Teacher Toolkit

Thinking Routines and Discursive Strategies

Discussion Passport

Who is this for?

All grades

Why use it?

Here is a simple strategy to ensure that students are listening closely and actively respecting peers’ perspectives.

Bloom’s Level


What is it?

When you’re travelling, you need a valid passport to gain admission to other’s lands. Another person’s ideas are a bit like another land, and it’s important to travel there respectfully.


Discursive Sentence Starters Cards (Clarifying)



How does it work?

1. LISTEN closely, making eye contact and putting mental, physical, and social distractions aside.

2. PARAPHRASE your peer’s words to make sure that your understanding is clear and accurate, free of additions, distortions, or omissions.

You could start with something like . . .
“If I’ve heard you correctly, you think /claim /feel that … “

Thumbs Up or Down If the peer is satisfied with the paraphrase, they put their thumb up. If the peer is not yet satisfied with the paraphrase, they put their thumb down.

Lifeline, Anyone? The speaker can then try to improve the paraphrase on their own, or call upon classmates for a lifeline – a peer can suggest a significant change that would make the paraphrase clear and accurate.

3. QUESTION Before you respond to the idea, pose a question to learn a little more about your peer’s thinking. *use discursive question stems


You may then enter the territory of your peer’s idea, choosing the thinking move that best suits you:

Build upon their idea using new insights and evidence

Challenge their idea by posing a question or providing counter-evidence

Introduce a new idea or point of view to broaden or deepen the discussion.


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Teacher ToolkitDiscussion Passport