Monday, April 17, 2017

Excellence in Education--Or Not!

Excellence in Education: Or NOT!

A couple of weeks ago on #vachat Denis Sheran asked, “Which of your long-standing beliefs could be impeding your growth as an educator?”

Honestly, I struggled to answer the question but came up with another,  “What are some instructional practices that you used that were ineffective?” At one time or another, I used the following, all of which I know deem ineffective:
  1. Developing lessons with Multiple Intelligences in mind
  2. Assigning zeroes and other grading practices
  3. Failing to use pre-assessments
  4. Over-reliance on direct instruction
  5. Ineffective questioning strategies

Sadly, the list could go on-and-on, but today’s blog will focus on Ineffective Questioning Strategies.

I made use of wait time, cold calling, and other questioning strategies, but I fell apart in developing questions that probed and far too often I didn’t use students’ answers to cue my response. Fortunately, somewhere around my twelfth year of teaching, I figured this out.

I became more purposeful in the question that I asked by adding them to my lesson plans, writing them down on sticky notes, including them in my PowerPoints, etc. Then, I went a step further and wrote down the answers I wanted to hear and even had a an index card with prompts to remind me to develop better responses.

Cues to elicit more information:
  • You’re on the right track, tell me more.
  • Let’s take that apart. What can we add?
  • So how is that different from…
  • I’m curious about that...

The year after I left the classroom, I read Guided Instruction: How to Develop Confident and Successful Learners  by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey which has a whole chapter dedicated to Questioning for Understanding (of course, it was a year late for me). One of my favorite parts of the book is the below Instructional Decision Making Tree:
Frey, N., & Fisher, D. (2010). Identifying instructional moves during guided learning. The Reading Teacher, 64(2). © 2010 by the International Reading Association.

At the heart of it the book is the basic principle: We must be purposeful and intentional in everything we do. I hadn’t been purposeful in my questioning and responses to student answers.

So, I challenge you:  “What are some instructional practices that you used that were ineffective?

Useful Links:

Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here

Technology / Website Permission Request Form Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list

Calendar and Memo Items

Year-end calendar is here.

April 11: Grades due, 9am

April 17: Teacher-Student Improv Night

April 21: Pep Rally

April 22: Prom (Interested in chaperoning? Please email Ms. Stott)

April 11: Laura Gaskins, Shannon Deegan
April 12: Mike Parsons

Worth Your Time
It’s Time to Stop the Clock on Math Anxiety. Here’s the Latest Research on How. : While this a math specific article, we know math is a school-wide focus, so I encourage everyone to read this.

Five Ways to Show YouTube Videos Without the Other Content

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