Say Something Teaching Strategy 

The say something teaching strategy gives students time to think about their reading material and share those thoughts with their peers. It is important for students to stop and think about the materials they are reading. The say something teaching strategy gives students time to think about their reading material and share those thoughts with their peers.

How Does This Strategy Work?

  1. Place students in groups of two to three students.  Make sure each student has a copy of the reading you will be using.
  2. Have students take turns reading and then stopping at specified intervals. These intervals might be after each paragraph, each page, each section, etc. depending on the reading and your students’ needs.
  3. At each stop, students should take turns saying something about what was just read. This might be a summary of what they understood, a question, an opinion or insight, or anything else that comes to the students’ minds relating to the material. 
  4. At each interval give the groups time to briefly discuss what was said. Set a 30 second to a 1-minute visual timer. 
  5. Continue and repeat until the reading is finished.
  6. At the end of the reading, you might choose to do a Say Something with the whole class where each student (or each group) says one thing related to anything in the reading and you have a class discussion around these thoughts and ideas.
  7. Alternatively, you could switch this to a “Write Something” activity. Have students work on their own, stopping at the specified places and writing the thoughts they would have spoken aloud in the original version of Say Something. At the end, have students form small groups and discuss the things they wrote. If doing this activity in this way, the reading can be done outside of class and only the discussion portion in class. This would be a great strategy to use when teaching text annotation for the first time. This could be completed digitally using Google Meet or Zoom breakout rooms or using a collaborative document program like Google Docs. 

How Do I Use This Strategy?

  1.  Use Say Something when you are assigning reading and have class time for the students to work on it.  Students often like working in partners, and this strategy gives them the chance to do this while also encouraging productive reflection and discussion.
  2. Use Say Something when a reading is particularly challenging or complex.  The built-in discussion intervals will help students break up the material and the statements they make and subsequent discussions will help students understand it better.
  3. Use Say Something as a precursor to the whole-class discussion.  The things students think about and say in their small groups will often serve as a preview for many of the things you will introduce in a whole-class discussion.  Since students will have given these things some thought already, whole-class discussions will now be more immediate, productive, and in-depth.

Why Do I Love This Strategy?

  1. Students can say anything they want.  There is no pressure to come up with a specific type of comment or a “right” answer, so students are more relaxed and open.  
  2. Because this is such an open-ended activity, it means that students occasionally come up with thoughts and ideas that are completely outside of the box and new, leading to some really great discussions including ones that you hadn’t thought of before.

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