PSJA Early College Express

February 2016

This month: Questioning


The CIF strategy of Questioning challenges students and teachers to use good questions as a way to open conversations and further intellectual inquiry. Effective questioning (by the teacher and by students) deepens classroom conversations and the level of discourse students apply to their work. Teachers use this strategy to create opportunities for students to investigate and analyze their thinking as well as the thinking of their peers and the authors that they read in each of their classes.

The Teacher Effectiveness Rubric: "Demonstrating" Questioning

  • The teacher is a facilitator, allowing students to discover the answers to questions in their own time and way.
  • The teacher admits freely when she/he does not know the answer to a question.
  • The teacher champions Questioning to Initiating teachers.
  • The teacher plans the lesson and all its activities to answer an essential question and/or to understand the big concept.
  • The teacher prepares purposeful questions in advance of class, but can also ask questions on her/his feet.
  • The teacher anticipates many of the questions that students will have about the big concept of the lesson and prepares a series of student-friendly questions to address them.
  • The teacher plans a variety of question types from lower- to higher-level cognitive domain questions.
  • The teacher incorporates formative assessment collected during Questioning in future lessons.
  • The teacher regularly plans Questioning based on methodology such as a Socratic Questioning technique or all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.
  • The teacher encourages English-language learners to ask and answer questions.
  • The teacher prepares higher-level cognitive domain questions and gives students ample time to think before the answer.
  • The teacher is comfortable asking unplanned questions that come up and can connect them to the lessons big idea.
  • The teacher uses WTL to help students formulate questions and strong responses.
  • The teacher begins class with an open ended question from content or previous discussion.
  • The teacher uses lower-level questions for factual materials and higher-level for non-factual material.
  • The teacher uses questioning to draw inferences and redirects unnecessarily.
  • The teacher models critical, creative questions links to the lesson’s big idea, and expects students to ask them.
  • The teacher asked students to paraphrase others’ questions.
  • The teacher designs lessons so all students can participate, including English-language learners.
  • The teacher regularly incorporates Questioning verbally with other strategies.
  • The teacher engages in Questioning to move students further along without providing answers.
  • The teacher uses redirection and probing to stay focused on salient elements of students’ responses.
  • The teacher is a facilitator of students ask/answer questions that guide the discussion.
  • The teacher is comfortable with wait-time beyond three seconds, especially when asking higher-level cognitive domain type questions.

Designing Leveled Questions

Watch this very brief (2 minute) video on designing leveled questions in the classroom.
Questioning in the Classroom

CLICK ABOVE to read this article by Kathleen Cotton, including research and references.

A poster for your classroom!

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To think about...

Think through these questions, below, courtesy of the PSJA Instructional coaching department, to wrap your mind around the power of teachers' questions in the classroom. We'll see this again during our webinar.
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February Webinar: Questioning

This webinar explores the purpose and power of Questioning. Please watch this webinar with your department prior to your school's face-to-face professional development session (see schedule below). Please click on image below to view the webinar.

Webinar feedback

Please click on the image below after you've watched the webinar to give us your feedback.

PSJA February Professional Development Schedule

Yzaguirre MS: Tuesday, February 9, during Team Time

Austin MS: Wednesday, February 10, during CLCs

Alamo MS: Thursday, February 11, during CLCs

Murphy MS: Friday, February 12, during Team Share

Memorial HS: Monday, February 15, during CLCs

PSJA ECHS: Wednesday, February 17, during CLCs

Scott Hollinger

PSJA Professional Development Specialist