Read my three-part Education Week Teacher series on this topic.

Facilitating fruitful classroom discussions can be a challenge for the best of teachers, and I thought I’d begin a related “Best” list and invite readers to contribute additional resources.

Here’s a start:


Teach Thought has published a nice “26 Sentence Stems For Higher-Level Conversation In The Classroom.” I write about how I used them at Wondering How To Handle A Controversial Topic In Class? What We Did This Week Worked Out Very Well.

Socratic Seminars in the Middle is from Middleweb.

small things: increasing participation in classroom discussions is from educating grace.

How NOT to Start A Conversation With A Student….

There have been several recent posts about Socratic Circles and English Language Learners: Socratic Circles and the Common Core: A Close Reading of the Text (Part II) and Socratic Circles and the Common Core: Activity Ideas for ELLs (Part III) are from Colorin Colorado.

Adam Simpson has also written an excellent three-part series on the same topic.

Edutopia offers some good resources for Socratic Seminars.

NPR Starts “50 Great Teachers” Series – Has Potential, But I Hope The Rest Are Better Than The First

Talking to Learn is by Elizabeth A. City.

Speaking Volumes is by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.

“Socratic Smackdown” Looks Fun & Interesting – If You’ve Tried Using It, What Do You Think? Socratic Seminars: The Big Leagues of Student Questioning is from Learning Sciences.

Dave Orphal has nuts-and-bolts post about setting up a Socratic Seminar.

The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies is by Jennifer Gonzalez.

Skills and Strategies | The Four-Corners Exercise to Inspire Writing and Discussion is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Teaching Channel Video: “Wingman” Is A Great Small Group Discussion Activity

A few discussion activities for English language students is from The British Council.

Using the “Socratic Seminar” to improve classroom discussion is from Russel Tarr.

Rethinking Whole Class Discussion is by Todd Finley.

How to use classroom conversation to improve learning is from The Guardian.

Technology can limit student discussion—or encourage it. is from Slate.

Facing History has a nice and simple explanation about how to organize a Socratic Seminar.

How to Have Better Student Discussions is by Pernille Ripp.


Respectful Talk is from The Teaching Channel.

More Talking in Class, Please is from Edutopia.

7 ways to teach civil discourse to students is from The Conversation.

Making “Science Talk” a Natural Part of Learning is from Middleweb.

Using Discourse With High School Science Students is from The NSTA blog.

How to Promote Critical Thinking with Socratic Seminars is from Kids Discover.

OpenSciEd 3 Discussion Types is from OpenSciEd.

Let’s Talk! How to Stage Good Class Discussions is by Rita Platt.

Deeper Class Discussions with the TQE Method is from Jennifer Gonzalez.

ASCD’s Educational Leadership new issue is on classroom discussions.  Here are some non-paywalled articles worth checking out:

Your Words Matter

The Power of Protocols for Equity by Zaretta Hammond.

Research Matters / Forget the Leading Role

Classroom Conversations / Curating “Hot-Button” Conversations is from Matthew Kay.

Parley is a tool designed to host Socratic Seminars online.

Teaching Students How to Have an Academic Discussion is from Edutopia.

Designing Socratic Seminars to Ensure That All Students Can Participate is from John Spencer.

Discussion Protocols That Engage All Students is from Edutopia.

5 Discussion Strategies to Deepen Student Engagement is from Edutopia.

Authentic Group Discussions with the Real Talk Strategy is from Cult of Pedagogy.

3 Strategies to Revitalize Classroom Discussions and Boost Engagement is from ASCD.

How to Support and Sustain Rich Classroom Discussions is from Edutopia.

What is the Harkness Pedagogy? is from Katherine Cadwell.

Can We Get This New Teacher a Quick and Meaningful Win? is from Dan Meyer.

I’m looking forward to getting lots of new suggestions to add to this list!

You might also be interested in the other 1,400 “Best” lists I’ve compiled.