Ripple Your Questions!
OK, so you’ve gone through the trouble of creating great questions aimed at higher-order thinking. And, the moment comes in your lesson to cause your students to reflect and make connections. You wind up, and ask the question. Three hands go up. Woops, two. One student just needed a Kleenex. You call on Micky, who gives a pretty decent response. So, you’re finished right? What happened to the other 23 students? Do you have any evidence that they reflected on your question?
Next time, cause some ripples. Picture your question as pebbles. This time, you’re going to need each student to individually reflect on your question. So, you’ll need 25 pebbles. Toss ‘em out (Ask your question), but don’t take responses yet. Ask students to individually quick-write their responses (the first “plunk” of the pebbles). Then, ask your students to share their quick-writes in pair-shares or small groups. Thus, the first few ripples. Next, bring it to the whole class. Call on students to share what was discussed in small groups. Thus, the widening ripples. There. You just provided access to higher-order thinking to the whole class, instead of just to Micky (The Language-Rich Classroom: A research-based framework for teaching English language learners, Persida & William Himmele, ASCD, 2009).