Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Think–Talk Sticks and a Freebie Link

Okay, so I'm doing another post for Monday Wednesday Made It! I have little tool that could be useful in many classrooms, and now that Monday Made It is making it's move for the school year to just monthly, I don't want to wait to share. I call them Think–Talk Sticks.

These can be used lots of ways
This idea has two sources. I found it through Betsy Hubbard's post at Two Writing Teachers and she gives credit to Kathy Collins from The Educator Collaborative. Kathy originally used her sticks during reading. She has students place their stick near a character in a picture to talk about what the character might be thinking or saying. Betsy furthered the thinking by applying them to writing workshop. Betsy gives each of her students a stick to hold up when they are formulating their ideas and planning what to write, and then they turn it over when they are ready to share with their partners.

When I read about the sticks being used in these two good ways, I thought of yet another time when they might be useful and that is in group discussions. When I ask a question kids could show they were thinking of their answer, and then when they were ready to share, flip them over. I'm hoping it will increase student engagement by giving kids an action to show on the outside of what's going on inside their head. Some kids are always ready with answers, but others need a bit of help, and this would let students know what the expectation is. I would be able to say, "I see soandso thinking of their answer and I'll watch for him to let me know when he has it." And besides, think-talk sticks are fun and there is good purpose to pulling out a widget every once in a while– remember the brain grooves on novelty.

For all these reasons, I was all about the sticks. Betsy has a freebie sheet of the think and talk balloons– thanks, Betsy! You can simply cut them apart and glue them on either side of a stick. This being the season of extra hands available for cutting and a hot laminator at the ready, I decided to fancy them up a bit.

I happened to have black Post-its on hand, so I stuck the think bubble to the Post-it then laminated. I laminated the talk bubble, too. Hot glue worked well at attaching them to the sticks.

I didn't have any colored sticks at home, so a few seconds with some Sharpies and the sticks had color front and back. I color sticks like this sometimes because I like the uncolored stripe down the edge.

It was a lot of effort in cutting but I'm happy with them in the end. I'm not suggesting you do all this crafting, I sure don't usually when it comes to little sticks. I do encourage you, however, to click on Betsy's bubble page below to read her post and get her freebie. If you don't know about Two Writing Teachers check them out while you're there. This group of educators does a fantastic blog and I hardly ever miss it because I come away with new things to think about every time.

Click to go to Two Writing Teachers for the freebie

I bet if you make some of these you'll not only use them in the ways mentioned her, but in new ways, too. I love teaching tools that can be used over and over to stimulate student thinking. If you don't have time to make them now, Pin! Let me know in the comments what you think.

Trot back to Monday Made It. Find more stuff.


  1. Love the think-talk sticks! Awesome idea! I'm sure your kids will love using them!

    Teaching in the Tropics

  2. This is a great reminder for the kids that they are all supposed to be thinking! Excellent post!
    Not very fancy

    1. Thanks. I thought they were both useful and fun. See you later. Kathleen


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