is Think, Pair, Share?
is a strategy designed to provide students with "food for thought"
on a given topics enabling them to formulate individual ideas and
share these ideas with another student. It is a learning strategy
developed by Lyman and associates to encourage student classroom
participation. Rather than using a basic recitation method in which
a teacher poses a question and one student offers a response, Think-Pair-Share
encourages a high degree of pupil response and can help keep students
is its purpose?
"think time" increases quality of student responses.
become actively involved in thinking about the concepts presented
in the lesson.
tells us that we need time to mentally "chew over" new
ideas in order to store them in memory. When teachers present
too much information all at once, much of that information is
lost. If we give students time to "think-pair-share"
throughout the lesson, more of the critical information is retained.
students talk over new ideas, they are forced to make sense of
those new ideas in terms of their prior knowledge. Their misunderstandings
about the topic are often revealed (and resolved) during this
are more willing to participate since they don't feel the peer
pressure involved in responding in front of the whole class.
is easy to use on the spur of the moment.
Easy to use in large classes.
can I do it?
students seated in teams of 4, have them number them from 1 to
a discussion topic or problem to solve. (Example: Which room in
our school is larger, the cafeteria or the gymnasium? How could
we find out the answer?)
students at least 10 seconds of think time to THINK of their own
answer. (Research shows that the quality of student responses
goes up significantly when you allow "think time.")
student numbers, announce discussion partners. (Example: For this
discussion, Student #1 and #2 will be partners. At the same time,
Student #3 and #4 will talk over their ideas.)
students to PAIR with their partner to discuss the topic or solution.
randomly call on a few students to SHARE their ideas with the
may also ask students to write or diagram their responses while
doing the Think-Pair-Share activity. Think, Pair, Share helps students
develop conceptual understanding of a topic, develop the ability
to filter information and draw conclusions, and develop the ability
to consider other points of view.
for think, pair, share
check, Vocabulary review, Quiz review, Reading check, Concept review,
Lecture check, Outline, Discussion questions, Partner reading, Topic
development, Agree/Disagree, Brainstorming, Simulations, Current
events opinion, Conceding to the opposition, Summarize, Develop
and Management Ideas
Partners - Be sure to assign discussion partners rather than
just saying "Turn to a partner and talk it over." When
you don't assign partners, students frequently turn to the most
popular student and leave the other person out.
Partners - Switch the discussion partners frequently. With
students seated in teams, they can pair with the person beside
them for one discussion and the person across from them for the
Think Time - Be sure to provide adequate "think time."
I generally have students give me a thumbs-up sign when they have
something they are ready to share.
Discussions - Walk around and monitor the discussion stage.
You will frequently hear misunderstandings that you can address
during the whole-group that discussion that follows.
- If you notice that one person in each pair is monopolizing the
conversation, you can switch to "Timed-Pair-Share."
In this modification, you give each partner a certain amount of
time to talk. (For example, say that Students #1 and #3 will begin
the discussion. After 60 seconds, call time and ask the others
to share their ideas.)
Rallyrobin - If students have to list ideas in their discussion,
ask them to take turns. (For example, if they are to name all
the geometric shapes they see in the room, have them take turns
naming the shapes. This allows for more equal participation.)
The structure variation name is Rallyrobin (similar to Rallytable,
but kids are talking instead of taking turns writing).
Select Students - During the sharing stage at the end, call
on students randomly. You can do this by having a jar of popsicle
sticks that have student names or numbers on them. (One number
for each student in the class, according to their number on your
roster.) Draw out a popsicle stick and ask that person to tell
what their PARTNER said. The first time you do this, expect them
to be quite shocked! Most kids don't listen well, and all they
know is what they said! If you keep using this strategy, they
will learn to listen to their partner.
- Think-Pair-Share can be used for a single question or a series
of questions. You might use it one time at the beginning of class
to say "What do you know about ________ ?" or at the
end of class to say "What have you learned today?"
can I adapt it?
- To increase individual accountability, have students jot down
their ideas before turning to a partner to discuss them. You can
walk around the room and look at what they are writing to see
who understands the concept. It also keeps kids from adopting
the attitude that they will just sit back and let their partner
to all the thinking.
- Making predictions about an experiment, discussing the results
of an experiment, talking over charts and graphs, drawing conclusions,
developing a concept through discussion, talking about environmental
- Discussing healthful practices, talking about how to handle
stress, discussing proper placement of foods in food groups, analyzing
problems in a diet, reviewing body systems,
- Discussing political viewpoints, learning about latitude and
longitude, discussing economic trends, analyzing causes and effects
of important events, discussing important contributions of historical
Problem-Solving - Place a complex problem on the overhead
(For example, use one of the Weekly Math Challenges found in the
Math File Cabinet.) Ask students to think about the steps they
would use to solve the problem, but do not let them figure out
the actual answer. Without telling the answer to the problem,
have students discuss their strategies for solving the problem.
Then let them work out the problem individually and compare answers.
Math - Practicing how to read large numbers, learning how
to round numbers to various places, reviewing place value, solving
word problems (as described above), recalling basic geometric
terms, discussing the steps of division, discussing how to rename
a fraction to lowest terms
- Call out a word, have them think of the spelling, then designate
one person to turn and whisper the spelling to their partner.
The partner gives a thumbs-up to show agreement, or corrects the
spelling. You can reveal the correct spelling by uncovering the
word from a chart.
- Discuss character traits and motives, make predictions before
a chapter or at the end of a read-aloud session, discuss the theme
of a book or story, make guesses about vocabulary words based
on context clues in the story, discuss the meaning of similes
and metaphors in a story
Arts - Discuss Daily Oral Language responses, discuss ways
to edit or revise a piece of writing, talk over story ideas, discuss
- Discuss elements of artistic compositions, discuss symbolism
in artwork, compare and contrast the various works of a particular
artist, analyze the use of color and line in works of art
- Identify elements of musical compositions, identify instruments
in musical selections, compare and contrast types of music
and Evaluation Considerations
skills, communication skills, using appropriate structures and features
of spoken language, effective note taking and co-operative skills
are most effectively assessed when using this strategy.
With Think-Pair-Share, students are given time to think through
their own answers to the question(s) before the questions are answered
by other peers and the discussion moves on. Students also have the
opportunity to think aloud with another student about their responses
before being asked to share their ideas publicly. This strategy
provides an opportunity for all students to share their thinking
with at least one other student; this, in turn, increases their
sense of involvement in classroom learning.
a Cooperative Learning strategy, Think-Pair-Share also benefits
students in the areas of peer acceptance, peer support, academic
achievement, self-esteem, and increased interest in other students
Students spend more time on task and listen to each other more when
engaged in Think-Pair-Share activities. More students are willing
to respond in large groups after they have been able to share their
responses in pairs. The quality of students responses also improves.