7 Basic Questioning Tools

 Notes from session hosted by John Sullivan

 – use singly or in combination

1. Cold-call replaces “hands up who can tell me” as default mode. Keeps everyone on their toes – reduces risk of passengers and avoids domination by a few.

How to do it: say “no hands”, then Pose – Pause – Pounce.

Ideal for: most questioning episodes

Requires you to: personalise and deliberately target students to draw them in

Resources: often none, though some like lollipop sticks (see Dylan William)

2. Bundles of questions to pairs.

How to do it: rather than firing a sequence of closed questions to the whole class and hearing answers from individuals, give a bundle of questions to pairs and some time to answer them.

Ideal for: recap or quick knowledge check

Requires you to: plan ahead, monitor robustly

Resources: mini-whiteboards are ideal but not vital

3. Pair – Share and variations as default mode. A great default for almost all questioning episodes.

How to do it: rather than firing questions to individuals, give students time to think and talk it through before asking for answers.

Ideal for: getting everyone involved – can be used for most questions. Lots of variations and combinations

Requires you to: monitor robustly and target least-likely-tos

Resources: often none

Some variations:

  • Pair-Share (“30 seconds, with the person next to you, get an answer”) – quick and easy
  • Think-Pair-Share. Allows individual reflection for more complex or challenging questions
    • Think-Pair-Think. Great for complex ideas that need deeper thinking. With the right question and the right class you can keep going with this for a while.
    • Think-Pair-Write. Gets students to reflect (as in Think-Pair-Think) then log their thoughts individually. You can add some extra Pair talk after writing, ad infinitum. Superb for revision lessons or preparing for writing.
    • Think-Pair-Move. Similar to snowballing. Students move and share with a new partner after sharing with their first one. Again, this can continue for as long as it seems to be developing thinking.
    • Think-Deepen-Share. Student A gives his view, then, regardless of her own views, student B has to help A develop his thinking by asking questions such as: “How do you know? What evidence have you got for this? How does this link to….?” etc. Use CRAVE Q to support this
    • Think-Challenge-Share. Student A gives her view, then, regardless of his own views, student B has to challenge A by occupying an opposing viewpoint. “I disagree because….I don’t think you’ve considered….What about….? “ Use CRAVE Q to support this.

4. Two-step questions that ask for justification.

How to do it: rather than saving the reasons for follow-up, ask what and why at the same time. You could try “every answer has ‘because’ in the middle”.

Good for: pushing for understanding as well as knowledge

You need to: anticipate your follow-up and build it in

Resources: none, though whiteboards can help

5. Badger or Bounce.

How to do it: don’t take the first plate. Get students to develop their own or each other’s answers. Badger one student to extend their answer, or bounce it to another student: “tell me more…go deeper…what can you add…?” This works best if you don’t comment on their answers – let them do the work.

Try Pose-Pause-Pounce-Bounce.  If answers are detailed, you may need to Summarise and Bounce: “so, Jack’s saying Macbeth was ambitious. Tell me more, Maxine…”

Good for: flushing out current knowledge, extending thinking, exploring ideas, co-constructing learning

You need to: listen very carefully, exercise careful judgements, target key students

Resources: none

6. ACE the question (aka SDC). A simple AFL strategy that forces all students to engage and get an opinion while giving you vital feedback.

How to do it: in response to an answer or statement, students hold up one finger to Agree, two to Challenge, three to Extend. You then cold-call students you want to hear from.

Good for: harvesting opinions, open or closed questions, quick hinge checks, working out who to ask next

You need to: listen carefully

Resources: none

7. Total Physical Response (TPR). Gets students on their feet, sharing and justifying opinions.

How to do it: Allocate different opinions to different sides of the room. Students move to the place that corresponds with their opinion, share ideas with the like-minded students near them, then meet someone who holds an opposite view in the middle of the room to justify. You then cold-call pairs or individuals to hear their arguments. You can push for synthesis too: “with the person who holds the opposite view, rehearse a paragraph that begins – ‘one hand, it could be argued that….’

Good for: harvesting opinions, exploring issues, justifying, practising synthesis

You need to: listen carefully

Resources: none

Every lesson, every day good or better…..

Twilight session Sept 2013
Twilight session Sept 2013

I am just reflecting on the start of the new year and thinking ‘what an exciting place Roding Valley High School is at the moment, especially if you are the type of teacher who loves to experiment and try new ideas in the classroom’

As Paul Banks said ‘it has been an incredibly positive start to the year’

We have just had a record set of GCSE results, the highest ever. We are free of the Ofsted fear factor for a while, our teaching is good or better in the majority of our classrooms, our progress rates are good and improving and the behaviour by the majority of our students is exemplary.

Now is the time, but how do we ignite their learning, how do we become outstanding?

We now have the freedom to push the boundaries in our classroom, we will have the technology to inspire the students and we do have the support systems in place. We must all learn from our best teachers, we need to accept that we all need coaching, support and praise and the best teachers appreciate that teaching is a continual learning process.

The world is changing at a rapid pace and we need to match that pace in the classroom.

We do have to continue with the basics just to remain good, our key factors Differentiation, Assessment and Zest need to be present in every lesson. We have made huge progress as a school with the assessment and marking and the use of data is becoming second nature to us all. We have been experimenting with all forms of assessment including video feedback and talking essays!

As a group of experienced practitioners we have collectively recognised that it’s the students who now need to grab hold of all the amazing feedback we are giving them and use it to make accelerated progress. To encourage them to do this we have launched our ‘Closing the gap’ initiative. Teachers are on board, now we need to get the students on board with us too. We plan to deliver a series of assemblies within the next few weeks; we intend to use drama and the students themselves to demonstrate the potential benefits in this initiative. The teachers have seen the posters that the students designed in response to this initiative, they got it straight away. We don’t need to battle with their acceptance; we just need to do it.

Giving pupils clear and effective feedback was considered to have “a very high impact on student progress”.     (Sutton Trust Report.)

The Mathematics faculty have  invested a lot of time in the maths mastery programme for our current year 7’s , this is a totally different way of teaching Mathematics and the maths faculty has had to open its very experienced mind to adapt to the new methods. We all agree that conceptually it can push students outside the box and is great for developing true understanding and dealing with misconceptions. The Humanities faculty have launched a brand new curriculum for the year 7’s, pulling all the subject areas together.

These are just a couple of the many exciting curriculum changes evolving in our school. We are lucky to have such proactive, self-reflective and forward thinking middle leadership.

An external consultant has come in and just started to work with some of our great teachers to help increase the amazing pool of outstanding teachers in our community. You can’t help but be excited by this, what amazing fresh ideas will he have, how much potential can he help us to unlock? He also helped us to look at the ‘art ‘of giving feedback in a constructive and consistent way. Feedback is gift, even if sometimes in the past it may have felt like an unwanted Christmas present!

I am currently experimenting with ‘flipping’ and loving it, it really does improve the pace and challenge of your lessons. With the access to YouTube it’s an amazing addition to my standard tool kit of teacher resources.

We all have a tool kit and we all like to use our trusty hammer but sometimes it nice to get out a shiny spanner!

Come on, our goal is 90% good or better lessons, we can achieve that….. leave your door open…… try something new…….. take a risk…invite someone in to your classroom…be proud of your work……

Every lesson, every day good or better…..

Together we will be outstanding…..please write on the RVHSTLblog.. share your ideas and experiences…

Sharon Jenner

AHT Teaching and Learning

RVHS Teach Meet Presentations and Resources

Please find below all the presentations and resources from our Teach Meet

Please trial one idea in your classroom and for more information or help then please ask the presenter, I am sure that they will be happy to help.

Camscanner app by Marius Vermaak


Class Charts presented by Shahidur Rahman  an excellent tool for preparing seating plans


Judith Bentley and Tara Preston present on the excellent Mind Mapping Skills promoted by Positively Mad.

Can be an extremely useful technique to help students revise for any subject.


Sharon Jenner presents on Why Blog ?blog

What is the purpose and how relevant is blogging to teaching and learning…..

Click on image below to view

Why Blog?

Matt Cocker on the story so far with Edmodo


Nicholla Chambers presented on effective feedback methods in MFL


Emilie Darabasz presents Tweachers!


Melanie Wright demonstrated how to create a literacy friendly learning environment


Karima Lasfer showed us how to inject zest into the classroom using Task Magic


Jackson Home and Tamie Kyriakou show us how to use Tarsia across the curriculum


Jon Quirk presented on using Google Play for education


Chris Bently demonstrated how to use the fantastic screencast-o-matic to provide feedback
Click on image below to view

Screencast-o-matic

Kumers Naidoo showed us five online web tools in 5 minutes

Click on image below to view

KNA - five web tools

Dee Sexton shared some differentiation strategies


Emilie Darabasz presents on…

Tweachers– Why teachers should be using twitter?twitter

What’s the point of Twitter? Why should educators get involved? What difference does using Twitter make? Well here are some ideas I wanted to share.

Twitter is like a virtual staffroom, we are at times too busy in school to sit down and share ideas and resources. Twitter helps you to do so. In the search tool bar Hash tag #  follow by what you would like to search for (#AFL) and in seconds you can access a stream of links, ideas, opinion and resources from global professionals.

Twitter is no string attached– you can step into it when suits you: on the train or waiting for the kettle to boil you do not need to be logged on all the time for Twitter to be beneficial to you.

Twitter helps teachers to reflect on their own practice in order to improve and develop ideas. Teachers on Twitter share reflections and both support and challenge each other. This is a free and very efficient CPD!

With Twitter you get instant feedback – Posting an idea or a resource on Twitter means you can gather a range of opinions and constructive criticism within minutes: which is a great help when planning a learning experience or writing a policy.

Twitter helps me to  stay up to date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest developments in my areas of interest. By following leading individuals and organisations, Twitter users can stay at the bleeding edge of innovation and creativity. (Think about your own CPD )

So where do you start? Open an account for your personal CPD only. Think about the leading individuals in your subject area for instance Sue Cowley for behaviour – seach for their name and read their ‘Bio’ (The way they introduce themselves on the profile page). If you are interested follow them. Have a look at who they are following as well (as most of the time they will follow professionals in the same area if interest) and follow them too.

Do not forget chats and forum like @ukedchat: every Thursday night at 8pm on education ideas and issues, @BehaviourTeach: Monday night at 8pm chat on behaviour strategies in classroom or @STLchat on Sunday night at 8.30 pm (you do not need to be STL to follow this very interesting forum)

Our very own TEACH MEET on 21st May 2013

I just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for all the  excellent contributions last night.

Our Teach Meet  was really good fun and informative, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It was great to feel that real buzz in the hall and the after chat (party) focused on teaching and learning.

All the resources and presentations will be posted on this blog… Prezzi  seems a real hit , these presentations are quite easy if you follow one of the templates. You can also upload an existing powerpoint  into Prezzi. Have a look… http://prezi.com/

Paula was a little scary with her flying ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ and the wonders of Twitter are now to behold. It felt very together, a real team effort.

Click below for programme http://prezi.com/ghihcugchcdl/rvhs-teachmeet-inset-21-may-2013/

Together we will be outstanding ……..

Sharon J

Running Order of Inset April 2013

To view running order of Inset, please click here
This is Prezi in action – High impact presentation software and will be introduced to staff at our Roding Valley Teach Meet. Date for the diary 21st May.