Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Talk Moves Success

Back in March I wrote about trying to use "talk moves" with my students with intellectual disabilities. Talk Moves are the new teacher-term for ways to get your students engaged while teaching. Asking your students to turn and talk to one another, asking them to justify their thinking ("How do you know?"), or to restate what another student said. 
I'd loved using these when I was a general education teacher and I was excited when I came up with a way to use them with my class. I wasn't sure how it would work and exactly how beneficial it would be, but I knew I'd seen growth when using them in the general education classroom. If nothing else it means that my students would know what was going on when they were in their inclusion settings.

So for three months now we've been using these strategies during morning meeting, particularly when it comes time to discussing the weather. Every day we turn and talk about the weather. Then I ask how they know what the weather is. At first I had to give them a prompt "Did you look in a book or out the window?"

On Thursday the weather was iffy. It was kind of cloudy, kind of sunny, and maybe a bit rainy. Each talking partner pair came up with a different answer. When one student said "It is cloudy" Rock Star loudly said, "NO! It is sunny." I asked her to politely restate her opinion by saying "I disagree" and then I said, "Why do you think that?" not having any idea what I'd get from her. Why questions are usually not met with any logical reasoning in my class. 
"I looked out the window!" she said confidentially, and pointed out the window, justifying her opinion to her friend.

It seems little, but oh, in that moment I gave her a huge high five and we all cheered. 
1) She'd answered a WHY question. Appropriately
2) She'd justified her thinking- something we try to get kids to do in gen ed
3) Unprompted she was able to tell me how she knew something. She's starting to get it. She's starting to understand that you don't just KNOW things because your brain tells you them- you can actively find them out.

I was on cloud 9. Of course, when I turned to her friend and asked her how she knew it was cloudy she said something about Halloween, so I didn't stay on cloud 9 for long.

But it's working. Slowly we will get there. My kids, our kids, they are KIDS who benefit from the same strategies used with gen ed kids. 

1 comment:

molly said...