Putting the "Think" into Think-Pair-Share! | Crafting Connections
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Putting the "Think" into Think-Pair-Share!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Do you use the Think-Pair-Share engagement strategy in your classroom?  After posing a question, you tell students to think of an answer, turn to a nearby partner (pair), and students share and compare their responses. For me, the hardest part of this strategy is providing the appropriate amount of think time. In an effort to keep kids on-task and the lesson moving, I know that I often do not provide enough think time, especially for my ELLs.
Recently, I was scanning a book (Amazon affiliate link follows) called Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner and was reminded of Quick Writes and Quick Draws! It was a light bulb moment for me... if I ask students to quickly write ideas or quickly draw an idea during their "think time", I would be more likely to give students the time they needed to process an answer to the question!  Here's a brief description of how each works along with an example:

Quick Writes
1.  The teacher poses a question or task.  How can weather affect our water and food supply? 

2.  Students are given a certain amount of time to jot down a response.  For the next three minutes, jot down your reflections on how weather can affect our water and food supply.  Most of the time, a list of phrases is fine with me.  In the book, the authors mention the option of writing a word bank of required words on the board (like "drought") so that students are required to interact with key vocabulary.

3.  When the 3 minutes have passed, instruct students to turn to a nearby classmate and share and compare their responses.

Quick Draws
I especially like to do these to review vocabulary words.

1.  The teacher poses a question or writes 1-3 vocabulary words on the board. reservoir, aqueduct, and drought

2.  Students are given a certain amount of time to draw or sketch something in a way that illustrates the meanings of the words.  Write these words in your notebook. For the next four minutes, draw quick sketches that illustrate the meanings of the words.

3.  When the 4 minutes have passed, instruct students to turn to a nearby classmate and share and compare their quick drawings.

Students generally enjoy these engaging activities... especially the Quick Draws.  An added benefit of using these strategies is that they can serve as a type of formative assessment or exit ticket!  You can monitor which students seem to be having difficulty with the task and/or which students show full understanding and which students show partial understanding.

Thanks for stopping by!  If you have time, head over to Upper Elementary Snapshots where I am blogging about a lesson I learned the hard way about teaching author's purpose to upper elementary students.  (It includes a couple freebies!)


  1. How simple, but how important!! I can see how this would be helpful for all students, especially ELs by giving them time as well as preparing them to share. I would be able to walk around and notice who was struggling and help them out prior to them pairing and sharing. Thanks Deb!!

  2. Thank you for such a quick & easy tip to try! For younger students, I think it will help the more reserved students find their voice.
    Stories by Storie


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