Strategy

Think-Pair-Share

Think and Share, Partner Sharing

UDL 5.3

Think-Pair-Share is a collaboration strategy that requires students to individually respond to a question or solve a problem, discuss their responses with a peer, and then synthesize and communicate their learnings with the entire class. This strategy is distinct in that rather than having students focus solely on their own individual contributions to a discussion, Think-Pair-Share requires students to incorporate two perspectives into a single response to share with the whole class. Think-Pair-Share removes barriers related to public speaking (e.g., processing time, shyness) by providing enough time for students to reflect independently as well as time to practice sharing their ideas in a one-to-one setting. As ideas are presented to the entire class, Think-Pair-Share builds community within the classroom by giving students the opportunity to learn from their peers and consider multiple perspectives while creating a shared understanding of a topic. Essential Components: Think - Students individually reflect and respond to a prompt given to the entire class. Pair - Students take turns sharing and listening to one another's responses and identify key information to present to the class. Share - Each pair is given the opportunity to share their ideas with the whole class (e.g., oral response, poster)

Ready-to-Use Resources

Collaboration Tool

Think-Pair-Share Discussion Templates (Grades 3-5)

A set of templates to use during Think-Pair-Share discussions. Variations include a template with sentence frames, and a template with space for written and visual responses. Use these forms to help students prepare for and engage in peer discussions.

Grade 3, 4, 5 · Reading, Writing, Listening, Math · 2 pages


Collaboration Tool

Think-Pair-Share Discussion Templates (Grades 6-12)

A set of templates to use during Think-Pair-Share discussions. Variations include a graphic organizer for Think-Pair-Share discussions as well as a a step-by-step guide for students who need additional support. Use these forms to help students prepare for and engage in peer discussions.

Grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Math · 2 pages


Implementation Tips

Model Each Step
Model the components of Think-Pair-Share (e.g., individual reflection, partner sharing, class sharing) and provide opportunities for students to practice through role playing and other activities. Detailed instructions regarding student expectations for each component can also be posted in the classroom or given to students individually.
Establish Think Time
Explicitly communicate the amount of think time that will be provided so that students can use the time efficiently. Students may differ in the amount of time it takes to process a prompt and respond. Using an egg timer or online timer is a great a way to represent time expectations for visual learners. It may also be helpful to give students explicit guidelines for how long they should spend completing each task (e.g., "Use 2 minutes to think before you start writing", "Spend 1 minute sharing and 1 minute listening"). Doing so will help students in effectively organizing the allocated time to complete each component of Think-Pair-Share.
Selecting Partners
When appropriate, pre-select partners before beginning the Think-Pair-Share routine. Assigning partners ahead of time can alleviate stress some students experience during peer interactions, reduce problem behaviors, and ensure a smooth transition during implementation.
Graphic Organizers/Note-taking Templates
Use a graphic organizer or note-taking template that outlines the steps of Think-Pair-Share discussions. This gives students a place to write their ideas and can help students complete the routine correctly and with confidence.
Body Language
Encourage students to be attentive listeners when sharing with partners by facing each other, making eye contact, and refraining from other activities. Also, remind students to speak loudly and clearly when sharing with the class.
Allow for Multiple Modes of Expression
Offer many different ways for students to reflect individually and present to others. During the Think and Share steps, provide varied methods for students to express their ideas -- visual displays, written responses, and oral responses (skit, brief presentation, song, etc.)
Using Technology
Have students access a slideshow shared with the entire class (e.g., Google Slides) and have each pair input their synthesized responses onto one slide. Using this format can make the class-wide sharing more efficient and provide a visual representation of orally presented information. To reduce the level of risk required to share their learnings, teachers can have students input their responses anonymously.

Examples

Introducing a New Topic
Think-Pair-Share is an effective approach for introducing a new topic or activating students’ background knowledge. For example, to introduce a new unit on animal adaptations, a teacher can begin the unit by posing the question, “What would an animal need to survive in a cold, snowy climate?” Students can then be asked to write a list of their ideas in their science journals. When students meet to share with their partners, they can be instructed to circle items that appear on both of their lists and discuss ideas that are different. Together the pairs can create a single list of five of the features they think are most important for surviving in a cold climate. Finally, to prepare for sharing with the entire class, each pair can illustrate their response by drawing a picture of an animal that includes the features they selected. After each group presents their drawings the teacher can lead whole-class discussion of the similarities and differences of each group’s drawing and introduce the concept of animal adaptations.
Time-Structured Discussions
Think-Pair-Share can be used to further reinforce listening and speaking skills by structuring them similarly to listening dyads, where students are given equal time to speak, uninterrupted. For example, the teacher can write a question on the board and instruct students to dedicate three minutes to mentally generate a response (e.g., “How can technology affect how a person views society? What are some examples from the text?”). Then, instruct students to pair with a classmate and spend two, uninterrupted minutes listening to their peer’s response (i.e., listening student does not speak or ask questions during this time). After both students have shared in this format, the teacher then gives students five minutes to reflect and discuss their thoughts. During this time, students collaboratively construct a response on a sticky note and post it on the board. After all pairs have posted a sticky note, the teacher can read each one aloud and conduct a whole-group discussion.
Problem-Solving Discussion
Think-Pair-Share can also be used during math instruction to explore problem-solving approaches and strategies. For example, a math teacher might post a multi-step word problem and ask students to individually consider how they would solve the problem. Next, students can discuss with their ideas with a partner and decide on the best approach to solve the problem. Working together, each pair can then solve the problem using the method they discussed. After each pair has completed the problem, they can share their problem-solving steps and solution with class. More than comparing answers, this provides an opportunity for students to explore different ways of solving a problem and consider new strategies.
Community Building
Think-Pair-Share is also an excellent strategy to use during community building activities and discussions. For example, after reading a story or text that addresses the aspects of friendship, the teacher can ask students to reflect on what traits they value in a friend. After students reflect and share with a partner, the teacher can invite students to share their ideas with the whole class and as she writes down the traits mentioned on chart paper. After all pairs have shared, the teacher can prompt the class to reread the list and share any ideas that stand out or that are similar. This list can be posted in the classroom and referenced throughout the year during conversations about classroom community or when mediating student conflicts.

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