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Reflecting, Sharing, and Deepening Understanding

~ Self-Talk ~ 

Self-talk guides and deepens understanding...

Self-talk is the internal dialogue one uses to support construction and maintenance of understanding (Benson, 1993; 2004).  Self-talk nurtures and reflects one’s metacognition or regulation – knowledge about one’s own cognitive processes (knowledge) and the monitoring of these processes (skillfulness) (Hattie, 2009).  Whatever the content area, teachers need to model why and how to construct understanding for and with students.  As thinkers/learners/readers/writers/viewers work to understand, they need to use self-talk to guide, sustain, and fuel their thinking. 

Support Students’ Written Response and Metacognition with Self-talk

Model and practice how successful thinkers guide their understanding with metacognitive self-talk and/or how proficient writers work to craft their responses/ writing thinking with self-talk.  A few examples include:

I know…

Now I know…

I’m thinking…

I’m thinking that…because/so…

I wonder…

I wonder…I found out…

I  wonder…I found out…This seems important because…

I bet…

I bet…I learned…

I bet…I was surprised to learn…

I bet because…

I learned…

I learned…and now I will…

I learned…So…

What seemed most important was…

The most important thing/idea I learned about ____ was…I view this as important because…

I learned that…Now, I believe/feel/think…because…

I had to change my thinking about _____ because…

*The above stems can be utilized for admit/exit slips, Think-Pair-Share, Quick Writes, etc. and, again, care wonderful in strengthening students’ cognition about cognition.

Support Students’ Oral/Written Summarizing and Metacognition with Self Talk

Summing It Up” Self Talk        

“I found out…”

“I knew it…”

“I learned…”

“I was surprised to learn…”

“Pulling all this information together…”

“The most important ideas/information…”

“Okay, now I know that…”

“Comparing this information to…I now think that…”

“I didn’t know that.  That makes me think…”

"Here's what I know now/think now…"

"Wow, I never knew that…"

"Hmm, this seems really important because…"

"This is just like…but not like…"

“From all of this information, I would summarize…”

Clarifying "Sum Up" Thoughts:

"I am still wondering about…"

"I don't get this part…"

"I didn't really understand…"

"I'd better reread that…because I just don't get it!"

"I am not sure about…"

"What does this mean…?"

*The above Self Talk stems can be utilized for admit/exit slips (oral and/or written), Summary Paragraphs, Think-Pair-Share, Quick Writes, etc.

Caution: Our goal is always independence. We don’t want to put our students on writers’ welfare, right? So, do not always prompt students to use a set way to self-talk or respond. After a supportive period of modeling, collaborative practice, and independent practice with your feedback (via conferring, especially), encourage students to independently select the most helpful self-talk to guide their understanding and engagement.

3-Step Synthesis Strategy

Source: Laura Benson, Stephanie Harvey, & Debbie Miller. (1996). Language Arts. NCTE.

Model and practice the following Three Steps to guide students in creating a synthesis (oral and/or written) of their social studies or art learning.  Over time, encourage students to use summarize using these Three Steps after they read, hear, and/or view text.

1)  Tell the important ideas/parts.

2)  Tell them in order.

3) Don't tell too much.

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