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COVID-19 Quick View: Remote/Hybrid Learning Guidance & Resources

Accountable Talk Stems

Providing students a structure to engage in discussions

Overview

Accountable talk provides students with sentence stems they can use to jump into the conversation in meaningful and effective ways. Virtual and hybrid discussions can be challenging as students adjust to not all being in the same classroom. Accountable talk stems provide students a framework to agree or disagree with others, ask questions of each other, share an opinion, and paraphrase the discussion or a specific point. Teachers can prompt students to join the conversation by putting these sentence stems in a video meeting’s chat and/or by verbally prompting conversations using the same stems.

Examples of accountable talk stems are:

  • I agree with you because …
  • I have a different point of view …
  • To piggyback on what ... said …
  • In my opinion…
  • I have a question about …
  • I noticed that …

To help students practice accountable talk stems, hold a debate on a non-academic topic in which everyone can easily participate (e.g., pie versus cake, dogs versus cats). Have students use the stems during this debate, praise students when they use the stems, and encourage students to restate their sentences with stems if they do not use one. This will allow students to understand the structure and employ the stems with academic topics.