The Talking Sticks strategy is adapted from the resource, From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks: 100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in k-12 Inclusive Classrooms by Paula Kluth and Shiela Danaher.
As discussed in this month’s Tip of the Month, this strategy provides students with a visual support for initiating and maintaining conversations.
- Popsicle/craft sticks
- Fine-tipped marker
- Plastic cups/jars
- Brainstorm questions that students can ask one another to stimulate conversation. For fun questions ideas check out this icebreaker ideas website.. You may want to think of 3 to 5 related questions that students can follow to facilitate reciprocal conversation about a particular topic. Questions should be written at students’ reading level to facilitate independent participation in this activity.
- Use the fine-tipped marker to write one question on each stick.
- Place the sticks in a cup. You may want to have colour-coded sticks indicating which relate to the same topic, or have different cups of sticks for different topics of conversation.
- Have students take turns selecting sticks from the cup and asking questions of one another.
Encourage them to follow this sequence for each question:
Student 1: Ask the question
Student 2: Respond to the question
Student 1: Make a comment about the response
This strategy can be used in a classroom, with a small group, or during one-to-one social skills instruction.