Friday, November 4, 2016

Questioning Styles and Strategies to Develop Higher Level Thinking

"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." ~Albert Einstein

Throughout my 10 years of teaching, I have learned that educators can become accustomed to planning instruction to meet the needs of all their learners, including gifted learners, in the types of questions they develop and/or in the ways the questions are presented to their students.

Bloom's Taxonomy and Thoughtful Classroom's Questioning Styles and Strategies are two resources I use as a guide to help myself in developing higher level questions for my learners. These resources can be used to develop questions in any content area and for all learners.

Last week in my Differentiated Engagement Block (DEB) 3/4 class, my students learned about anthropomorphism to prepare for their reading of the novel, Flora and Ulysses.  I formed questions using higher level questioning stems from the Bloom's Taxonomy chart. Not only were the questions higher level, so was the Thoughtful Classroom Carousel Brainstorm activity they participated in to respond to the questions. The students were paired up, and each pair of students started at a specific question to answer. After a specified time, groups moved to the next question. The activity really challenged the students to think deeper by being required to add new ideas or expand on responses that were previously stated throughout the rounds of questions.

Another strategy I use to develop and present questions to promote higher level thinking in my students is a Thoughtful Classroom Task Rotation. This strategy helps teachers meet the needs of all their learners since the questions are differentiated by learning styles. Students work on answering questions that pertain to how they learn best. The questions within each learning style involve students to think deeper about the topic. The students in my DEB 3/4 class will soon be reading the story Flora and Ulysses, and this task rotation is one the students will be given to complete.

Recently, I created a reading choice board for some 2nd grade students to work on during DEB. One activity that is incorporated into the choice board is a Thoughtful Classroom Reading for Meaning organizer. The student(s) read each statement on the sheet that pertains to the story. Then, he/she decides whether to agree or disagree with the statements, and include evidence from the text to support his/her responses. Most of the statements require the students to make inferences.

As one can see, students can be challenged during classroom instruction in the way they are presented questions and the types of questions they are asked.

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