Concept cartoons had been used in science which promotes structured discussion and reasoning (e.g. Has air got weight? Does the balloon get higher/stay the same or get heavier?) One child said ‘The air is lighter because when you let it go, it goes up in the air (untied).’ The impact has been that misconceptions are revealed and challenged.
A good question for self-differentiation was here is the answer – what’s the question.
‘How many uses for a brick?’ was a good question for building confidence, being creative and thinking outside of the box.
‘I wonder’ was an effective starter question, inclusive with no right answers.
Thinking hats had been introduced one at a time to clarify different types of thinking. The colours of the hats were used in their work for improvement symbols. This had led to effective and critical thinking and debate and making judgements.
The odd one out, what went wrong in this maths, how many ways can you make (7), true and false (all food is good for you) had all been used as starter questions effectively. For science, one teacher had given children a list of equipment including some things they would not need to start their discussion.
For Literacy one teacher gave children a piece of text and they had to discuss where the setting was from the clues on the text.
Showing children 3a and 2a examples of writing and analysing them (How is this one different?) had resulted in one child saying ‘That’s all I have to do to move up a level?’
Tower Hamlets, London
The question starters used, mainly in maths were as follows:
- Range of answers
- Right and wrong
- Starting from the answer
- Opposing standpoint
- Odd one out
- Concept cartoons
All had had effective impact on class discussion.
A Year 6 SRE lesson
Lots of pictures of people in different types of relationships were shown: friends, families, gay, straight, young, old, mixed race etc. Children were asked to discuss what they saw: By looking at these pictures, which ones show people in love? One child said the white man and woman were ‘normal’ but after the class discussion said later ‘I’ve realised I was wrong. There’s no such thing as normal.’
One teacher used Cam’s Quadrant to generate good questions about a text with the children:
Another teacher used De Bono’s thinking hats when asking the question: Is it unfair children can’t talk when the teacher is talking?
Children were able to discuss the question with the support of the hats, giving different perspectives.
In a science lesson, the learning objective was not given till the end of the lesson. I took the class outside, dropped 2 Mentos into a litre of cola. Children watched the chemical reaction (an explosion). The key question:
If you were to have a go, but you have to do something different, what would you do?
Children had post it notes and wrote what variable they would change:
- different sized bottle
- different temperature of cola
- different number of Mentos
- different location
- different sweets
- different liquids
- different volume of liquid
- different type of bottle
- different number of sweets
Children then designed their own experiment which they facilitated the following science lesson with a talk partner.
The LO was to recognise the variables to change in a scientific experiment
Chris Breed, Redlands Primary School
Questions starters used:
Odd one out for maths: led to increased vocab and good explanations.
Perfect partners (all given a number and have to pair up with another number and justify why they chose that number, how they two number relate)
Spot the mistake: led to independent thinking and taking risks.
Pupils are now asking many more questions and teachers are asking more open ended questions. Interviewing was used to promote children’s questions.
Questioning needs lots of planning.
Claire Hodgson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tower Hamlets, London
Stella Smith | email@example.com
Stella Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauline Hill | email@example.com