Spring is a good time to release more of the classroom conversation to your students. One way to prepare them to have more thoughtful conversations and to write more insightful compositions is to share with them sentence stems using the language we expect to see in their writing.
Enhance THINK, PAIR, SHARE time by encouraging students to incorporate into their conversation the jargon and specific terminology unique to your discipline.
For example, as students discuss stories, novels and drama, use literary terms related to those genres. As students talk about controversial essays, use the language of argumentation; as students discuss history, science or math add that language. The more they hear and use this higher order vocabulary, the more they’ll understand the content and concepts, and fewer students will be thwarted when they see content specific language on those standardized assessments most will face in their career and college lives.
Here are links to handouts to get you started.
After several weeks or a whole semester of modeling and student practicing, how about taking this concept a step farther. Invite students to monitor the talking and writing of their peers. You could adapt from this link a list of signal words students should listen for and look for in their own talking and writing and that of their peers.