When in whole group, how do you have your kids know who to turn and talk to? At times, there’s someone with no partner and I have to help group them. Or one kid doesn’t have a partner. Any ideas?





Jennifer Morton

I have the same question. How do you teach students to quickly and efficiently “turn and talk”? The videos are helpful, but I am wondering about those quick sharing opportunities when everyone needs a partner. I have read about “Heads Up-Stand Up-Partner Up”. I have first graders. What routines have worked for you?

Bev Matson

I have watched the videos and they are helpful for partner read etc but not as much for the quick turn and talk. I do not have any ideas besides just having them look at someone and start talking. I often have to help kids partner up. So I am still looking for ideas.


I really think a big piece of Turn and Talk being successful is the modeling and practice when introducing the task to your kiddos, just as you do with Choosing a Partner for Read to Someone. Modeling the correct, incorrect and finally correct way it should look will give you kids that example to follow. Try doing this with topics you know they’d love to discuss, like “What are we going to play at recess?” or “What animals will be see at zoo on our field trip?” might be good ice breakers.
Just for fun, you might try this. Form two lines, facing each other. Set a timer for 30 seconds, and give the kids a topic to talk about. Then have the lines move one person in opposite directions to face a new partner. Set timer again with a new (or the same) topic.


Thanks Suzanne, I will try this next week:)

jana fitzpatrick

Great idea with the 2 lines and moving one person up/down!
Lots of modeling and practice. The Book : The First Six Weeks of School (no affiliation) has an explicit piece for teachers (primary k~3) about turning and talking.


I'm looking for ways to teach turn and talk too and I have that book. Thanks for the tip! I love this site.


Usually after a few experiences with this, the kids seem to pick up partnering without much trouble.  Of course, if you have an uneven number of students, you could either add a third to a partnership or be that student's partner. 

If you want it to be more controlled, perhaps you could assign weekly partners on Monday for the week (by drawing sticks with names, or some other method), then change each week.  



Hi Jana, I have this book and was wondering what page you found the turn and talk example on. 

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