I’m actually going to post this before the next prompt goes out! WOO! Yay for procrastination!
When I read the prompt for Week 3 of the #MTBoS 2016 Blogging Initiative last Sunday, I was a little nervous. Questioning is something I struggle with, and it’s something that I know will help my students if I get better at it, but it’s the hardest thing for me to work on. This is because I am still getting the hang of each class’s curriculum and just getting myself through the material, so thinking of the best questions has kind of gone onto the back burner. It’s also something that I know will naturally get better with time as I see more of how my students think about concepts for the first time. I know this is true because I even ask better questions in my B-Day Algebra II class than my A-Day Algebra II class (those poor guys always get stuck being guinea pigs for the B-Day lesson). I want to eventually ask questions that will really get students thinking.
In looking at the prompts, there are none that really stick out to me…I already admitted before that my assessment questions haven’t been awesome but I attributed that to me using the old teacher’s assessments but not his lessons so there was a disconnect. Now I’ve created the first assessments of the semester for each class and things went better. However, I’ve noticed that I ask mostly skill-based questions. The most “thinking” a class had to do was “Pick a problem you solved and show how someone else could use the discriminant to verify that you could have gotten the correct solutions.” Not really profound, but it got the job done. I also started to do a writing assignment after each assessment that asks more non-skill (I wanted to say “deeper” but they’re not really deeper) questions, such as “A problem on your test says to solve the quadratic? What do you ask yourself to help determine whether you are going to solve by factoring, square roots, or the quadratic formula?” I liked seeing these responses because I could tell that my students really just wanted to use the quadratic formula for every problem on the quiz since it works every time, but they still knew that it could be quicker with other methods. I don’t give time limits on assessments so “quickness” could be sacrificed for a method that they knew worked every time (even though my students still don’t check their calculations well so the quadratic formula got messy for some of them).
I also want to just comment on what this week’s Blogging Initiative post did for me. That whole sentence after the picture of the dog with the perfectly calculated bandana…it’s already changed my classroom! I can’t believe I never knew to do this before! This week, instead of asking “Do you guys have any questions about what we just did before we move on?” I asked “What questions do you have?” I ACTUALLY GOT GOOD QUESTIONS!!! It is so weird that I am so excited about that but seriously this did wonders in just a week. One strength that administrators always told me at my last school was that my wait time was good after I ask a question (I actually count to 5 seconds in my head), but with high schoolers I’ll always get some kid who says “No” and then nobody wants to ask anything. But this new question doesn’t allow them to do that! I even changed it up on Thursday and asked “What is a question that a confused person might ask about this?” AND IT WORKED! I got really good questions! 🙂
On ne peut jamais avoir de réponse si on ne pose jamais une question.