Questions that promote thinking

I came across this document awhile back on Twitter.

The link to this document is here. The poster has 100 questions for teachers to ask students to promote mathematical thinking and classroom discussion. I was really drawn to these and wanted a way to implement these in my classroom. Many of these questions I ask on a regular basis but felt that many of these questions would be very useful for my students to ask themselves as well. My problem was how to interpret these and display these in a helpful way.

Then yesterday I saw these on Twitter: Continue reading

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Better Questions

Week 3 of the 2016 Blogging Initiative!

The blogging prompt this week is about questioning. There were many different prompts and I decided on the following:

You’re planning a lesson and you try to come up with super good question to ask to get kids to think about something. What is that question? Why did you phrase it the way you did? Why do you think it will prompt discussion/thinking?

This week my S3 class have been looking calculating arc length and area of a sector of a circle. The class have previous knowledge about circumference and area of a circle. Continue reading

Plenaries

I spend a lot of time planning my lessons. How will I introduce a topic? What investigation, task or activity do I want my pupils to complete? What homework do I want to set?

What I often neglect to think about is how to end my lessons. Most of my lessons end with me looking at the clock and realising we only have one minute until the bell and have to spend that time packing up.

I have been trying to focus more on simple plenaries that do not need much prior preparation but are effective.

Here are a few I have been trying: Continue reading

Am I doing the best for all my pupils?

I’ve been thinking about my previous post Structured Problems.  In it I considered how I make problems for my pupils easier by adding too much structure and not letting them think it out for themselves.

Yesterday I was reading a chapter from “Make It Stick” (Brown, Roediger, McDaniel) entitled Mix Up Your Practice.

It talked about Massed Practice

the practice-practice-practice that’s supposed to burn a skill into memory

and Interleaved Practice

interleaving the practice of two or more subjects or skills

The chapter concludes that massed practice leads to initial success but not long term success where as interleaved practice is tough and challenging to start with but leads to long term benefits.

So what does this mean to me as a teacher? Continue reading

Structured Problems

Over the past few years I have noticed that my pupils are becoming less confident when faced with challenging problems. If they read a problem and don’t know how they are going to work out the final answer they have a tendency to give up and not even try it.

Part of the problem is that the pupils are scared of making a mistake. How do I get my pupils to make an attempt at a problem even if they don’t know where they will end up?

Continue reading