"Teachers who use questions strategically promote new kinds of thinking in their students and motivate their engagement in thought provoking discussions." Sue Brown- Shared Reading for Grades 3 and Beyond
Maria Wickstandt is our wonderful Professional Development Coach for integrating a balanced literacy approach in our classrooms. She has held 4 sessions since May of last year that have brought purpose and meaning to my Reading Lessons. So far this year, we have discussed Purpose Statements, Text Selections, chunking, crafting questions and scaffolding.
Today we began by reflecting on our current practice, what has been successful and what has been challenging? My successes are with creating purpose statements and choosing age appropriate texts. My weaknesses are scaffolding to support thinking and talking when necessary.
Our focus today was generating higher order thinking questions, that focused more on the higher end of Bloom's taxonomy. We began by discussing the difference between Thick and Thin Questions, which I know I've seen an anchor chart floating on Pinterest about. Maria stated that 80% of the questions we ask should be "Thick" questions and the reasons are as follows:
-To develop higher levels of cognition or critical thinking
-Prep for writing in response to reading
-Promote thoughtful discussion and engagement among students
-21st century skill
Thick Questions allow students to connect towards bigger ideas, think beyond the text, form opinions or give their personal response to text, builds questioning, allows for prior knowledge, higher on Bloom's, discussion promoting, more than one answer, develops divergent thinking, and best of all increases engagement.
We also discussed ways to Scaffold questions to support thinking and talking if necessary by:
-Looking back at the illustrations
-looking back at the text in smaller chunks
Finally, we helped Maria plan a lesson with purposeful talk and construction of meaning. Since, she was going to model the lesson with my class I chose the book Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco. Our purpose statement was I can determine the theme (Big Idea) by analyzing how the character Natasha changes from the beginning to the End of the story.
She then modeled the lesson in my room, which turned out great overall. The students were attentive, and engaged in purposeful talk. I was so proud to hear all the vocabulary they were using to describe the characters. Some of them were even using the anchor charts in the room to locate words.