An activity for visually engaging in a discussion around a topic


This protocol is used to have students deeply engage with a topic or issue. Teachers can use this activity for students to reflect on or generate ideas, develop projects, or gauge student learning.


  1. Put the markers by the surface students will be writing on.
  2. Introduce the Chalk Talk: Explain to students that they will be responding to a guiding question/prompt on the chart paper/board/butcher paper. Students can respond visually in any way they like, whether that be through writing, drawing, or something else.
  3. Have students walk around space so that they can see other students’ responses. Inform students that they can leave a “comment” or “question” on something another student has written or drawn.
  4. Introduce the question/prompt.
  5. Instruct that communication should be non-verbal.  The only communication should be through the visuals on the chart paper/board.

Time Required

Avg 20 min, but it can range from 5 min to 1 hour

Required Materials

  • Marker
  • Something to write on (ex. butcher paper, chart paper, chalkboard, whiteboard, sticky notes, etc)
  • Wall space

Preferred Citation

Developed by Hilton Smith, Foxfire Fund, adapted by Marylyn Wentworth.