SOS Top 10: Building Student Communication Skills | Discovery Education
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SOS Top 10: Building Student Communication Skills

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With so many students learning across different environments, from in class to remote or a mix of the two, it’s crucial to help them find ways to properly convey their thoughts, understanding, and emotions. And we want to help you help them! Take a look at this Top 10 list of instructional ideas that build student communication skills, including giving feedback, recognizing multiple perspectives, articulating ideas, and taking turns in conversation.

Give Constructive Feedback

IDEA Share

Give students a structured process to participate in peer reviews with IDEA Share. As they rotate, they review the work of other students and comment on four specific areas.

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Quick Conference

Use Quick Conference for students to practice peer conferencing and enhance their ability to recognize when and how to cite text evidence when responding to focus or guiding questions.

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XO Let’s Go

Have students work in pairs and practice listening intently to what their partner shares. Partners take turns sharing what they’ve learned from a digital media selection while making sure they don’t repeat any facts that have already been shared.

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Talking Sticks

Use this activity to encourage an equitable structure for group discussion. In groups, students use a talking stick to designate a speaker. Other students who wish to share must wait until the talking stick is passed to them, signaling their turn to talk.

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Find educator-facing videos and downloadable PDFs for each strategy in our SOS Top 10: Building Student Communication Skills Studio Board!

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Recognize Multiple Perspectives

Take a Stand

Ask students to take a stand, both literally as well as figuratively, with this simple movement-based activity! Hearing from one another provides insight into how people’s experiences can shape their understanding.

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Multiple Perspectives

Have students engage deeply with an image or video as they assume a perspective other than their own. With this strategy, students create a narrative from inside a piece of media from the perspective of an object or person within.

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Conga Line

Encourage students to work with each other and incorporate movement to stimulate thinking and participation. Students line up opposite one another and then move through the conga line, pairing up and discussing a teacher-generated prompt before separating and moving to the next person in line.

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Clearly Articulate Thoughts, Ideas, or Perspectives

Think Aloud

Use Think Aloud to help model thinking processes associated with a complex task. The strategy builds metacognitive awareness about the mental moves content experts make as they read, write, solve problems, and think critically.

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Four Corners

Get students up and moving while communicating their thoughts and understanding how their peers relate to the same idea. Have the four corners of your classroom correspond to an opinion or perspective related to a thought-provoking statement. After considering the statement, students move to the corner that aligns with their perspective and discuss their thoughts with other students at that corner before justifying their stance to the whole group.

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Telephone, based on the long-standing children’s game by the same name, offers students an opportunity to evaluate understanding and communicate the main idea of a media selection. A specific structure for written response and discussion helps students hone their ability to communicate what they’ve learned about a particular topic.

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Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt

Transform a passive learning experience into an active learning opportunity with the Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt. Identify vocabulary words and then have students demonstrate their understanding by clapping and defining the terms when they hear them in a DE video.

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Use these fun strategies to save time with lesson planning while facilitating valuable peer discussions and building student communication skills. Find more strategies fit all your learning goals in our SOS Instructional Strategies Channel, and check back soon for more tips from Discovery Education!

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