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Wordless Wednesday–Let the Pens Do the Talking

February 4, 2015 2 Comments

Today was the first day back in my own classroom for almost a week!  I spent last Friday and yesterday with an amazing group of teachers discussing the reading and writing workshop with our TCRWP staff developer.  It’s that kind of professional development that makes you want to hop, skip, and jump right back into your classroom to immediately try out ALL of the strategies that you’ve been exposed to.  That’s what this Wordless Wednesday hosted by Miss DeCarbo is all about.  Let me introduce to you… “Pen Talk.”

(Here partner 1 said, “I learned that there’s holes in the moon, did you?” Then partner 2 responded with I learned about space suits.  What did you learn?  Yes I did.”)

One of our focuses this week in reading is ask and answer questions.  After reading an informational text about the moon, I asked partners to sit next to each other with a folded piece of paper and a different color pen.  Just like we talk with our mouths, I explained, we can also talk with our pens!  Lots of oohhhhhhs and aaaahhhhhs came out after my co-teacher and I modeled an entire conversation on paper that we had about our reactions to the text.   I asked my students to choose one partner to go first.  They had to pick their favorite fact they learned in the text, write it down, and ask their partner a question in return.  Then, WITHOUT TALKING (oh music to my ears sometimes) the partner had to respond to the comment.  THEN, they had to ask another question.  

(“My favorite part was when they used the lunar rover. Did you like that part too?”  “Yes!!!  Do you like the part when they found rocks?”  “No I didn’t like it.”)

(My favorite part is when they take little steps.  What do you like?)

(This little cutie is a hesitant writer and brand new to my class so I let him draw his favorite fact and add labels.  It says craters if you can’t see the light green ink)

Pen Talks,” can be used at ANY point of the day.  Our staff developer from TC showed us this activity as a response to a story where she asked students to form an opinion about a character and see if their partner agreed.  It can be used to start debates for an opinion unit, or a quick assessment like I used it to see if my kids could ask and answer questions.  

The biggest selling point is that EVERYONE’S engaged, it’s adaptable to so many subjects and standards, and the kids loved it.  Different colored pens?!  SOLD!

I can’t wait to share more strategies and ideas I got from my teacher leader group.  I hope they inspire you as much as they did me!


  • JanCT February 5, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I'm so glad you shared this! I love that this is a simple but effective idea that I could walk in and implement tomorrow. Thanks! Enjoy the rest of your week.
    Laughter and Consistency

    • Jayme February 7, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      I'm so glad you liked the activity! It's such an easy and effective way to assess students or to get them excited about writing! Have a great weekend!

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    Hi! I’m Jayme! A former elementary teacher turned stay at home mom sharing toddler activities, mom tips, and educational resources to help you learn and play with your children. I believe in the power of PLAY and creating meaningful activities for you and your little ones to enjoy together.

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