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The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations

The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations
Practices, Scaffolds, and Activities

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November 2017 | 160 pages | Corwin

“For thousands of years people have been using the skills we describe in this book to engage in conversations with others. What isn’t as prevalent, however, is instruction--especially in primary grades—in which we engage students in productive conversations about academic ideas. This book fills that very big need.”
--Jeff Zwiers & Sara Hamerla

Talk about content mastery . . .

Primary teachers, you won’t want to miss this: if you’re looking for a single resource to foster purposeful content discussions and high-quality interpersonal engagement, then put Jeff Zwiers and Sara Hamerla’s K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations at the top of your reading list. 

Whether your students love to talk or not, all must be equipped with key conversation skills such as active listening, taking turns, posing, clarifying, supporting with examples, and arguing ideas. This ready resource comes packed with every imaginable tool you could need to make academic conversations part of your everyday teaching:

  • Sample lesson plans and anchor charts
  • Guidelines for creating effective prompts
  • Applications across content areas, with corresponding assessments
  • Rubrics and protocols for listening to student speech
  • Transcripts of conversations and questions for reflection
  • Companion website with video and downloadable resources

Tens of thousands of students in the upper grades have reaped the benefits of academic conversations: high-quality face-to-face interactions, increased motivation, stronger collaborative argumentation skills, and better understanding and retention of content. The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations is that resource for providing your primary students with the same powerful learning opportunities. 

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Building a Foundation for Conversation Work
Chapter 2: Activities and Lesson Plans for Introducing the Skills
Chapter 3: Academic Conversations for Literacy
Chapter 4: Academic Conversations in Science, Social Studies, Math, and Art
Chapter 5: Assessing Student Conversations


Jeffrey Alan Zwiers

Dr. Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He supports the Understanding Language Initiative, a research and professional development project focused on literacy, cognition, discourse, and academic language. His current research focuses on effective lesson planning and classroom practices that foster academic interactions and literacy. More About Author

Sara R. Hamerla

Dr. Sara Hamerla is an ELL Administrator in the Newton Public Schools. She has taught English as a second language and served as an administrator in public schools in Massachusetts. Her teaching experience also includes teaching history and language arts in Colombia and Ecuador.  In the past several years, she has trained many teachers on how to implement academic conversations.  More About Author

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ISBN: 9781506340418