Rose Ferrero Bulletin
January 23-February 3, 2023
LCAP GOAL 2: PROFICIENCY FOR ALL – The Strategic Use of Questions, Prompts, and Cues
At the heart of scaffolded reading instruction lies the strategic use of questions to check for understanding, prompts to trigger cognitive and metacognitive thinking, and cues as needed to shift attention more overtly. In other words, rather than relying on text-dependent questions and repeated reading for the scaffolds – as is the case in close reading – the teacher provides support by attending to the misconceptions and errors that students make. Scaffolded reading instruction also provides students with practice applying comprehension strategies while learning to resolve their confusion.
Questions to Check for Understanding: The subject of questioning is critical to scaffolded reading instruction because questioning is the very core of instruction. Once students have finished reading for the lesson, teachers should pose literal and inferential questions to them. Retelling is the query at the literal level and is closely associated with comprehension. Teachers should invite students to retell and encourage them to use their books to support their retelling. Readers should return to the text as needed, and this should be considered an acceptable classroom practice.
In addition, teachers should ask questions that require students to infer meaning about the text, such as questions about the main idea, or about the author’s purpose for writing the book, story, or text. Questioning may also probe students’ reactions and opinions of the text. Asking a reader about his/her thoughts concerning talking to strangers, for example, encourages students to form an opinion and to probe evidence for their responses. Although every question you ask cannot be anticipated in advance, it is useful to prepare literal and inferential questions to begin meaningful discussion with students.
Scaffolded reading instruction begins when the teacher poses a question to check for understanding. This is not the time to assess students but rather a time to uncover misconceptions or errors. Students should be asked a variety of questions to check for their understanding, and teachers should be continually looking for misconceptions and errors. There are a number of question types useful in checking for understanding, such as clarifying and elaboration questions in which students are encouraged to add details and examples to their answers. When students are asked to clarify or elaborate on their responses, misconceptions, errors, and partial understandings will reveal themselves.
Prompts for Cognitive or Metacognitive Work: When misconceptions are identified, the first step in resolving them is to prompt the student to engage in mental work, either cognitive or metacognitive. Unfortunately, in too many classrooms, when errors are identified, teachers skip the prompts and cues and instead provide the missing information for students. In this case, the student has not done any of the work and likely did not learn anything from the exchange. Teachers can prompt students’ background knowledge and experiences, the rules they have been taught, or the procedures commonly used to solve problems.
Cues to Shift Attention: If prompts fail to resolve the error or misconception, teachers can assume a more directive role through the use of cues. Cues should shift students’ attention to something they have missed or overlooked. (A simple cue might be, “Take a look at the figure on page 112. Does that help?”) There are a number of cues that are effective, including gestural, verbal, visual, physical, environmental, and positional. Though teachers use these cues regularly, it is important for them to use them when students get stuck.
Second Trimester Progress Reports Timeline
Teachers: Please refer to the timeline below regarding Second Trimester Progress Reports.
1) During a Rainy-Day Schedule, teachers walk their students straight to the cafeteria and pick them up 30 minutes later. In addition, when relieved for a “break” (during recess), these breaks are only 10 minutes long.
2) Please remember that assessment capable learning means that students can assess their own learning – they are aware of their current level of understanding in a learning area, they understand their learning path and are confident enough to take on the challenge. In order for students to understand how to do this, they need to have clear learning intentions and success criteria.
3) Teachers: Whenever the opportunity arises, model your thinking in front of your students using “I” statements, and try to include some metacognition (thinking about our thinking) …. at minimum, it would involve using a “because, why, or how”. In this way, your students will soon learn how an expert thinker (you) begins to tackle questions/problems that they encounter.