Belonging Banner


Support feelings of relatedness and belonging within the classroom community

Talk Moves

These are sentence/question stems or discourse moves that teachers might say to students when enacting this MDP. Additional ideas and strategies for developing talk moves and classroom discourse skills for both teachers and students can be found in the Accountable Talk Sourcebook, Open SciEd Teacher Handbook, Talk Science Primer, and Discourse Primer for Science Teachers.

Because the five MDPs are synergistic, some talk moves found in this MDP overlap or align strongly with talk moves or talk move categories found in other MDP sections. These talk moves, or the overarching category, are tagged with color-coded dots showing the alignment with the other MDP(s).

Belonging Talk Moves

Principle: Develop warm, caring relationships

What to say when allowing students to express emotions
"I am sensing that you find [X] upsetting. What might help you to manage it better?"
“How are you feeling today?”
“It sounds like [X] made you feel [X]; I can understand why you felt that way.”
“I can see you’re excited about this!”
"I am sensing that [X] was tedious for some of you, did anyone find a different way to [X]?"
"All the hard work you all put in makes me so proud."
"As I observed you working/listened to your groups, I noticed... [something positive highlighted across multiple groups]."
"I haven’t heard from this group. What do you all think?"
"I hadn’t thought about it that way. That helps me understand this even better."
"I like that [student] shared [X] because …."
"It made me think of [X] when [student/group] said/asked/did….."
"Thank you for sharing, [name]... "
  • "...we should definitely talk more about this!"
  • "...I’d love to hear more ideas so we can unpack this even more." [Open up to class].
"I love to see your thinking caps hard at work."

Principle: Encourage Peer Connection

"We just heard [student] describe [X], who else had that observation?"
"Who wants to add on to what [name] said?"
"How does that connect to what [name] said?"
"Who agrees with what [name] said? Disagrees? Would anyone like to explain why they agree or disagree with that idea or add something?"
"Hmm...that's a great question, [name]. What does the class think?"

"With your base groups,[ , ] discuss who you think is the coolest science person out there!"

"Using your talk moves, let’s discuss as a class what we observed and what you think that means."
"Talk to your group members, you can help each other."
"What does your neighbor think? How does that inform your perspective?"
"What experiences has your neighbor had [with this skill/phenomena/etc]?"
"Turn to your neighbor and share what wonderings you have after today’s activity."
"The group effort in here is what makes us all grow, and that is super cool. You should be proud to be such team players."
"This [thinking/product/answer/model/analysis] that you have created together is powerful! Better thinking and better products happen when we all contribute."
"I love to see everyone helping each other!"
"It's very exciting to see all of you work together to figure things out."
"The teamwork in here is impressive. You all worked so well together."
"You all listen to each other very well; we are a strong community in here."

Principle: Illuminate ways students might identify with teacher and within science

"I actually don’t know how/why that works (or don’t know the answer to that question). I’ll have to look into that by [X] and get back to you."
"I have experienced (observed, etc.) that, too! Who can relate? Are there other experiences from your own life that this reminds you of?"
"This is what [X] reminds me of, but that is only my perspective that I got from my personal experience. What do you all think of?"
"We can all learn something from everyone in here, and I enjoy learning more as I listen to all of you."
"Can you all help me brainstorm how to..." [call on one group at a time to contribute]
"Everyone has such valuable input..."
  • "...who can share an example of this from their real life?"
  • "...are there other phenomena that you can think of that are interesting to you as an example of this concept/idea?"
"I love to see how each of you thinks about [x]."
"I'll bet there are lots of connections between [topic/phenomena] and your life outside of school. What connections do you see?"

Principle: Communicate an inclusive view of who belongs in science

"Good morning [scientists/engineers/biologists/physicists/geologists, etc]!"
"There is something in science for everyone--let’s see what part of science speaks to you."
"You may not know the scientist in you yet, but we all have a scientist in us and it’s so exciting to discover the ways we already think and 'do' like scientists."
"It's okay [not to know / that you found that challenging]. Scientists encounter challenges all the time; that's how they learn new things and make important discoveries."
"You're doing what scientists/engineers do."
"You all sound like scientists/engineers the way you are asking questions!"
"Scientists/engineers do that! How did you learn about/to do [X]?"
"If you like [topic], you might think about becoming a [X]"
"People from all kinds of backgrounds have studied this topic/helped us develop our current understanding of this topic."
"Did you know that the scientist who worked on [topic] was/had [include personal characteristics that students can relate to]?"
"Like [scientist with whom students can identify], we are going to explore [X]."
"Does anyone have an example of a scientist they admire that made a contribution to this topic? Why do you admire this person?"