Critical Thinking Discussion Activity for Any Text: Real Talk Discussion

Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
18 pages
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Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


Are your lit circles and other small group discussions feeling stale? Are your students just taking turns sharing what they gathered for their lit circle roles? Would you love to see students taking ownership over their discussions, engaging in more natural and fruitful conversations?

You might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Yes! But how can I let students run their own discussions while still giving them structure and holding them accountable for their contributions?”

This is where Real Talk comes in. This procedure works with almost any novel, story, or article, and it releases students from “roles” while still guiding them through a process. With this resource, students will learn about different kinds of talking points, write their own talking points in an organizer, transfer their favorites onto sticky notes, then use a fun Discussion Board to start sharing and listening! The main tenet of Real Talk is “Discuss, don’t rush,” as students really dig into their discussions in a way that is meaningful for them. 

As a teacher, not only will you appreciate listening to discussions that are more, well, real, you will also love how easy this resource is to use. Once students learn the procedure, you can use Real Talk all year long, during any unit. It’s a win for the whole class!

Note: This resource is the more general version of the Real Talk activity located in some of our other resources. If you own any other EB Academics resources, check to make sure you do not already have a more text-specific version of this activity before purchasing. 


  • Instructions for Use
    • Simple to follow directions for preparing and running this lesson

  • Discuss, Don’t Rush Poster
    • A helpful poster to put up in your classroom to remind students not to rush through their discussions

  • Talking Points Handout
    • A helpful handout for giving a mini lesson on 6 types of talking points (questions, quotes, observations, etc.)

  • Note-Taking Organizer
    • An organizer in which students write down their talking points before transferring their favorites onto sticky notes

  • Real Talk Discussion Procedures
    • Directions to help students understand the process of a Real Talk discussion

  • Discussion Board
    • A fun, printable board for students to place their sticky notes during discussion. It includes an area for talking points yet to be discussed, an area for the talking point “under discussion,” and a spot to place their very favorite talking point to share out with the whole class afterward.

  • Discussion Reflection
    • A brief reflection to gauge students’ thoughts on their discussions. It also asks students to choose one talking point and respond to it in writing, so you have a written product to help in assessing individual understanding.

  • Real Talk Rubric
    • An easy-to-use rubric for grading discussions.

  • Digital Version
    • Save paper with this digital version!

Due to the digital nature and instant download of this resource, all sales are final and non-refundable.


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Total Pages
18 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.
Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.
Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


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