Dialogue Toolkit

To access a downloadable PDF version of our Dialogue Toolkit, click here.  

Out of Eden Learn’s Dialogue Toolkit is a set of commenting tools to support thoughtful exchanges between Out of Eden Learn participants. This toolkit was created with support from educator Chris Sloan, co-founder of Youth Voices. (Read the story of why we developed the toolkit here.)

Throughout your learning journey, we encourage you to use a range of dialogue tools as you engage with the work of other young people. For example, you can comment on other student’s work with the Appreciate move. This move is meant to go deeper than the “Like” button often found on social network sites. We hope you will be specific and detailed about what you appreciate in other students’ work. Similarly, we encourage you to Notice details and even Snip thoughts that interest you and explain why. Other tools invite you to describe Connections and Probe with thoughtful questions and share when and how your thoughts Extend in new directions.

You may also be encouraged to use the POV move to express your point of view (POV), position or opinion on a topic, and the Challenge move to ask questions about or challenge a POV someone else shared. When you use these moves, we encourage you to also use the Name move to name the aspects of your identity, experiences, or place you live that are influencing the way you see things.

All the suggested dialogue tools are described here. Please review them and then try them out! If you would like to see how Out of Eden Learn students have used these tools to communicate with one another on our platform, review our “Models of Dialogue & Respectful Disagreement.” (Educators: See our annotated version here)

Icons and descriptions of each tool appear in the comment box to remind you of the moves. Be sure to read the instructions for the “Interact” step of each footstep. We will often ask you to use one or more specific dialogue tools when you comment. We also invite you to use the Thinking Routines below as you look at and comment on other students’ work.


Notice: What stands out to you or catches your eye in this person’s post? In other words, what do you notice in particular? Be specific


Appreciate: Share what you like, appreciate or value in the post you've read. Be specific.


Snip: Cut and paste a phrase or sentence from the original post into your comment. Ask a question about it or say what you find interesting or important about what is being said.


Probe: Probe for more details. Ask questions that will help give you a better sense of another person's perspective. (See Creative Questions & Sentence Starters below)


Connect: Make a connection between something in the post and your own experiences, feelings, or interests


Extend: Describe how the post extended your thoughts in new directions or gave you a new perspective.


POV: Express your point of view (POV), position or opinion.

     Possible sentence starters:

  • “From my perspective/In my opinion…[state your P.O.V.]...For example [provide evidence to support your P.O.V.]”
  • “Some argue that... Others say… In my opinion...”

CHALLENGE: Question or challenge a point of view (POV) or idea someone else has shared.

      Possible sentence starters:

  • "Although I see where you are coming from, I see it differently. I think that…”
  • “Another way of looking at it is…”

NAME: Name the aspects of your identity, experiences, or place you live that are influencing the way you see things.

     Possible sentence starters:

  • “I am thinking of [the topic] from the point of view of someone who... [name the particular identity/experience that is influencing your perspective on the topic]”



See, Think, Wonder

  • What do you see?  (Make lots of observations)

  • What do you think about that?

  • What does it make you wonder? 


See, Wonder, Connect (National Gallery of Art adaptation of See-Think-Wonder)

  • What do you see? (make lots of observations)

  • What does it make you wonder?

  • In what ways do you connect with what you see?


Creative Questions & Sentence Starters

Brainstorm a set of questions about a student’s post. Use these question-starters to help you think of interesting questions:

  • “Tell me more about…”

  • “I wonder if…”

  • “Help me understand…”

  • “I was surprised by….”  

  • “I connected to…”  

  • “What I found interesting was…”

  • “I learned from your post that…”

  • “One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is…”


Step Inside

  • What is this person thinking about or focusing on?

  • What might this person understand or believe?

  • What might this person care deeply about?


Connect, Extend, Challenge

  • Connect: How do the ideas and information presented connect to what you already know?

  • Extend: What new ideas did you get that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?

  • Challenge: What is challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?


Circle of Viewpoints

Consider the diversity of students in your walking party. Before you post your own work or a comment on the work of another student, use this routine to explore how it may be interpreted from a variety of perspectives. Your process may involve the following steps:

  • Identify the perspectives you are considering: “I am thinking of this post or comment...from the point of view of…”

  • Take on the viewpoint, drawing on what you know (and being mindful of what you don't know).

  • Consider any questions, concerns, or insights that may come from this viewpoint.



See-Wonder-Connect. National Gallery of Art. Washington D.C.

Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sloan, Chris. Comment as Genre. Youth Voices: A National Writing Project community. http://youthvoices.net/node/35079

Visible Thinking: http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/ 03_ThinkingRoutines/03a_ThinkingRoutines.html

Winiecki, Donald J. (1999). Keeping the thread: Adapting conversational practice to help distance students and instructors manage discussions in an asynchronous learning network. DEOSNEWS, 9 (2), 1-14. Available: http://learningdesign.psu.edu/deos/deosnews9_2.pdf


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