Questioning PD

Questioning PD
Ms. Stahl & Ms. Lynch
January 30, 2012
EQ: What makes a ‘good’ EQ
Literacy Team Goal: To evaluate and analyze the types of
questions we ask in class (essential, focus, pivotal) based on
Bloom’s Taxonomy to ensure that our questions promote
higher level thinking among our students.
Rationale/Supporting Data/Research:
Wiggins & McTighe, Understanding By Design
Social Education 72(6), pp 326–329, 2008 National
Council for the Social Studies
June 2011, August 2011, and January 2012 Regents
Scholarship Data
Text Based Discussion (Final
Word Protocol)
Purpose: To use research-based literature to discuss and explore the role that Essential Questions
play in the classroom in order to gauge a deeper understanding of a topic.
Time: Approximately 30 minutes in groups of 4
Step 1: Sit in a circle and identify one time keeper/facilitator
Step 2: Each member of the group takes 5-7 minutes to review the article that was read the night
before. Each person needs to identify one of the “most” significant ideas from the text--underlined
or highlighted in the article. It is often helpful to identify a “back up” quote as well. Please keep
in mind the following pivotal questions when choosing your quote:
How does the article relate to my content?
How does the article relate to my teaching practice and philosophy of education?
What are some key components of an EQ? Why?
Protocol cont.
Step Three (Go-Around): The first person begins by reading his/her quote from the
article. In less than 3 minutes the person describes why the quote struck him/her. For
example, why do does she/he agree/disagree? What issue does it raise for him/her?
What are you wondering about in relation to the quote?
Step Four (Response): Continuing around the circle, each person responds to that quote
and what the presenter said. Briefly in less than a minute. The purpose of this response
is to:
Expand on the presenter’s thinking.
Provide a different lens or interpretation of the quote.
Clarify the presenter’s thinking.
Question the presenter.
Step Five (Last Word): The presenter reflects on all that s/he has heard, and comments
on any new insights or opportunities that have arisen in one minute of less.
Step Six: Continue until all members of the group have shared.
Step Seven (Debrief): How can we apply this to our future work?
Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy
and Essential Questions
Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) is a classification of learning
objectives that educators set for their students
Bloom’s Taxonomy divides education objectives into
three “domains”: Cognitive, Affective, and
Psychomotor (sometimes described as knowing/head,
feeling/heart, doing/hands)
Within the domains, learning at higher levels is
dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge
and skills at lower levels
The goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate
educators to focus on all three domains, creating a
holistic learning environment
Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy: Question Starters
recalling identification and
recall of information
Who, what, when, where, how ...?
translating from one medium to
describing in one's own words;
organization and selection of facts and
problem solving;
applying information to produce some
use of facts, rules and principles
How example of...?
How is...related to...?
Why is...significant?
subdividing something to show how it is put together;
finding the underlying structure of a communication;
identifying motives;
separation of a whole into component parts
What are the parts or features of...?
Classify...according to...
How with...?
What evidence can you list for...?
creating a unique, original product that may be in verbal
form or may be a physical object;
combination of ideas to form a new whole
What would you predict/infer from...?
What ideas can you add to...?
How would you create/design a new...?
What might happen if you combined...?
What solutions would you suggest for...?
making value decisions about issues;
resolving controversies or differences of opinion;
development of opinions, judgments or decisions
Do you agree...?
What do you think about...?
What is the most important...?
Place the following in order of priority...
How would you decide about...?
What criteria would you use to assess...?
Excerpts From the Field
Good questions “are ones that pose dilemmas, subvert
obvious or canonical ‘truths,’ or force incongruities upon
our attention.”
-Quoted in Understanding by Design, Wiggins &
Excerpts From the Field
“The use of questions as a curricular framework is, of course, not
new. Socrates used it, asking questions such as ‘What is virtue?’ ‘What
is justice?’ and ‘What is good?.’ In Socratic Circles: Fostering Critical and
Creative Thinking in Middle and High School, Matt Copeland (2005)
summarizes ‘Socratic Questioning’ as a means of using
..questioning to bring forward already held ideas in the students’ minds, to
make them more aware and cognizant of the learning and understanding
that has already occurred…Socratic questioning is a systematic process for
examining the ideas, questions, and answers that form the basis of human
belief. It involves recognizing that all new understanding is linked to prior
understanding, that thought itself is a continuous thread woven through
our lives rather than isolated sets of questions and answers. (6)
-Jim Burke, What’s the Big Idea?, 1
Excerpts From the Field
“Instead of thinking of content as stuff to be covered,
consider knowledge and skill as the means of address
questions central to understanding key issues in your
subject…For example, if a content standard calls for students
to learn about three branches of government, then a
questions such as ‘How might a government guard against
abuses of power?’ helps stimulate student thinking about
why we need checks and balances, what the framers of the
Constitution were trying to achieve, and other governmental
approaches to balancing power.”
-Wiggins & McTighe, Understanding by Design,107
Excerpts From the Field
“ ‘Higher-level’ questions produce deeper learning than
‘lower-level’ questions (113), especially when used
‘before a learning experience to establish a ‘mental set’
with which students process the learning experience’
-Quoted in Jim Burke’s What’s the Big Idea?:
Question-Driven Units to Motivate Reading, Writing, and
Thinking, 2
Excerpts From the Field
Martin Nystrand (1997) and his colleagues conducted hundreds of
observations in eighth and ninth-grade English classes finding that,
Good discourse facilitates learning…Wittrock (1990;Wittrock &
Alesandrini, 1990) shows that students’ retention of new information is
enhanced when they are able to relate it to their personal experience
and especially when they do so in their own words…Discussion and
interactive discourse promote learning because they elicit relatively
sustained responses from students. By helping students weave various
bits and pieces of information into coherent webs of meaning,
dialogically organized instruction promotes retention and in-depth
processing associated with the cognitive manipulation of information.
-Martin Nystrand, Opening Dialogue: Understanding the Dynamics of
Language andLearning in the English Classroom ,28
Excerpts From the Field
“Generally, college faculty who participated in our study have
concerns about the habits of mind of their first-year students.
Among the narrative comments, we find assertions that students
‘are mire diligent than in the past, but less able to tackle difficult
questions, and much less curious’; ‘students today seem unwilling to
engage in the hard work of thinking, analyzing, unless it is directed
to their most immediate interests’; ‘students overemphasize the skill
dimension of the discipline, and ignore the communication
–Jim Burke, What’s the Big Idea?: Question-Driven Units to
Motivate Reading, Writing, and Thinking, 5
Essential Question
Performance Criteria
Step One: Research to support (evidence)
-Refer to websites
-Refer to Understanding by Design
-Use prior knowledge
Step Two: Create Criteria (see template)
Step Three: Electronic Gallery Walk
-What are the commonalities and differences between the
criteria we have chosen?
Assessing the Essential
Step One: Assess/Analyze our EQ’s using AoIT criteria & Test
the criteria
-Each group will receive 3 EQs that AoIT teachers are
currently using in their classrooms
Step Two: Revise EQ’s/criteria based on this process
Wrap Up/Reflect
What are our next steps?
Where are we now and
where do we want to be by
How can your revise your
upcoming EQ?
Lunch: 12-12:45
Activates prior knowledge
Stimulates students to answer the question independently
Should be able to be revisited throughout the year(s)
Has multiple answers
Connects to personal experiences
Accessible to all students
Allows students to explore different perspectives
Debatable with proper evidence
Vocabulary is direct and accessible
Vocabulary and phrasing challenges students
Relates directly with Common-Core Standards
Essential Questions from
Wiggins and McTighe
In what ways is algebra real and in
what ways is it unreal?
To what extent is U.S. history a
history of progress?
What makes writing worth
Who is a “winner” in athletics?
What is the difference between a
scientific fact, a scientific theory,
and a strong opinion?
How precise must we be?
To what extent does art reflect
culture or shape it?
Must a story have a beginning, a
middle, and an end?
What makes a mathematical
argument convincing?
Is art a matter of taste or
Is science compatible with religion?
What is healthful eating?
To what extent is DNA destiny?
Is everything quantifiable?
Essential, Focus, and Pivotal
Questions: Making the
-Putting it all together and making the big connection.
-Modeling good questioning.
-Define our questioning terms.
-Standardizing questioning and lesson planning at AoIT.
Questioning Umbrella
Essential Questions
Focus Question
Questioning Umbrella Defined
Essential Question:
A question that guides a unit or course of study,
requiring students to think critically, consider
alternatives, weigh evidence, support their ideas, and
justify their answers.
Focus Question: A question that students should be able to
answer at the end of a lesson to assess understanding.
Question: A
question that
and higher -level
throughout the
Questioning Umbrella
Questioning Examples: Using
Bloom’s Taxonomy
Essential Question: Who decides what is right and wrong?
FQ: How can we effectively debate what we believe is right and wrong?
Pivotal Questions:
Think about a time in your life that you made the wrong decision. What was this decision?
Why was it wrong? And, how did it make you feel? (Level I,II)
How can I establish valid arguments for what I believe in? (Level I, III if they will apply it)
How did you feel as someone sitting outside of the fishbowl? What about as someone on
the inside? (Level I)
When someone said something that you did not agree with how did you react? (Level I)
What did today’s activity teach you about yourself and your own individual ‘moral
compasses? Did any of your morals, values, and or views change or develop? Explain. (Level
IV, Level V, Level VI)
Did you always agree with what your group members believed in? How similar/different
was your “Moral Compass” to the others? Explain. Give examples. (Level IV, Level V, Level
Lesson Plan Analysis
Step One: Watch video of teacher and take low inference
notes on the questions the teacher asks. (10 min)
Step Two: Categorize questions using the Bloom’s Taxonomy
graphic organizer and assess teacher using the Charlotte
Danielson rubric. (5 min)
Step Three: Group Discussion. (15 min)
Perfecting our EQ’s, PQ’s,
and FQ’s
Task: Chose one teacher to share his/her unit/lesson
plan. Using what you learned today revise the
lesson/unit incorporating EQ’s, FQ’s, and PQ’s.
Presentation of revised EQ and Lesson Plan using PQs
and FQs.
Silent Discussion
This is a great way to get hesitant students to participate in a discussion.
This written activity is a wonderful lead-in to a whole class discussion.
In groups, each member begins with a different prompt written on a sheet of
paper—this could be a quote, question, provocative statement, or picture.
Group members respond to the prompt on their paper, writing down their
response, answer, or questions the prompt elicits. After 2-3 minutes the paper
will be passed to the left and the next group member must respond to what
their peer has written.
This process continues until all group members have responded to all prompts.
Group members are encouraged to write the whole time! Try your best to
respond to ALL responses, and not the prompt itself.

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