1. While students are entering the classroom, the activity
should already be set up with the questions written
out on the board: 1) What is the state of the American
worker in the United States today, 2) What issues concern
me the most about entering the working world, 3) By
observing your parents when they are working, what
effect does work have on them?
Introduce the lesson as a way to direct the students’ thinking
of the upcoming unit: The effect of the Industrial Revolution
on the American worker. As a stepping-stone, they will look
at their perceptions of the workers in today’s world.
A Chalk Talk is an excellent way for them to share their
own insights with the rest of the class.
3. Explain the rules of a Chalk Talk:
A. Most important rule—the class must remain absolutely
silent. There is no speaking, responding, grunting, sighing.
Basically, no noise making of any kind.
B. The students move to the board and form a half circle. Each
student should be able to see what is written clearly.
C. When the Chalk Talk begins, students go up to the board
one by one and respond to the questions written on the board
(see step 1). They may respond using one-word answers, phrases,
or questions. If students want to respond to something someone
else has written they may draw a line from that response to
their response. The end result will look like a giant web.
D. The Chalk Talk should last about between 10-15 minutes.
Once it starts going, students are generally reluctant to stop.
4. Have students return to their seats and lead a 15-minute
discussion based on the responses. Be sure to direct the conversation
to the comments made about their parents and their concerns.
What do these comments say about the working world today? Do
you think conditions have improved or become worse?
Assign in-class reflective writing:
Give students the rest of the class to further respond to the
chalk talk and discussion in a reflective writing assignment using the following
Discuss your personal feelings about the state of the
American worker in the United States today. Give three
comments and support each comment
with a concrete
2. Students should turn in the writing at the end of class.
on the students’ writing and their ability to make
three statements and support them with concrete detail
assesses the assignment. It is assumed that this is a
writing skill that has already been covered.