This year I have made a deliberate effort to encourage students to pose more questions, believing that this gives me a better insight into students’ thinking. On Friday, during a Geography lesson, I saw the benefits of this. In planning the lesson I had decided to model reading the climate statistics of Adelaide, so that students could then explore the climate statistics of their chosen country.
I presented the following table and graph:
I had planned to pose questions like:
What is the highest average maximum temperature? When does this occur?
What is the lowest average maximum temperature? When does this occur?
What is the average rainfall for June?
Instead I referred to the data and got students to pose the questions. They asked much higher order questions, such as:
Who collects the data? – Do they record accurately or can they manipulate the data if they are climate sceptics? (This wasn’t worded in this way, but it was what they were getting at.)
How accurate is the data?
What is the area related to the rainfall? How does this affect the data collected?
Has there been major differences between the climate each year?
After looking at the average temperatures, and knowing that the temperature can be much higher than these in Adelaide, one student thought that the statistics may be different if the last few years’ data was used, rather than the previous 30 years.
Is the data reliable?
When was it recorded?
Who recorded it?
Why is January the hottest month and has more rainfall than February? – February is usually hotter isn’t it?
Why does the minimum temperature follow the maximum? (Recognition of pattern)
Why does June have the highest rainfall?
I will continue to encourage students to pose and answer their own and others’ questions.
SOLO Taxonomy – Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes
These structures/ quadrants can be used to allow students to choose a suitable pathway forward, depending on their current level of understanding.
4. Draw your own…
Double my number using cubes
Solve the word problem on your table.
Do it using a different method.
Double muddle! Correct my mistakes.
Gold coins are doubling in the pirate chest.
Using scaffolds – (providing floors not ceilings!) – structure thinking to make meaning
Hexagons – connect concepts through the use of subject specific vocabulary
Blooms Taxonomy Cognitive Level
Type of Activity
Evaluate and Create
Cause and Effect
Through listening to the discussion generated by students working in pairs/ groups on these scaffolds teachers can make judgements about misconceptions/ further challenges needed. Questioning students to build on their ideas, and then allowing time, directing them to resources and peers who can help them, without just explaining answers, can empower students more. Also expecting students to respond orally in fully developed sentences, using appropriate vocabulary, will provide practice for more developed written responses.
A space which students can go to to access further resources/ support structures,
Outcome-Driven Instructional Leadership Team Practices
1a. Demonstrating Knowledge of content and pedagogy
Providing time for teachers to understand research base of lesson design
1b. Demonstrating Knowledge of students
Providing regular collaboration opportunities around automated assessment data and student work with colleagues who share cohort of students and with instructional leaders who are accountable for outcomes
1c Setting Instructional Outcomes
Providing alignment documents and pacing guides aligned to other instructional resources, developed in collaboration.
1d Demonstrating knowledge of resources
Providing time for macro planning to ensure successful launch, meaningful integration, and continuous improvement of teacher knowledge, skill and practice.
1e Designing Coherent Instruction
Providing time for macro-planning to ensure successful curriculum development, meaningful integration of resources, and continuous improvement of teacher knowledge, skill and practice.
1f Designing Student Assessments
Providing time to collaborate around larger projects and assessments to benchmark progress.
Marzano Design Questions
What will I do to establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress and celebrate success?
What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge?
What will I do to help students practice and deepen their understanding of new knowledge?
What will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge?
What will I do to engage students?
What will I do to establisher maintain classroom rules and procedures?
What will I do to recognise and acknowledge adherence and lack of adherence to classroom rules and routines?
What will I do to establish and maintain effective relationships with students?
What will I do to communicate high expectations for all students?
What will I do to develop effective lessons organised into a cohesive unit?
Classroom: Differentiation and Coverage
What are we as instructional leaders doing to create the conditions for success for learning?
As a team, have you determined the underlying skills and concepts and the smaller chunks?
Have you designed the appropriate active learning strategy to match the learning task?
Have you created spaces for active learning, self-pacing, additional help?
Do you have products that support this work?
As a team, are we providing enough time to go deep and differentiate appropriately?
Danielson: Domain 2
Domain 2: Classroom Environment
2a. Creating and Environment of Respect and Rapport
2b Establishing a Culture for Learning
2c Managing Classroom Procedures
2d Managing Student Behaviour
2e Organising Physical Space
Empathy Zones – opportunities for students to work in different spaces depending on their emotional state
“I think I understand”
“I don’t understand”
“I feel great and social”
“I feel ok but not great”
“I want to be left alone”
Planning: Operationalising Teams for Learning
What are we as instructional leaders doing to create the conditions for success for learning?
As a team, how are you determining what students should know and be able to do and helping each other to create it?
As a team, have you determined a good way to help students capture data and establish a good routine for using it?
As a team, are you celebrating success?
As a team, do you have a common resource that can support this work?
As a team, are you allocating the necessary time to the looking at student work samples as one of the keys to monitoring progress?
encouraging/ structuring opportunities for students to pose more questions
I see, I think, I wonder
hinge point questions
fingers, thumbs, mini whiteboards – visible thinking
Can you – identify, explain, use a diagram, draw/ write your own…
Concept cartoons – could I develop these from student reflections and common misconceptions?
Identify how to calculate volume of different rectangular prisms – Here are a variety of rectangular prisms. Calculate the volume of each. Check your answer. How accurate are you?
Explain to someone else how to calculate volume of different rectangular prisms – Write or orally record how you calculate the volume of rectangular prisms.
Use a diagram to explain how to calculate volume of different rectangular prisms – Draw a diagram to your ideal piece of fudge, how many pieces would fit in the package and a diagram to show the dimensions that the package would need to be. Calculate the volume of the single serve and the total package.
Write your own problem involving the calculation of volume of rectangular prisms. Record it for others to challenge themselves with.
Could students do the proposed assessment(s) well but not really have mastered or understood the content in question?
Could students do poorly on the specific assessment(s) but really have mastery of the content in question?
Could students do all the designer-proposed activities in Stage 3 but not really be ready to explain/ justify/ infer meaning or transfer their learning as demanded by assessments in Stage 2?
Could students do all the proposed activities in Stage 3 but still be ready to handle tasks in Stage 2 that require higher-order inference and other kinds of meaning-making?
Even though I haven’t finished watching this yet, I need to record my frustrations – as my son has told me to stop talking to the iPad! I feel saddened to think that in South Australia someone has spent a lot of time researching the dominant pedagogy used (in high schools), when most of us could have simply described the practices that we were exposed to, knowing that things haven’t changed that much. What makes me angry is that not only does this seem to me to be a complete waste of time, I am now worried that the rest of the video is going to tell me how to change this practice – which I have been arguing against for a long time. (And is the implication really that practices like these are also being used in the Early Years?)
Surely, as a system when you provide teachers with a curriculum – now a National one, and a description of good teaching practice (TfEL) and then expect teachers all over the state to use their professional experience and knowledge- which would range considerably, to create interesting, engaging programs, you are setting up a system for text book providers to reap the benefits. To then simply take the examples in the text book and re-fashion these lessons into more meaningful experiences for students seems to be to be an ineffective way to address the inadequacies of our system.
Perhaps we could do something more constructive and supportive of teaching and learning by looking to other states/ places in the world. In other states research has been focused on identifying student learning, observing common misconceptions and providing teachers with support structures to diagnose and act on these. Surely in South Australia we could support teachers more in order to improve the learning of students in our care, and I mean deep learning – not just superficial content.
Now I will see if I can watch the rest of the video.
Ahh… purpose identified…”achievable for teachers.”
Is this enough? Is this what our students deserve?
I think “transforming tasks” is a very slow way of getting change happening.