Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk

By Jenn Hayhurst

Click here to access the Wakelet

Chances are good that if you become a teacher, you love to talk. Teachers know it in their bones that talk is important. It’s important for so many reasons: building strong relationships, the transference of learning, articulating one’s values and point of view within a pluralistic society, We are so grateful that authors, Shana Frazin & Katy Wischow joined our #G2Great community for a powerful conversation. Their new book, Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk published by Heinemann belongs in your stack! Reading this book, and viewing its resources is like having master coaches in your corner helping you along the way.

Joyful Teaching

We asked Shana and Katy, what are your BIG takeaways from your book that you hope teachers will embrace in their teaching practices? 

Talk is a powerful vehicle for learning AND a great way to bring joy into every subject.  There are predictable cycles and purposes in conversation that, if we learn them and keep them in mind, will help us be more powerful thinkers.

Shana Frazin & Katy Wischow

Joyful teaching experiences begin with strong relationships built on talk. Once students truly believe that we honor their talk, we can teach them how to honor each other’s talk. This foundation of intentional talk forms a caring learning community. One where deep thinking will flourish.

Engaged Learning

Making the choice to author a book is a huge commitment. We asked, What impact did you hope that your book would have in the professional world?  Shana and Katy shared their WHY:

We wanted to help answer the questions we get from teachers all the time about how to make classroom conversations more engaging and meaningful. We wanted to keep talk front and center as we all wrestle with how to help all kids find purpose and passion in their schoolwork and lives. 

Shana Frazin & Katy Wischow

There is a lot of pressure to keep instruction moving along at a high level of productivity. Sometimes it may be tempting to limit students’ talk. Don’t do it – talk is the very thing that will ignite their learning process. They need to find the words.

Creating Identity Through Talk

Shana and Katy’s message from the heart for every teacher to keep in mind… 

We want teachers to remember that the heart of being a good teacher is knowing your students well. When talk is centered across the curriculum, students have abundant opportunities to reveal themselves as readers and writers, researchers and activists.

Shana Frazin & Katy Wischow

A student-centered approach to teaching rests on knowing who they are and being fully present when you are with them.


Thank you, Shana Frazin & Katy Wischow for authoring this beautiful book, Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk.