Classroom Questioning

Mistakes teachers use when asking questions in the classroom:

  1. Teachers often pose questions that require only recall rather than deep thought, which doesn’t encourage discussion and further learning within the classroom.
  2. For the sake of time and covering all of the required standards, teachers will oftentimes answer their own question instead of letting the students take the time needed to answer.


  1. During class time, ask the students questions that not only show that they understand the basic recall aspect of the material, but also shows that they are thinking on a more critical, analytical level. By doing so, more questions will naturally emerge and will force the students to question or elaborate on their own opinions on the question asked. An example given by the article is instead of asking, “What is a renewable resource?” ask “How would you convince a friend that it’s important to new if a resource is renewable or not?”
  2. Give students at least 3 to 5 seconds of wait, or “think” time, to answer the question, and fight the initial reaction to shy away from silence for fear of wasting time or feeling uncomfortable. Let the students know that this is what they are expected to do so that everyone is on the same page. These extra seconds will not make a difference in content covered in the long run, but will prove extremely beneficial for the level of understanding going on in the classroom.


Memory:  What is figurative language? What is a hyperbole?

Convergence: How do the comparisons made through similes differ, or change the overall meaning of the text, from metaphors?

Divergent: Suppose you had to create a metaphor for friendships. What would this metaphor be and why?/ How might the reader benefit from the author’s use of figurative language versus literal language?

Evaluative: Is figurative language a useful tool for authors to elicit meaning within the text?


Formative Assessment

How can I utilize formative assessment to influence one instructional decision in my lesson plan? Based on exit cards that focus on figurative language given to the students at the end of the first or second day, the next day (my lesson plan day) I can utilize the students’ answers to determine how I will form groups for a specific activity on figurative language in advertising. The group that, at the most, understood the basic definitions of figurative language and some examples (metaphor, simile, personification) will work with media advertisements and will be asked to point out the different examples of figurative language that such advertisements used. The group that understood the definitions of figurative lanaguage as well as the significance of figurative language in determining the larger meaning of the text/ad, will work with the same ads but will be asked to determine how such language adds to the greater meaning of the ad/how we as consumers perceive the ad based on the figurative language used. We would then get back together as a group to discuss all of these subjects as a whole, so that no students are left out of the greater understanding aspect of the lesson.

How Does Assessment Promote Student Learning?

The first reading from “Learning to Love Assessment” promoted a lot of great ideas about assessment, mostly because the author wrote in a very honest and authentic manner about the mistakes he made as a new teacher. The author suggests that students learn better when they know why they are being assessed, and this involves the teacher clearly laying out the learning objectives for that unit. It is also important that the teacher takes the time to assess what the students’ strengths and weaknesses are, which can be done through informal assessment. The teacher can them utilize this feedback and work it into the lesson plans to provide a better learning environment for the students. I really liked that the author of this article gave specific ways to do informal assessment, rather than vaguely saying it needs to happen and expecting teachers to know what to do. Ideas such as surveys, pre-assessments, and simply asking the students to write to him about which instructional approaches worked best for them were all great ideas.

The second reading from “Classroom Instruction that Works” focused a lot on assessment feedback. When giving feedback, it is extremely important to provide specific details about what that student needs to work on, and what they did well, so that they can build and improve upon these skills in the future. Not only does the teacher have to be the one providing feedback, but students can also provide it to one another. The chapter also emphasized the use of rubrics for assignments. This really struck a chord with me because I can remember my 9th grade Governor’s School teacher telling as at the beginning of the year to always ask for a rubric if a teacher does not provide one, because if they don’t, the grade they assign to your assignment has not been fairly explained. The article that I chose for today’s blog post focused specifically on the importance of rubrics: “They spell out scoring criteria so that multiple teachers, using the same rubric for a student’s essay, for example, would arrive at the same score or grade.” An interesting idea that the article noted is that rubrics aren’t only for the teacher’s grading benefit, but they allow students to self-assess as well. If a student and a teacher disagree on a grade they have been given, the two can schedule a meeting to go over the criteria and why exactly their opinions differ on the grade. This is a great way for the student to become involved in their own education process.

Effective Methods for Assigning Homework

Chapter 7 of “Classroom Instruction that Works” was all about homework and practice. The three main recommendations for assigning homework that this chapter gave were: develop or communicate a district or school homework policy, design homework assignments that support academic learning, and provide feedback on assigned homework. Although all three recommendations are important, I’ve decided to focus mainly on the last two for the purpose of this blog post.

Just like all aspects of a teaching unit, homework has to have a clear purpose. Homework should also encourage rather than discourage learning, which can be assured only if teachers are assigning homework that the students are fully equipped to do; therefore, students must have an understanding of why they are doing the homework (the purpose), otherwise it will prove to be useless, as well as have the basic knowledge-base to work with and build upon skills that will be worked with in the homework activities. In regards to feedback on homework assignments, the chapter stresses the importance of it but in a different way than what I’m used to: provide written feedback rather than graded feedback. Written feedback will not only encourage students to build upon their previous work, but it will also help them to do so in ways that a grade cannot. Only when the students have been provided the necessary tools and knowledge should they be graded on the material through summative assessements.

In reference to whether or not homework works with A (Acquiring skills), M (meaning), or T (Transfer), I believe that all three are involved, but mainly acquiring skills. As the chapter stated, a lot of what homework involves is providing “students with opportunities to practice skills and processes in order to increase their speed, accuracy, fluency, and conceptual understanding” (106). Homework should be giving students a solid skill base through the use of flashcards, memorization, and other “know” processes. Then, in the classroom, students can utilize these skills to build upon them and implement them towards the bigger picture and to a more deeper understanding of the material. In other words, homework is the gateway for students to make meaning as well as connections (transfer).

Towards the end of the chapter, the use of technology as a beneficial tool for homework was brought up. The article that I chose for today’s blog focused on how students are balancing technology for school work and social purposes. Although we would expect individual use of technology for homework use to turn into somewhat of a distraction for students, specifically at the secondary level, this article addressed the notion that technology actually is a lot more beneficial for students than thought otherwise. For example, students expressed utilizing their computer for group discussions, homework postings, creating slideshows and study guides, and even using the internet to delve deeper into specific topics. If utilized to this extent, technology can be an effective tool for aiding students’ understanding of topics and going beyond the mere acquiring of skills that homework assignments encourage, and into making meaning of the material, which they can then take into the classroom more prepared than before.