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Kristin Sample

Kristin Sample


International Literacy Association (ILA)



Austin, TX

"I started teaching fresh out of an accelerated MA program. I had plenty of coursework in English but no pre-service pedagogy classes. I had some experience teaching dance but my first time in the English classroom, I was the teacher--not the student teacher, not the graduate observer. With the help of a generous chairperson and collegial faculty, I found my way. But I owe a lot to ReadWriteThink. The lessons and strategies on this site are invaluable to educators, no matter how seasoned they are. I’ve been teaching for several years now and earned a MST in Adolescent Literacy. But I don’t think I’ll ever stop scouring ReadWriteThink for new ideas. "

Kristin Sample's Story
How Think-Pair-Share Enlivened My Classroom

I’ve long been a fan of “wait time” in the classroom. It’s hard for me too. I’m the type of person who, no matter the situation, will ask a question and then proceed to give the answer. It was something I had to work on as a teacher and something I needed to eradicate as a TV blogger in LA. You can’t ask producers and actors interview questions and then state the answer for them. So I trained myself, pose the question, stand there and wait. One Mississippi, two Mississippi… And just when I thought no one is going to raise his/her hand to answer and I should start thinking of a way to reword my question, a student’s hand went up. Sometimes the raised hand was accompanied by an “A-ha!” look or sometimes the student looked reluctant. The latter just pitied me enough to give an answer or just wanted to move on. So after many a class using the sometimes uneasy wait time as my go-to for question and answer or guided discussion, I decided to check out ReadWriteThink. There had to be a better, less awkward way to navigate a discussion. And then I found Think-Pair-Share. This technique allows students the time to process a teacher’s question, “try out” his/her answer on one other student, and then offer the answer to the whole class (if he/she so chooses). Here’s how it works. First you ask a question--one that requires a higher order of thinking. (Note: I wouldn’t use Think-Pair-Share with simple recall questions.) Then you allow students to think for 1-2 minutes about their answers. Be silent during this time. I think I’m offering that advice to myself but it bears repeating. I sometimes have students jot down an answer. No full sentences necessary. After students “think,” then it’s time to pair them. For ease of management, pair them with someone close by. I let the students talk to the person next them or behind them. Give students a few minutes to confer with one another in this informal setting. No teacher watching. No “all eyes on you” scenario. They have the opportunity to think aloud with just one other person listening. After that, it’s time to “share” with the whole class. Students are now given the opportunity to make their observations a second time, refined by the time they just had with a partner. However, this time around students address the instructor and the whole class. This technique works miracles. I guarantee that if you make the time for Think-Pair-Share in your classroom, you’ll hear from students you’ve never heard from before. And you’ll hear more polished ideas too. I had to limit myself with how often I used Think-Pair-Share because after awhile, everyone wanted to talk and we had no time for the rest of the lesson. Moreover, I noticed that after using Think-Pair-Share for awhile, I didn’t need it as much because students gained confidence. They trusted me and each other and felt secure speaking aloud in class.



Related Resources

Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Using the Think-Pair-Share Technique

In this strategy guide, you will learn how to organize students and classroom topics to encourage a high degree of classroom participation and assist students in developing a conceptual understanding of a topic through the use of the Think-Pair-Share technique.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Locating Purpose in Allusion through Art and Poetry

Through this lesson, students will learn how to use the literary term "allusion" in discussing how and why authors and artists draw on and transform subject material.


After studying English and receiving both her BA and MA from Fordham University, Kristin Sample taught high school in the Bronx for four years. Her husband’s job relocated to LA and Kristin decided to take this opportunity to write. While in LA, Kristin wrote her first novel North Shore South Shore and worked for AOL TV as a blogger and editor. After Kristin returned to New York, she went back to the classroom and pursued her MST in Adolescent Literacy. She also began work on her second novel Stagecraft and co-wrote the pilot for North Shore South Shore. Kristin is passionate about British literature, creative writing, media literacy, and helping struggling readers. She currently lives in Austin, TX with her husband C.K., her son Jackson, and her daughter Darcy.