Sunday, January 24, 2016

Any Questions? #EXPLOREMTBOS2016


This week we are to write about questioning.  I think that this is one of the most important parts of teaching.  I will never forget the time a math coach who observed my lesson typed up everything I had said during the class.  We reflected on how many and what type of questions I asked and I was pretty embarrassed by the results.  Thankfully that was an eye opener and ever since then I have been trying to improve my questioning skills.   I always start with anything I want to "tell" my students I will rephrase into a question.  I still need a ton of work on this and now I find that my lesson planning is most focused on the questions I'm going to ask.

I also noticed a big part of this is not only asking the questions but making sure everyone has an opportunity to answer.  In my classes I notice that there are 3-4 students who want to answer every single question and the rest of the class is more than happy to sit back and let them.  So I started doing all the usual tricks like making sure I wait long enough, using craft sticks to draw names, using the name picker on the interactive white board, etc.  But I noticed that those students who don't want to answer will just say any old thing to get it over with.  Also, it still doesn't help me to know if everyone understands the lesson.

My new strategy is a tracking sheet I've started using in the past few weeks.  It works like this: my students watch a video lesson in class, when they are finished or if a small group of them are finished, I confer with them and ask specific questions that I have prewritten and sometimes I generate others on the spot.  I then mark on my tracking sheet if I spoke with them and if they understand based on the questions I asked.  The nice part is spending a few minutes with each student or small group of 2-4 students really allow me to find their misconceptions early and help them understand the concept better.  I also like having the space on my sheet to write the questions down that I plan on asking them.   Or the room to write down their questions as well as any other comments during our conference!
Here is an example.  Its really low tech and I've thought about making it on a spreadsheet, but I think I like it best hand written because I can switch up groups at a moments notice if needed.

Sorry its sideways!  The circle next to their name means I talked to them and the line through it means they got it or answered questions successfully.

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