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Creative Problem Solving Strategy: Walk and Talk

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Creative Problem Solving Strategy: Walk and Talk

What it is

This partner strategy allows students to work together to solve a problem or respond to a question. Students walk around the room while having a structured talk with a partner, providing an opportunity to move and process their learning.  

Repeated research demonstrates the positive effects walking has on the mind.  Walking helps us generate creative solutions, strengthen neural connections, and improve memory and attention.  That’s pretty powerful stuff!  Check out this New Yorker article for links to some of this research:

The Walk and Talk strategy is a simple and versatile way to help your students reap these mental benefits! 

How to use it

  • Start by preparing a prompt or question that can be answered in many ways and requires discussion. Pose the prompt to students and tell them how long they will have to discuss with a partner.  
  • Students pair up and walk around the room or school with their partner during the allotted time.  
  • While students walk around, they discuss their responses and try to generate new ideas. 
  • After the first round is finished, make new pairs and have the groups repeat the walk and talk.  Participating in several rounds allows students to hear new perspectives and build upon their thoughts. 
  • After the allotted time has passed, have students share something they learned or found interesting from their partner.  This could be aloud, on paper, or as a digital response.
  • Be sure to discuss any errors in thinking or misconceptions that were shared, as well as point out any great ideas.


Use Walk and Talk at any time during a lesson to encourage accountable talk.  Some examples might include:

  • As a warm-up activity to discuss a previous lesson or homework assignment
  • During class discussions as a way for students to discuss ideas before sharing them with the class
  • During guided practice to get students talking about the material just covered
  • As a closing activity so that students can synthesize new learning or apply it in a new context

Want more researched-supported strategies like this? Check out our Fostering Engagement course where you will learn the foundational elements of student motivation and over 20 practical strategies to build student effort and engagement! 


The Teacher Toolkit:

Kids Discover:

Like these ideas? To learn classroom engagement strategies that make the most immediate impact, we recommend checking out our program, "Fostering Engagement Online Course."

Learn More >

Amy Jimenez

Author Since: May 8, 2018

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