Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Chalk Talk

K20 Center, Shayna Pond, Shayna Pond | Published: September 22nd, 2020 by K20 Center


Cover Image

Chalk Talk

This strategy is a silent way to reflect, generate ideas, check on learning, and solve problems with a group. Because the conversation in this activity takes place by writing or drawing, it offers a chance for deep thinking and less opportunity for verbal conflict.

Chalk Talk


Students respond to prompts that have been posted around the room by communicating silently on the prompt itself through writing or drawing. Chalk Talk is so named because all of the communication in this activity takes place on the chalkboard. As chalkboards become increasingly rare in classrooms, the procedure below has been updated to make Chalk Talk a part of the modern classroom. 


  1. Briefly explain that the activity is to be done in complete silence.

  2. Post various posters around the room with questions or other prompts. These can also be written on a white board or Smart board, but keep in mind that students will be writing on the board as they feel moved to do so. If there aren't enough writing utensils, you may want to use posters.

  3. Ask students to move near the posters.

  4. Hand each student a marker or provide a set markers by the posters.

  5. Have students respond. They can respond in any way, written or drawn, as long as they feel it is the best way to respond to the prompt. There is no order in which the questions need to be answered.

  6. End the activity when you feel it is over.

  7. Ask follow-up questions (optional; e.g., “What did you notice about what we wrote?” or “What are you wondering now?”).

Smith, H., & Wentworth, M. (n.d.). Chalk talk. School Reform Initiative. Retrieved from