Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another New Instructional Strategy

Talking Chips

-Response management technique to encourage students who do not often contribute, and limit students who contribute too much to discussions.

This week I am going to implement a new strategy that I have never used before.  I am going to use this with my 3rd grade Title 1 groups.  What struck me about this strategy is that it answers the questions that I consistently have with all of my groups.  What do you do when one or two students do all of the talking/answering and the others don't say or get to anything?  Well, this appears to be the perfect "high yield" strategy.  I get several benefits from it including giving everyone a chance to answer a question or tell a story, it also helps to keep track of who has and has not had a chance to share, everyone needs to share something, and it lets the student be in control of when they want to use there chips.  
I have been using the talking chips with each of my small groups this week.  I explain to them they can use it to answer any question they want or tell a story about the topic we are exploring.  The strategy is seems to be fun for the kids.  They are excited to get there chips.  Having the chips gives them something to fidget with which has been OK so far.  The children differ in that some use theirs up right away answering questions and story telling and others wait to use them to the end.  They are thinking more about the questions rather than just spitting out just anything that comes to their mind.  The discussion seems to be more thoughtful.  It really is helping curb some of the students who talk all the time and share a story abut everything.  The strategy is forcing them to think and listen more than talk.  I can see another way to use the chips as well.  I want to try and have different students facilitate the discussion by being the questioner and chip taker.  More modeling needs to happen first though.  Overall, this strategy has been fun and is producing more thoughtful discussions with all students sharing.


  1. Beth-
    I love how you used this strategy! I have incorporated “talking” chips before as a behavior management strategy with certain kids who always seemed to seek my attention by asking questions they already knew the answer to, or simply wanted to come up and talk to me every chance they had! Since they were not able to modify their behavior through other practices, this seemed to be the one that worked. Once they were out of chips they had to answer their question by solving the problem on their own (ask a friend, re-read, think about it, etc) or wait until the next day to use a chip if they really needed to talk to me. Of course if it was something I absolutely needed to know, they knew emergencies were exceptions. I have never thought of the chips as an actual instructional strategy, I can’t wait to try that in my classroom! Thanks for sharing Beth!

    1. Emily...using the chips as a management strategy is a nice benefit that I soon could see taking shape. I have at least one student in every group that wants to answer every questions or tell long stories. This worked so great for those kids. With limiting their comments others were given a chance to speak. I have some students who hide out or are insecure about sharing out loud. The chips took their mind off of hiding and they had to turn them in and say something. Just figiting with them helped them focus on sharing with the group. Good luck and let me know how the strategy worked in your room. =)

  2. That is such a great strategy! I think it would work a lot easier with a smaller group, but I bet I would b able to incorporate it with my classes of 25-30, especially if they got to choose their own color of "chips"!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I totally agree with you Maggie. Using it with my small groups is easy to manage and I can see who has and does not have chips left. I would think that in a larger group it may be hard to see who has chips left. I think with good management it would work just fine. Good luck and let me know how it goes.