Teacher Topic: “10/2,” or “Chunk and Chew”

“10/2,” or “Chunk and Chew”

The 10/2 or “Chunk and Chew” strategy is highly effective in supporting students’ understanding of important concepts. The purpose of 10/2 is to ensure that students are not inundated with input from the teacher without being given appropriate time to process the information.

Research (Costa, 1981 and Long, Swain & Cummins, 1996) reinforces the importance of allowing at least two minutes of student processing time with every ten minutes of teacher lecture.  It is the two minutes that supports comprehensible output, negotiating meaning, and a risk-free environment to try new vocabulary and concepts with someone the student understands — another student. Also connected to brain research is the idea of “chunking” information. People remember more if it is chunked (as with social security and phone numbers).

By focusing in short spurts on important knowledge and understandings, lessons are delivered in small, 10 minute, “chunks.”  During this time, students listen and possibly take notes.  Then, prompted by a reflective question to focus thinking, students are given 2 minutes to “chew” on the information by verbally sharing with a classmate or writing individually.


Say Something

Say Something is a shared reading strategy used to “chunk” up the text and provide an opportunity for students to “chew” on the content in pieces.  It helps students verbalize their thoughts and thus focus on the content.

Say Something works like this:

1.  Students are placed in pairs (Student A and Student B) and then the class decides together on dividing the reading material into “chunks”… usually no more than a few paragraphs in a “chunk”.

2.  Students then read the first portion of the text independently and silently and then Student A “says something” about the reading.  This student can do one of the following:

  • Make a personal connection to the reading
  • Pose a question about what has been read
  • Make a summary comment about the reading

3.  Person B then has the opportunity to do the same.  The next “chunk” is then read silently and independently and the “say something” process continues until the complete text has been read and discussed in pairs.



Show, Don’t Say

Show, Don’t Say is a focusing strategy that causes students to use a new modality….to go from auditory learning to visual learning.  It is effective in refocusing students so that they look up to see the hand signal from the teacher.

Show, Don’t Say works like this:  When wanting to let students know how much time they have for a task, the teacher raises his/her hand with a number of fingers extended indicating the number of minutes left.  Teacher then says to the class, “You have this many minutes left to complete your work.”  Students must look up to see how much time is left.

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