Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin
Students were asked ‘What are the big ideas?’ for a chapter in a class text. They had to process and synthesise for themselves.
A statement ‘Snake was naughty. Agree or disagree?’ allowed children to justify their answers and to think more deeply and find text evidence.
Students have been asked to turn to their partner and say ‘Do you have an idea?’ so that one partner does not dominate.
In maths lessons, the teacher can ask ‘Are there any other ways to view this? Can someone repeat their new thinking?’ This led to students becoming better listeners of new ideas. They are accountable to the group by repeating back ideas. Students acquire new understandings to add to their tool box. They internalise their own work not what the whole is doing, but how they are growing as an individual.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
For independent writing, children were asked ‘What has happened?’ given a picture . Children were motivated and deepened their understanding, knowing that there was no right or wrong answer.
Opening starter pictures (e.g. ‘What is he doing here?’) led to excellent writing.
Open questions for starter maths activities led to further understanding and improved the quality of discussion.
Also an open question as a starter for debate was successful: ‘Does Mr. Toad deserve 20 years in prison for stealing a car?’
The odd one out starter in maths improved discussion and starting from the end developed independence.
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