Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin
Teachers had asked ‘odd one out’ questions at the beginnings of lessons to establish prior knowledge and set up groups.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Simple questions can be the most effective, such as ‘Where does the sun go at night?’ which reveal misconceptions effectively.
‘What’s wrong?’ for mathematics, such as shapes with some wrong labels draws children of all ages in to the lesson.
Asking children to explain how they worked something out allows them to clarify their ideas and goes way beyond just providing the answer, leading to children becoming teachers.
For example a child answered a question and the class respond ‘Why?’ The child said ‘The cubes show 2/4’.
The child used the vocabulary on the wall to explain about the numerator and denominator.
Using effective questions creates a culture of drilling down and developing reasoning skills through active questioning peppered throughout the lesson.
One teacher said that marking comments could be more effective as questions rather than statements (e.g. show me how you solved no.8 – it could help you to see where you went wrong.’
The ‘odd one out’ question was powerful in getting discussion started right at the beginning of a lesson.
Asking ‘Does a triangle have 3 sides sometimes, always or never?’ led to children being more confident in debating.
Giving multiple choice, or range of answers means that children have to work out the underlying calculation to realise why the wrong answers are wrong.
The statement ‘I think toothpaste with vinegar is best because it makes teeth shiny’ caused much debate and allowed children to see they could disagree with an adult (this was the manufacturer’s claim).
One teacher asked ‘Have I got it right or wrong?’ for a writing genre. The children really enjoyed the idea that the teacher had got something wrong and were quick to find mistakes. This led easily to the generation of success criteria.
In September I used ‘always, sometimes, never’ questioning frequently. We started with maths (e.g. a triangle has 3 sides) and then in the wider curriculum e.g. in a unit on non-chronological report writing following a lesson on identifying features, the following lesson began with ‘Explanation marks are a feature of non-chronological reports.
Always, sometimes or never?’ Children were allowed to give an answer to justify their answers and developed confidence in debating.
Cathy Day, Mark Cross C of E School
Kentucky (maths only)
Different questions were used as bell ringers which had increased students discussion and made their thinking more analytical.
‘What went wrong’ questions had increased critical thinking.
Students had also been encouraged to develop their own questions.
The overall impact had been increased vocabulary, more confidence, more willing and able to discuss, higher levels of thinking and increased student engagement.
Kentucky (all subjects)
The odd one out had been used for factor and multiples, increasing vocabulary and understanding.
‘What went wrong?’ had helped students to explain their thinking.
Starting from the end had revealed their level of achievement.
The room had been reorganised into everyone facing the front or their partner through v shapes. This has allowed more opportunities for pupil discussion and more pupil questioning.
One teacher had used the statement:
Stomach acid can digest metal
Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin, USA
Patricia Deklotz | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Zeidler | email@example.com
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
Mel Shackleton | firstname.lastname@example.org