I created this rubric to teach my students how to have meaningful, constructive conversations with each other. Not only will it help you intentionally build a respectful class community and address the Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening, but you will also reinforce those elusive 4Cs of 21st Century Learning: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.
Routines and structures for holding meaningful, respectful conversations are especially helpful for students with extra learning or behavioral needs and ELL students, but they are also useful digital citizenship reminders, and stretch the thinking of advanced learners too, by asking them how they can add more to a discussion, and giving them new ways to respond to others' ideas.
The nice thing about this tool is that it can be used across subject areas to provide cues for healthy debates and discussions, and it can help students navigate the social challenges of collaborative learning projects. Once you have established using the icons as a routine for holding conversations, you can spend more time deepening and extending the discussions, instead of dealing with hurt feelings and redirecting off-topic chatter. This blog post http://thefarreachteacher.weebly.com/blog/leaning-in-to-listening offers a summary of the powerful ways that meaningful conversations can create a culture of learning in a classroom, and highlights some other tips and tricks for developing confident conversationalists!
Jecca Lawson (The Far Reach Teacher)