Beyond Q&A

Intentionally deciding which student will answer.

Our Goal

For the 4th nine weeks, you have chosen to focus on intentionally deciding who will answer in whole class questioning. That was evident 34.9% in 3rd nine weeks walkthroughs.

Establish Classroom Norms

Classroom norms establish the culture of the classroom. In order to ensure equitable participation, students need to know what is expected of them when a question is asked. Think about the Norms for Student Response-Ability that we have adopted...after a question is posed, all students think rather than blurt out the answer or raise their hands. Calling on the hand raisers does not give the teacher a reliable picture of understanding.
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Once norms are established, the next step to growing in this area is to plan quality questions that are worth thinking about. Quality questions are aligned to a content standard, have an instructional purpose, and have varying levels of cognitive demand. (above the remember level). And don't forget the think time! Think time increases student participation, the accuracy of answers, and achievement. This ensures that students are cognitively engaged and thinking deeply. Click here for a chart comparing Bloom's Taxonomy & Webb's Depth of Knowledge.
Questioning and Discussions Techniques


  • Timing the Name. Question. Pause. Name. This ensures every student hears the question and is formulating an answer. If you call a name first, other students may check out. This is the easiest strategy to implement - no tech or prep needed.
  • Call on students equally yet randomly. Equity sticks, whether index cards, popsicle sticks, or apps such as Stick Pick, help ensure that all students are thinking and prepared to respond and that a variety of students are selected to answer.
  • Hand out questions in advance. Give the students the questions to jump start their thinking.
  • Review Expectations. A reminder goes a long way. Remind students to only raise hands when they want to ask a question, not to answer a question. Remind them that we are practicing think time as well. I saw this in Ms. West's room during a learning walk at FFC, and a few seconds spent on expectations ensured the rest of the period flowed smoothly.

Jennifer Butler

Instructional Partner

Florence High School