Monday, September 24, 2012


Students will be held more accountable for learning under common core lessons than in the past.  Teachers will be adjusting their instructional delivery in ways that have the potential to engage every student--including the ELL. 

What might the classroom look like?  This video, though of an elementary classroom, offers a great overview of what the transformed classroom will look like regardless of the grade level taught or the subject:  QUESTIONING STYLES AND STRATEGIES  Dr. Harvey Silver does a masterful job demonstrating those key instructional strategies that are crucial if every child is to attain subject mastery. 

Though I have blogged on many of these techniques in earlier posts, I am offering a video on the effective use of them in class with real students. 

What techniques are being used?
1.  Think-pair-share allows a student time to work on a short task with a partner.  This approach provides students with time to clarify the assignment, reading, task, etc. without pressure or fear of embarrassment with any misunderstanding.
2.  Random calls ensure that every student knows that s/he will be called on.  Teachers will make sure that not only those who raise their hands will respond to any given question.  After all, the students with their hands up already know the answer.  The quiet ones are those who should be targeted.
3.  Conduct surveys--akin to taking a poll on answers to key questions. 
4.  Value feedback because when a student shares an answer that student needs to know his/her efforts are being validated.  This approach encourages students to continue sharing since their answers have value in the eyes of the teacher and fellow classmates.
5.  Ask probing questions by keeping away from the yes/no or the factual recall questions.  Those questions don't require much thinking.  Ask questions which have students dig deep within themselves to find creative thoughtful responses.
6.  Extend student responses when they offer incomplete or not very detailed answers.  When this happens, teachers need to ask more questions to scaffold the student's efforts in supplying more information.
7.  Make concerted efforts to call on non-volunteers---every student must be held accountable for knowing the answer.
8.  Allow physical representation of a concept--bring in kinesthetic learning styles.  Students can act out their answers.
9.  Have students keep learning logs because students need to keep notes on what they learn.  Students may draw, outline, write--whatever works for them so that they do not forget what was taught.

With the use of extensive quality questioning, students will be fully prepared to enter into individual practice with success.  Homework won't be a mystery.


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