The ASOT Reflection

Region 9 High Reliability Schools-April 2019

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Design Area Spotlight: Communicating High Expectations

According to Marzano in The New Art and Science of Teaching, "The final component of developing an effective context for learning is to communicate high expectations for all students." This can be a difficult concept to think about. Teachers typically want all students to be successful, but they might be unaware that the expectations they have for different students plays a role in the way that student experiences class. The hard thing is to really look at our expectations and ensure that all students have an equitable role in class, especially when it comes to questioning strategies.

***Be sure to read the Q&A section for a special announcement!

High Expectations for All

Marzano, Robert J. High Expectations for All - Educational Leadership . (2019). Retrieved 11 April 2019, from

Element 42: Asking In-Depth Questions

Element 42 focuses on the questioning strategies we use with reluctant learners. Teachers often inadvertently ask reluctant learners easier questions because we know those students might struggle with more complex questions. However, the key is to provide encouragement or support for reluctant learners to respond to more difficult questions.

One way to do that is to use questioning sequences rather than single questions in isolation. That means teachers ask questions that scaffold from simple to complex. According to Marzano, a typical progression might include these phases:

  1. Detail questions (recall facts and info)
  2. Category questions (create connections, identify examples, general characteristics)
  3. Elaboration questions (make a claim, describe effects, make predictions)
  4. Evidence questions (support claims, explain reasoning, find errors in reasoning)

Another way to use this element is by giving reluctant learners equal response opportunities. Simple tasks like keeping a tally system to track who has answered helps teachers ensure that all students respond equally. This ties into strategies used with Element 24: Increasing Response Rates. For more ideas, check out a previous newsletter that includes strategies and tech tools for doing just that. Using technology often allows reluctant learners to answer in a low-risk way.

Some of the same strategies we've used in ASOT trainings can be used in classrooms to allow students plenty of opportunities to respond, include elbow partners, table groups, give one/get one, jigsaw and voting with your feet. Other response strategies for hearing from individual students include random name generators, response chaining, round robin, and exit slips.

The Importance of Questioning

Hall, G. (2016). The Importance of Questioning. Gary Hall. Retrieved 11 April 2019, from

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Element 43: Probing Incorrect Answers

Asking complex questions of reluctant and struggling learners means there is a likelihood that at some point they will answer incorrectly. The way we as teachers respond to those incorrect answers is critical.

One strategy that you can use prior to eliciting response to a complex question is Think-Pair-Share, a strategy developed by Frank Lyman in 1981. By allowing students to confer with another student, reluctant learners are able to rehearse and correct answers before sharing with the class.

Responding to incorrect student answers

Take a look at one way to address incorrect answers. Notice that it begins by expressing gratitude for the student's response.
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Letting students off the hook temporarily

This strategy is especially helpful if a students is frustrated, confused or embarrassed while answering a question. The teacher will let the student off the hook temporarily; however, the teacher will follow up with that student at a later time, either during whole-class time or one-on-one. The student can then answer a different question or the teacher can assist in answering the original question.
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You've got questions...we've got answers!

In one of our recent ASOT sessions, we asked participants to leave us any questions they had. We'll address some of those in this section each month.

If you have any questions for this section, please let us know by emailing Christy at

How do I keep my students motivated and engaged this time of year?

Melissa says...

This time of year students, and teachers, start to get restless with the same old schedule and need to mix it up to stay engaged. There are many different activities that teachers can try to keep the attention of students in these late spring weeks.

  • The end of the year is a perfect time to implement those projects you have wanted to try. Projects require social skills, communication skills, high order thinking skills, self-control, and a positive self concept. A group project is the ideal place to practice these skills. Also, by the end of the year, group projects are the most engaging and help your class become a community of learners.
  • Students of all ages love academic games. Games can be technology based, or be some of the games explained in the NASOT book on page 73 (What is the Question?, Name That Category, Talk a Mile a Minute, Classroom Feud, Which One Doesn’t Belong, and Vocabulary Review).
  • Adding in some intriguing information or surprises to your students' lessons leads to more vitality in your classroom engagement. This can be achieved by starting a lesson with a trail of hints, having students guess what the lesson will be. You can also offer a mystery prize. Sometimes simply teaching unusual facts or information sparks an interest that will hold a student's intrigue and hold their attention captive through the lesson.
  • Using physical movement can bring energy into your classroom as well. Getting students up and moving to act out academic content, to vote on classroom topics, or simply for a brain break will engage your students.
  • If all else fails, take your class outside for some fresh air! The weather is getting warmer and who wouldn't love to read a book or solve math problems in the sunshine.
Small changes in the schedule or setting can make a big difference to keep students interested in these last few, busy weeks of the school year.

How do I keep myself motivated and avoid burnout this time of year?

Our team says...

We are so glad you asked! We know this time of year is tough on teachers, and we want to inject a little energy into your world. We are so excited to announce the #R9SummitChallenge that is taking place from now until the end of the school year. We hope will be a great way to energize yourself both professionally and personally. You'll find elements from ASOT as well some ideas for a little self-care. in the challenge.

Even more exciting is that every entry you tag with #R9SummitChallenge on Twitter enters you into a drawing to have lunch with Dr. Tina Boogren of Marzano Research and to win a copy of her book Take Time for You.

Watch the video below for a little more information about the challenge. Be sure to click on the #R9SummitChallenge image to see the entire choice board.

Summer Sessions

Registration Is Open!

We are so excited to offer several professional development sessions this summer.

First, we are hosting a Mini-Summit June 25 and 26. Each day is a separate session, so you can attend one or both. Dr. Tammy Heflebower, Dr. Phil Warrick, and Dr. Tina Boogren will all be here as keynote speakers. We will have breakout sessions presented by leaders and teachers from our region who have seen the benefits of HRS and ASOT.

For more information on the Region 9 HRS Mini Summit, check out

It is free for those in our region, and you do not have to be on an HRS campus to attend (so feel free to share!). If you know someone outside our region that might be interested, please pass along the information. Registration for non-Region 9 participants is $150 for the two-day conference.
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However, the Mini-Summit isn't all we have to offer this summer!

Proficiency Scales

There will be a proficiency scales training June 20. The session number is #347124. This is designed for teachers who have been trained in ASOT to implement Element 1 in the classroom.

ASOT Follow Up

We are also hosting what we call ASOT Follow Up sessions July 23-25. These are designed for teachers who have been through ASOT training (in any year) who want to work on applying those elements to their own classroom practice. These sessions are stand-alone, so feel free to attend one, two or all three days. The session numbers and content are here:

July 23 #347314 Feedback

July 24 #347315 Content

July 25 #347316 Context

ASOT for Young Learners

On July 18, there will be a session for teachers of young learners in adapting the elements of ASOT to the particular needs of younger students. The session number is #347125.

Please see the document below for more information.

Resource: R9 HRS Site

We are so excited to launch our new website this year. You can find it at There is a tab just for you as an ASOT teacher complete with files and documents that will help you reach your goals. Take a few minutes to explore the site or take a look at the ThingLink below for a tour of the site. Be sure to let us know if we can add anything that would be especially helpful for you!

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