Enhancing Literacy Opportunities School-Wide: Oracy & Sentence/Thinking Stems

In Week 4, during the Learning Hub Staff Professional Development session, myself and Melissa Mulholland presented to staff about ways in which we can facilitate effective use of language in our classrooms to encourage students to improve their literacy and be critical thinkers at the same time.

The concept this stems from is Oracy and Sentence/Thinking Stems – using a variety of questions to further develop learning and understanding. Oracy encourages students to express knowledge and understanding out loud, using interaction and effective language to more deeply explore concepts of learning. Whereas, Sentence/Thinking stems give students a place to start – often a different way of approaching a question or using new language to evaluate learning.

Essentially, “Sentence stems provide scaffolding and structure to help students get started in speaking or writing, without the added pressure of thinking how to correctly formulate a response” (Teacher Tool Kit http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/sentence-stems).

The Learning Hub is the perfect place to facilitate this kind of ‘out loud’ thinking, because Thinking Stems are questions that are developed around styles and processes of thinking/writing, rather than being subject specific.

Just like the ongoing work we have done around Restorative Practices and 2016’s Behavioural Revolution at WSS, we highly encourage our staff and students to embrace, model, practice and review new language and approaches to thinking, in order to enhance literacy skills school-wide.

Below are some examples of Thinking Stems that can kick start discussion and develop understanding in any classroom setting!



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Are interested in looking further? Please click on the following links for;

Access to our presentation

A bank of Sentence/Thinking Stems to use with students

A glimpse at Oracy & Sentence/Thinking Stems coming to life in a school setting



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