If you want to make a massive change in the culture of your classroom, move from teachers asking students all of the questions to students asking each other questions!
Content Area: Cross Curricular
Let’s create an MC Escher-style tessellation art (and math) project with nothing more than an index card, a marker, and paper.
This differentiation technique is called “Concentric Circles”. You use it to move students up and down the ladder of abstraction, applying a single idea in multiple contexts.
I might ask the best questions in the world, but if I don’t give students even three seconds to think, those questions aren’t doing their job. Here’s what we know about Wait Time.
Even what seems like a low-level “summarize” task can become beautifully high-level when we climb Bloom’s Taxonomy.
When we jump from “this kid likes board games” straight to “I’ll have them create a new board game”, we leave out important steps in the creative process and set kids up for disappointment (and end up with a lot of unfinished projects). Here’s how to scaffold a truly creative task.
Beware one-off questions. Any question that we prepare should have a natural follow-up question. And those follow-ups should push students up Bloom’s Taxonomy.
When I was a new teacher, you would have seen some pretty fancy products hanging in my room, but if you stopped to consider how my kids thought about the content… well, often my students just restated facts that I had already told them.
Let’s start with a puzzlement, ask kids to generate an abstract statement, and then find evidence that their statement works across several different areas.
With some small changes, we can turn fluffy opinion questions into thought-provoking evaluation questions.
Here’s are the steps for running an inductive lesson based on Hilda Taba’s model of Concept Formation. Plus a sample lesson about the Nile River.
I love the term “Synthesize” from the classic Bloom’s Taxonomy, but it can be hard to know exactly what it looks like. My favorite “Synthesize Recipe” is to ask students to make a change to existing content and then explain the effects of that change to me.
How one might revamp a “Wax Museum” project into something that focuses more on thinking than product.
It’s so easy to just ask advanced students to work by themselves in a corner. But, the more advanced the kid, the more they need advanced instruction and adult guidance.
The bracketed tournament isn’t just for college basketball. Set up a tournament to determine best president, state, element, or literary character and challenge your students to make interesting judgements.
When we ask kids “which one is not like the others”, our cleverest students love to find ways to pick the non-obvious answer. So why not use this as a framework for pushing students deeper into our content.
Want to encourage students to find unexpected connections across content? Here’s a quick framework based on the most important terms from both bits of content.
The calendar is a source of fantastic factoring problems with many social studies add-ons. Why 12 months? Why 30 (or 31 or 28) days? Why are weeks 7 days long? Why don’t they fit into the months (or the year!)? Why did we do this to ourselves!?
Merlin Mann stated that employees’ motivation increases when they get to “build a robot” once in a while. That is, do something creative beyond regular work. Can we do this at school? Offices have “casual Fridays,” can we have “curiosity Fridays?”
Being able to generate many possible answers is key to high-level thinking. So why don’t we ask students to do it more often?
“Engagement” is a nice by-product of a well-designed lesson, but it sure isn’t our actual goal as educators.
Here’s a fun thought experiment your students are sure to get a kick out of: when something is slowly replaced over time, is it still the same thing in the end?
Enrichment is not merely about doing fun things. It should never be just a project-of-the-week. It must be about getting students thinking in new and interesting ways. Here’s how!
How to ask Divergent Questions and ensure that your students are thinking rather than merely remembering.
How a small change, with very little effort on the teacher’s part, leads to a delightfully complex task that can will get students thinking.