Discussion Stems: Talk Moves for Student-Led Conversations | Digital and Print

Rated 4.74 out of 5, based on 19 reviews
19 Ratings
Reading and Writing Haven
Grade Levels
7th - 10th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
13 pages
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Reading and Writing Haven
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

What educators are saying

This resource helped my students start leading their own discussions and helped me move away from the centre of attention. Success!
Students found the stems very helpful to get started with discussions and then apply the same skills to other discussions.


Ready to level up student-led discussions? Build in discussion stems with accountable talk moves. Peer to peer conversations will be richer, and students will have specific strategies for pushing their thinking.


1. 40 discussion stem accountable talk moves

The discussion stems are in secure PDF format as well as on a Google Slide™. The Google Slide™ is secure, but a blank slide with a secure background and editable textbox is included. These talk moves are arranged in two formats. One is bookmark style. The other is an 11 x 8.5 reference page.

2. Posters

The four posters feature a variety of talk moves for rephrasing and clarifying, adding onto a comment, agreeing and disagreeing, and indicating shifts in thinking. Print them, hang them in the classroom, or use them on a secure classroom platform as a visual reminder.

3. Self-reflection and goal setting questions

Involve metacognition by encouraging students to reflect on their participation in student-led discussions. Students will indicate their progress for twelve different standards-aligned skills related to speaking and listening. Then, they will set a goal for growth and choose a strategy to help them get there. This activity is included as a secure PDF and Google Slides™ interactive activity.

Use these discussion stems with middle and high school students who are participating in small group or whole-class student-led discussions. Think: literature circles, fishbowl conversations, socratic seminars, and more.


Upon download, you will open the PDF and find the digital link. When you click on it, you will be prompted to make a copy for your Drive.


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Duplication limited to single classroom use only.

Electronic distribution limited to single classroom use only.

Total Pages
13 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.
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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