seegers
Emily Seegers
790 Activity Points

Hello! I think one of the most important thing you can do for your students is give them time to really think through their ideas and be able to discuss them with their peers before giving you a definitive answer. Students should also always be backing up their new ideas with research in rorder to determine if they are true or not. Hope this helps!

Alison Becicka
Alison Becicka
3120 Activity Points

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