Tools to Let Students Share their Thinking


111115-shy-1200x628-3Sometimes it’s hard to get some kids to speak up and share what they think and understand about a topic.  Playing snowballs is one of the tools that I use to get everyone share.  However, I think it’s time for the students to explore another way to express themselves.




I introduced them to chalk talk as we’re unpacking our unit about stories. 

…..Chalk talk is a useful tool for making thinking visible, and its simple structure focusing on reactions, connections and questions fits within the definition of a thinking routine. ( Ritchhart, Ron. Making Thinking Visible. Pg.78)


The students are asked to read, think, understand and respond to the topic and thoughts of others silently.  It wasn’t easy at the beginning as the students tend to throw comment directly and forget the rule of ‘responding silently’.  This activity gets students participate and I could see a few students who are reluctant to share and not so confident using the language, put their thoughts in the language that they are comfortable with.

‘This ‘silent conversation’ provides learners with time to follow through thoughts without interruption by choosing when they are ready to consider other points of view and make comments’ (Ritchhart, Ron. Making Thinking Visible. Pg.78)


Another tool that I have been using to get everyone speak their mind and letting them to have sufficient thinking time is using Padlet.  Padlet is an online virtual “bulletin” board, where students and teachers can collaborate, reflect, share links and pictures, in a secure location.

Last week, as the students were going through their questions about what makes a good story and what the story elements are, I prepared a Padlet board where they can share their understanding.  We had a book tasting activity. Then, they went on BrainPop Jr and explore the reading and writing part to support their wondering.  After getting information about authors and the story elements, they were asked to share information they got as well as respond to other’s thoughts.

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Both Chalk Talk and Padlet provide students with proper time for students to read and understand before they respond to others.  This allows quiet and ‘not so confident’ students to take part.  The ‘comment’ feature on Padlet allows students to respond to others as in Chalk Talk.  Both Chalk Talk and Padlet let students to collaborate and share their ideas/opinions


Padlet is one of the tools to develop one of the ICT skills in the PYP which allow students to actively participate in creating and sharing knowledge.

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The Role of ICT in the PYP –


Whether it’s a paper-pencil based activity or using devices (ICT), as teachers, we should always go back to the objective of the learning experience which we plan.  Whatever tools we use, we should make sure that all students have the opportunity to share and express themselves.


Which other tools have you used in your class to let students share their thinking?



  1. Which other tools have you used in your class to let students share their thinking?

    WeVideo for Schools is a great tool for demonstrating and sharing learning


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