Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
(a). Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
(b). Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
(c). Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
(d). Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.


  • active listening
  • collaborate/cooperate
  • questioning

  • taking turns
  • discussion rules/norms
  • topic

  • conversation/discussion
  • make connections
  • check understanding

  • Third grade students are able to engage in a wide range of collaborative discussions on 3rd grade topics and texts with diverse partners, including one-on-one and group discussions.
  • In all discussions, third grade students demonstrate an understanding of agreed upon rules of discussion and they follow these rules (i.e., They know how to gain the floor in respectful ways (e.g., raising their hand; standing up silently, waiting to be called on); they are respectful of discussion partners and do not monopolize discussions or interrupt the speaker; and they practice active and careful listening).
  • Third grade students who effectively engage in collaborative discussions are able to build on other others’ ideas. They link remarks they make to those of other participants and expand the discussion by also linking to other knowledge they may have on the topic. The links are specific and clear.
  • Third grade students who effectively engage in collaborative discussions are able to express their ideas clearly and explain the reasons for those ideas. This is due, in part, because they are prepared to participate in discussions, having read and studied (and reflected on) the texts or other materials assigned.
  • Third grade students demonstrate that they are prepared for discussions by drawing on information from assignments read as well as other knowledge they have about the topic as they explore ideas under discussion.
  • During discussions, third grade students identify gaps in knowledge and understandings and they ask question to clarify key points, to clear up any confusion they may have, or to obtain additional information.
  • The use of a grade level vocabulary helps third grade students engage in and “follow” a wide range of classroom discussions with diverse partners. A strong vocabulary helps third graders understand and stay on topic during discussions. It supports thinking about and processing new information as well as linking that information to others’ comments. Third graders use their vocabulary to express themselves clearly during discussions.
  • Since oral language development is the foundation for written language proficiency, oral language competence is strongly predictive of the ability to learn to read and write.
  • The ability to participate in group discussions is necessary for all content areas and an important skill in life.
  • Explaining ideas to peers provides students with opportunities to rehearse their understandings. This process facilitates reading comprehension and the production of written responses.
  • Peer discussions contribute to a motivating and engaging environment for students in all subject areas.

  • What classroom structures and routines support speaking and listening skills?
  • What kinds of rules (norms) support students in having productive discussion?
  • How can students learn to stay on topic and keep a conversation going by linking to and building on others’ remarks and by integrating other knowledge of the topic into the discussion?
  • What pre-requisite skills must third graders have mastered in order to engage in effective discussions and preparation for those discussions at the third grade level?
  • What strategies/techniques can teachers use to ensure that students are prepared class or partner discussions around 3rd grade texts and topics?
  • What speaking and listening techniques and procedures can teachers model to support appropriate discussion/dialogue by students?
  • How important is grade appropriate vocabulary knowledge to engaging in collaborative classroom discussions, including clearly expressing and explaining one’s ideas?
  • What kinds of rules (norms) support students having productive discussion?
  • What strategies or tools can be used to assess the development of listening and speaking skills?


Go to SL.2.1 to see skills mastered prior to this.