Questions Are Like Onions

In the movie Shrek, the ogre Shrek waxes philosophical and tells his traveling companion, Donkey, “Ogres are like onions. They have layers.” Focus questions are also like onions. No, they don’t make you cry or turn brown in the sun (as Donkey suggested to Shrek), but they do contain layers that can be peeled back … Continue reading Questions Are Like Onions

Developing Effective Focus Questions

I suppose it’s because I’ve been a professional educator for a number of years, but there are parts of movies that strike me a little differently than those in my home, and I laugh probably more than I should. There’s an old (ancient now that I think about it) comedy movie called Back to School, … Continue reading Developing Effective Focus Questions

Make Your Classroom Like A Guitar Circle Jam Session

I began playing guitar when I was five years old, and a guitar has been a constant companion of mine to this very day. Learning to play guitar provides some great challenges, but it also provides tremendous feedback. Notes are either right or wrong, and you know the status immediately. The guitar allows you to … Continue reading Make Your Classroom Like A Guitar Circle Jam Session

Three Teacher Roles for the Formative Classroom

One passage in my favorite book of ancient wisdom says a cord of three strands is not easily broken. The interweaving of those three strands provides great overall strength and makes for a sturdy, effective cord. In the book Questioning for Formative Feedback: Meaningful Dialogue to Improve Learning, author Jackie Acree Walsh identifies three teacher … Continue reading Three Teacher Roles for the Formative Classroom

The Importance of Think Time

I really enjoy the holiday breaks. The change of place and the change of pace give me opportunities to think, and when I have time to think I frequently solve problems that have been lingering and bring creative ideas into fruition.  Think time is also important in your classroom when you are asking questions of … Continue reading The Importance of Think Time

Developing Focus Questions That Stimulate Thinking

If you spend enough time with a three-year-old child, you will at some point get into a question loop that is driven by one query: “why?.”  If they ask it once, they will likely ask it a thousand times, because they are trying to make sense of the world that is still quite new to … Continue reading Developing Focus Questions That Stimulate Thinking

A FIRME Response to Assessment

Assessment is an integral component of the teaching and learning process, and as such, teacher response to assessment data is critical. So how should teachers respond to assessment data? Take FIRME action! In the book Questioning for Formative Feedback: Meaningful Dialogue to Improve Learning, author Jackie Acree Walsh shares the following from the work of … Continue reading A FIRME Response to Assessment

Making the Intangible Tangible

If you follow professional sports, you may have heard commentators say something like, “That player has many intangibles that make him/her great at the game.” What it means is the player has something a little extra special in his/her performance, ability, or understanding of the game that is difficult to qualify and quantify. In the … Continue reading Making the Intangible Tangible