Saturday, February 20, 2016

Spark Student Motivation: Accountable Talk-Live Professional Development

My students and I conducted a LIVE lesson for teachers after school for professional development. This was motivating to the teachers and my students! They love showing off! :)
My students also loved that they were part of the SURPRISE! Our faculty knew I was facilitating the professional development, but they didn't know it would be a live presentation with my students!!!
(My students were hiding in the back room of the media center.)

It was soooo awesome. I started the workshop with why using accountable talk is so important in our classrooms and then pretended I was going to show them a video of my class in action. Of course, since there wasn't a didn't work. I acted all upset and struggled with the computer for a minute and then let them know it was ok because I had a back up plan! I walked over to the room, opened the door, and introduced my student participants! (The teachers were so surprised and excited!)
All of the teachers, all 50 of them, gathered around the group of desks and watched my students do their thing. I talked with the audience and my students at the same time explaining what I do and what my students are responsible for during this kind of lesson.

Students formed a discussion circle and used accountable talk and discussion stems to engage in a meaningful conversation with each other about a piece of text. They constantly cited evidence from the text to justify their thinking and prove their points. The stems help them lead their conversations and to stay focused with their arguments.
I wasn't nervous about facilitating the workshop or the lesson itself because I know my students' are amazing at accountable talk. However, I was scared they'd be nervous with 50 people standing around them and staring at them and they might not talk in front of that size audience.
BUT...I was wrong! They acted just like they do in our classroom! (Calling me over to show me the hearts they drew around my name at the bottom of the page, making jokes, and one even had to use the restroom during the lesson!)

The teachers laughed at their humorous comments and were as engaged as my students were. They were impressed with how much they pulled out of such a small piece of text. kids nailed it! They were so impressive. I seriously almost wanted to cry I was so proud of them. I've had these students for two years and to hear the conversations and dialogue they have between each other is beautiful. They've made so much progress together.

At the end of the lesson (my students didn't want it to end!), I allowed questions from the teachers to my students about the lesson, using accountable talk, and anything else they were curious about. Again, my students impressed me and were able to answer all of their questions with ease and with such enthusiasm. They did explain to everyone that we've been working on accountable talk for a long time and we do it often. They said they trust each other and know each other well enough to know when to include others in the conversation or help each other out. They are truly a class family.

The following is a short segment of the accountable talk lesson. You will see how my students engage in conversation with each other and build of each others' ideas and thinking.
**Ten of my students are featured in the video (I grabbed some extended day kids, teacher kids, and had a few volunteer to get picked up later). I have a variety of levels in this group including students that receive ESE and ESOL services. I wanted a mixed group to show that with practice, modeling, and the right tools, everyone can do it! :)

The materials/resources used in this video and to get my students to this level can be found here:
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.


  1. I love that you class is a class family! I am always striving for that with my middle school students! The idea of accountable talk is amazing. Thank you so much for this gem!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  2. You are a wonderful teacher!!! Very inspiring and so wonderful for you to do this WITH your students (invaluable to them and you) as a PD with your staff! This reminds me of the importance of accountable talk. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is AWESOME! Such a cool way to do PD.

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  4. WOW! I want that type of talk in my classroom! Thank you for sharing.

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