M/EL Book Recommendations
Conversing with others has given insights to different perspectives, helped build ideas, and solve problems. Academic conversations push students to think and learn in lasting ways. Academic conversations are back-and-forth dialogues in which students focus on a topic and explore it by building, challenging, and negotiating relevant ideas.
In Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings authors Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford address the challenges teachers face when trying to bring thoughtful, respectful, and focused conversations into the classroom. They identify five core communications skills needed to help students hold productive academic conversation across content areas:
- Elaborating and Clarifying
- Supporting Ideas with Evidence
- Building On and/or Challenging Ideas
This book shows teachers how to weave the cultivation of academic conversation skills and conversations into current teaching approaches. More specifically, it describes how to use conversations to build the following:
- Academic vocabulary and grammar
- Critical thinking skills such as persuasion, interpretation, consideration of multiple perspectives, evaluation, and application
- Literacy skills such as questioning, predicting, connecting to prior knowledge, and summarizing
- An academic classroom environment brimming with respect for others' ideas, equity of voice, engagement, and mutual support
The ideas in this book stem from many hours of classroom practice, research, and video analysis across grade levels and content areas. Readers will find numerous practical activities for working on each conversation skill, crafting conversation-worthy tasks, and using conversations to teach and assess. Academic Conversations offers an in-depth approach to helping students develop into the future parents, teachers, and leaders who will collaborate to build a better world.