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How to Use the Two Word Strategy to Elevate Your Learners' Thinking

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

Two Word Strategy can be used in a variety of ways. It's so easy and versatile to use right on the spot!

Students will be gently nudged to deepen their thinking beyond the text. When students have to reflect on the reading and come up with only two words to describe their thinking about the text, their comprehension is nudged into a deeper thought processing.

Two Word Strategy is a versatile little tool to use at any time in your day.

Readers could end the minilesson by completing this little tool as an exit ticket for you to grab a snapshot of student understanding.

Once you have tried using this handy little tool you will find multiple opportunities to use it throughout your teaching day. Such as these below...

When Do I Use It?

  • After a read-aloud to get your learners' thoughts about the story. You could use it several times within one longer read aloud or at the end of a picture book. For example, you could ask your learners, 'What two words does this book make you think of now?'

  • During a content area unit of study at the end of a lesson or unit, you could ask your learners what two words they have on their minds about the new learning. For example, you could ask your learners, 'What two words are on your mind after today's lesson on how matter changes states?'

  • At the End of the Year Celebration, you could get the temperature of the room by using the Two Word Strategy. You could have your learners reflect about the events of the year and have them narrow that down to just two words. For example, you could ask your learners, 'Using only two words, how would you describe this school year? Explain why you chose each word.'

  • On the first day of school (at the end of the day), you could gauge the temperature of the room to see how your new set of learners are feeling about their new grade level. For example, you could ask your learners, 'Thinking back over the entire first school day, what are two words that would describe your feelings? Explain each word in a couple of sentences.'

Examples of Two Word Strategy

Following are a few (of many) examples of how Linda Hoyt's Two Word Strategy has been used with my learners over the years. These are not the only ways to use this strategy, just a few to get your ideas flowing.

Don't forget to go grab this freebie download

These activities are a quick way to gather your learners' understanding and feelings about the work.

In the beginning, the two words will seem very superficial and literal.

However, as the school year progresses and your conversations and discussions work to deepen thinking you will nudge your learners to think beyond literal word choices.

This exit slip strategy is a versatile and quick way to gather student understanding to drive your next day's instruction.

Until next time...

Use these other tools to check for understanding and monitor your learners' progress...

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