Out of This World Literacy : May 2014
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Ways to Invite Students' Real Thinking!!

Hello friends!

I am so excited to be a part of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop again this month!

I wanted to quickly share some thoughts with you this month about how we can invite students to share their thinking...in any subject...all day long.

So, have you ever thought...

 'I wonder if the questions I am asking are getting in the way of my students thinking?'

'Are my questions distracting students from their own thinking?'

'What genuine thinking am I missing from my students because I am distracting them with specific questions?'

I know this sounds a bit crazy, but I have thought about these three questions a lot!  Imagine...you have just finished reading a mentor text on the Holocaust.  After reading, you jump into questions like this...

1. What was the book about?
2. How did the characters feel during the story?
3. How did the characters change from the beginning to the end of the story?
4. What was the problem? Solution?

And on and on...

These are great questions to ask.


If we jump right into these, we may be redirecting our students' thinking patterns.  They may all have their own train of thoughts and questions that we are interrupting by asking our own.  We will never know their initial reactions to the text because we are shutting down their thinking patterns and inserting our own.

My suggestion is that we give ALL students the chance to share their thinking before we begin asking our predetermined questions.

Ways to Invite Students' Real Thinking:

1. Give them time to turn and talk.  

During, and after reading, allow students time to turn and talk to a partner that is sitting next to them in class.  Instruct students to simply share their thinking about the text.  They may have questions or share a connection from their past experiences.  Because we all think differently and we all bring our unique past experiences to the text, every student will have their own thoughts about the text.

Turning and talking works in every subject, gets all students involved (not just the few that always raise their hands), and acts as an invaluable informal assessment.

2. Prompt students with open-ended questions like:

What are you thinking?
What questions do you have so far?
What are you wondering?
Tell me more.
Can you so more about that?
What made you think of that?
Why do you think...?

3. Let your students' thinking guide your questions

Sometimes we plan our set of questions that we are going to ask, but they may not be the right questions that match our students' thinking.

Be open to thinking of questions that will take your students' thinking to a deeper level.  Use what they share with you as a baseline to ask deeper questions related to their initial thoughts.

In this way, we are teaching in response to our students' thinking, not inserting or telling them what to think.

I hope these few tips have given you a new perspective into how we ask questions as teachers in class!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on pinterest or at my TpT store.

For more bright ideas from over 130 incredible teacher bloggers, please browse through the link-up below.  Choose a topic or grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!

TpT LOVES Teachers Sale and a Fun Linky

Hello Friends!

I am so excited to join some of my blogging friends to talk about some amazing resources I can NOT wait to buy during the Teacher Appreciation Sale this Tuesday and Wednesday (May 6-7)!!

These are the top 3 resources I can NOT wait to buy:  

{You can click on the images to see them in each teacher's store}

#1 The first is a set of Common Core Daily Warm-Ups for Math.  I have had my eye on these for a while.  I will be homeschooling my kids next year and my son is going into 5th grade.  As a literacy person, I need help with math!  I know these will be wonderful.  I love having the peace of mind knowing that I will be covering all the 5th grade math common core as well!!

#2  I also have a daughter going into 7th grade.  So I am super pumped to have the 7th grade version as well!  I love that both my son and daughter will have these similar resources that are appropriate for their grade levels!

#3 The third product I can't wait to snatch up is a Skittles math resource.  My kids are obsessed with skittles so I know they will LOVE this resource!!

I am so excited about these 3 resources.  I hope you will find them helpful in your classroom as well!

 NO PREP Reading and Writing Common Core Packs

I have been working hard on some new Common Core resources.

I love these latest resources because they allow students to show all they know about the Common Core Standards, and require no planning time from me!

If you would like to check out a few of the newest NO PREP Packets you can click on the images below.

They will be on sale, along with everything else in my store!

Thanks so much for reading.  You can check out some other great wishlist items by clicking on the images below.  

I hope everyone has a great week of teaching and can find some great resources for your classroom!

Best wishes,