2011 Age 9-11: Y5/6 (4/5 Grade US) Feedback from Day 3


Statements had been used in maths (these are all polygons). Impact: good discussion using appropriate vocabulary, misconceptions highlighted.

The odd one out in maths had led to children realising that there is not always one answer. The discussion means they learn new vocabulary and are more confident with reasoning. Links are made by hearing what others have to say so they can then make their own connections.

One teacher uses ‘questioning netball’ (e.g. what is the best way to add these numbers?). The question is ‘thrown’ to each child to pass on their answers. A curved ball is thrown in to challenge children. They discuss in pairs and 4s.

Ellesmere Port

One teacher taught the children about questioning by dividing them into 4 groups finding out about a local castle as follows:

  1. Could only ask closed questions, so not much was found out.
  2. Could ask yes/no questions only so again limited.
  3. Open ended questions so found out some facts.
  4. Had a discussion and asked a range of questions, resulting in lots of useful information.

Children learnt how important it is to ask more probing questions and were more cooperative in their learning.

Teachers had stopped asking recall questions at the start of a lesson. They now simply summarise what has been done and give an example. This means there is a quicker pace to the lesson with no failures at the start, removing teacher frustration.

One teacher used a true or false question about Charles Dickens to start a topic which successfully hooked the class, opening up discussion.

Another teacher used a ‘diamond nine’ representation (a diamond shape of boxes, one at the top, then two, then 3 in the middle, 2, then one at the bottom) for children to order a set of statements about children’s rights. This resulted in them understanding what is important for good group discussion. They were justifying their answers, making decisions, prioritising and compromising. They learnt that one person’s priority is not necessarily another’s.


The statement led to children being instantly engaged and developed good thinking skills.
Always, sometimes, never led to more motivation.

The silly question had been used in literacy, numeracy and science. One teacher asked the same type of question every day for a week. For instance, the silly question:
Mon: What is red?
Tues: What would you ask a spoon?
Wed: What’s at the top of a tree?

By the end of the week the children were better at thinking more widely and verbalising their answers well.

The opposing standpoint questions led to immediate discussion because they were so controversial.

One teacher had tried the thinking hats and found them too complex for children to grasp.

Brighton and Hove

Teachers found that they could plan these questions quite quickly. They provoked much discussion and often led to the generation of success criteria (e.g. This is an example of an explanation text. Agree or disagree? Why?/This is an accurate answer to a ÷ calculation. True or false? How do you know?)

Children were able to unpick their thinking and explain their reasoning. Using their errors really helped in maths.

This aspect of formative assessment related well to Pie Corbett’s questioning:
e.g. Which sequence should the text be in?
What came before?
What came after?
What’s going to happen next and why?
What is the character going to say next and why?

Children had been encouraged to make up their own questions. One teacher started a topic by presenting an artefact and asked, ‘If the object could talk, what questions would you ask it?’ Their questioning skills were developed and their interest hooked.

Brighton & Hove

Suzanne Morgan | suzanne.morgan@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Ellesmere Port, Cheshire

Anne Vickers | aevickers@yahoo.co.uk


Paul Wilson | paul.wilson@hertscc.gov.uk


Amy Parry | amy.parry@rotherham.gov.uk