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The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations

The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations
Practices, Scaffolds, and Activities

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November 2017 | 160 pages | Corwin

“For thousands of years people have been using the skills we describe in this book to engage in conversations with others. What isn’t as prevalent, however, is instruction--especially in primary grades—in which we engage students in productive conversations about academic ideas. This book fills that very big need.”
--Jeff Zwiers & Sara Hamerla

Talk about content mastery . . .

Primary teachers, you won’t want to miss this: if you’re looking for a single resource to foster purposeful content discussions and high-quality interpersonal engagement, then put Jeff Zwiers and Sara Hamerla’s K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations at the top of your reading list. 

Whether your students love to talk or not, all must be equipped with key conversation skills such as active listening, taking turns, posing, clarifying, supporting with examples, and arguing ideas. This ready resource comes packed with every imaginable tool you could need to make academic conversations part of your everyday teaching:

  • Sample lesson plans and anchor charts
  • Guidelines for creating effective prompts
  • Applications across content areas, with corresponding assessments
  • Rubrics and protocols for listening to student speech
  • Transcripts of conversations and questions for reflection
  • Companion website with video and downloadable resources

Tens of thousands of students in the upper grades have reaped the benefits of academic conversations: high-quality face-to-face interactions, increased motivation, stronger collaborative argumentation skills, and better understanding and retention of content. The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations is that resource for providing your primary students with the same powerful learning opportunities. 

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Building a Foundation for Conversation Work
Chapter 2: Activities and Lesson Plans for Introducing the Skills
Chapter 3: Academic Conversations for Literacy
Chapter 4: Academic Conversations in Science, Social Studies, Math, and Art
Chapter 5: Assessing Student Conversations


Key features
  • Provides a clear and convincing rationale for prioritizing oral language development through academic conversations in the primary grade levels.
  • Introduces core communication skills that teachers can model and practice with elementary students to improve the quality of oral language in the classroom. 
  • Provides applications across all content areas with corresponding assessments, including rubrics and protocols for listening to student speech
  • Explains how to analyze the conversations of students’ transcripts and determine areas of need at the message, sentence, and word levels
  • Provides guidance for engaging families and communities as partners in developing conversation skills.  
  • Online videos will provide a glimpse into the language production of students as well as provide an opportunity for teachers to practice using the protocol to listen carefully to language

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ISBN: 9781506340463

ISBN: 9781506340418