Alexis Brock

Engaging students in discussions using speak up stems

I chose my topic for my action research plan after noticing that my kindergarten students did not understand proper ways to discuss topics in the classroom.  Some of these issues include… not participating at all, staying on topic, and being respectful to other group members’ thoughts and ideas. This is due to the fact that they have never been asked to take part in discussion before this school year.  Speak-up Stems is the tool that best targets the problem with discussion in our classroom. I chose this tool because Speak Up Stems gives students the opportunity to respond in the form of complete sentences to communicate effectively. It provides them with a sentence starter and helps them correctly formulate a response while defending their positions.  It allows students to respond and agree or disagree to their peers’ thoughts and ideas in a respectful manner.   I monitored the class in a discussion using the elements of a fiction story, before the use of speak up stems and then after 4 weeks of practice with them in small groups. I used behavior observations, and student surveys to monitor students time on task, conflicts, and participation. 

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