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TXTS 4 Teachers

Filtering by Tag: Student-to-Student Interaction

Targeted Instructional Strategies

Ginger Topize


What Would Marzano Do?

Robert Marzano's research from Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement listed nine strategies that yielded high results. They are:

If you are interested in knowing how successful each are, check out his book or visit this PDF adaptation. Warning: without the book you might not realize that there is also a matter of HOW well the strategies are implemented. 

Wah wah wah wah wah....

Ginger Topize

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris wrote a book on a project titled, "Who's Doing the Work." Something I know you say to yourself often. But what if you did less and the students did more?

Limiting "Teacher Talk," Increasing Student Work author Tori Filler shares the meat of this project in her Achieve the Core article. She explained the after only a month and a half of working on the project, 90% of the teachers reported that their students were more engaged and that they were, in fact, talking much less than previously. Here's some tips that the participants found most effective.

  • Elicit 100% participation

    • Example strategy: Think, Write, Pair, Share based on a MEATY question

  • Beef up discussions

    • Example strategy: Reduce ping pong between one student and you. Include others teaching them how to listen first, then agree, contrast, add on, and so forth.

  • Read, read differently, then read differently

    • Example strategies: Increase reading time by providing support strategically, use partner reads, echo read, re-read, annotate, cite evidence.

  • Build Independence

    • Sample Strategies: Explicitly teach students to engage, facilitate student-led discussions, read and re-read more, and self-assessment (and how to adjust one's self).

If you visit the article, you can find the entire list of strategies.

Challenge: Do a small scale research project in your own classroom by implementing one of the strategies for two weeks. You might be surprised what you learn.


Resource attributed to Michele Rutin, Peer Evalutor and Education Aficionado.



Ginger Topize

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

I forgot!


The research is in. Our brains are hardwired to forget. Which may explain why the kitchen trash never seems to go out!

It's frightening to study the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve (below), but we can ALL identify! Fortunately, research also tells us what we can do in our classes to fight these odds. Scroll down for some quick tips.

Source: stuffforeducators

Source: stuffforeducators

 Why Students Forget---and What You Can do About It by Youki Terada shares with us 5 researched strategies to make the learning "stick."

  1. Student Conversations "not only increases retention but also encourages active learning (Sekeres et al., 2016)."

  2. Practice and practice aligned activities to give "multiple opportunities to review learned material."

  3. Frequent formative and fun assessments reduce anxiety as students become accustomed to showing what they know.

  4. Mixing it up. Grouping similar problems together to have the students practice over and over in just one way decreases thinking. Mix up problems/strategies to increase thoughtful learning.

  5. Images (or non-linguistic representations) help students recall information by attaching context to a visual cue.

Read the full article here.


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Academic Dialogue: Beyond the Basics

Marlys WeaverStoesz

The idea of structured, academic dialogue has received great attention in recent years.

This attention is well-deserved; Stanford University professor Dr. Jeff Zweirs provides clear justification for increasing academic dialogue as “the process of learning is actually a social venture, and interactions such as conversations (and specifically academic conversations) [help] students to enhance and broaden their comprehension of a specific topic profoundly and in a meaningful way” (Zweirs, 2014).  Yet, Dr. Zweirs’ research found most classroom academic conversations are dominated by teachers, robbing students of the rich opportunity to actively engage in a learning dialogue with their peers.  Armed with this knowledge, teachers have made a concerted effort to increase structured student-to-student conversations. As a result, students are now talking to each other much more often than in the past.

“Peanut butter and jelly partners” are probably familiar to most teachers, especially those teaching elementary-aged students.  It is an accessible strategy for creating “think-pair-share” partner groups to ensure equal participation and individual accountability.  The danger, however, is sometimes these sharing opportunities are merely a recitation of facts or lower-level comprehension.

Without a doubt, structures are a necessary foundation for academic conversations that foster deep and extended learning.  We are going to take this base even further this month as we share various resources to deepen teachers’ academic conversation toolkit.

To get us started, here are Dr. Zweirs’ “Think-Pair-Share Tips.”

In Think-Pair-Shares, students should:

Think about the possible responses and how best to say them in connected sentences (They can write them down, too, but shouldn’t read them when talking)

Interact face to face (face each other)

Take turns talking

Listen to remember, connect, and compare to what the partner says.

Give evidence from the book, discussions, or own life.

Ask clarifying questions to know more   (Do you mean that…? Why do you think that? Where does it say that? Did you get that from a random website? Tell me more about…)

Zweirs, J. (2014). Academic language literacy: tools & resources. Retrieved from and–resources.html