Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk is a great way to wrap up a lesson – and what I love best is that it requires very little prep!
What is it?
Chalk Talk is a silent way to do reflections, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects or solve problems.  It can be used productively with any group and because it is done completely in silence, it gives groups a change of pace and encourages thoughtful contemplation.  It can be an unforgettable experience. 
How Does It Work?           
1.   The facilitator explains very briefly that Chalk Talk is a silent activity.  No one may talk at all and anyone may add to the chalk talk as they please. You can comment on other people’s ideas simply by drawing a connecting line to the comment. It can also be very effective to say nothing at all except to put finger to lips in a gesture of silence and simply begin with #2.
2.   The teacher writes a relevant question in a circle on the board such as:
What did you learn today?
So what? or Now what?
What do you think about social responsibility and schooling?
How can we involve the community in the school, and the school in the community?
What do you know about Croatia?
3.   The teacher either hands a piece of chalk to everyone, or places many pieces of chalk at the board and hands several pieces to people at random.
4.   Students write as they feel moved. There are likely to be long silences—that is natural, so allow plenty of wait time before deciding it is over.
5.   How the teacher chooses to interact with the Chalk Talk influences its outcome.  The teacher can stand back and let it unfold or expand thinking by:
  • circling other interesting ideas, thereby inviting comments to broaden
  • writing questions about a participant comment
  • adding his/her own reflections or idea
  • connecting two interesting ideas/comments together with a line and adding a questions mark
This strategy works because it actively interacting invites students to do the same kinds of expansions.  A Chalk Talk can be an uncomplicated silent reflection or a spirited, but silent, exchange of ideas.  It has been known to solve vexing problems, surprise everyone with how much is collectively known about something, get an entire project planned, or give a committee everything it needs to know without any verbal sparring.


6.   When it’s done, it’s done.

Find it Fast


More From the Blog