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:
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!
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