Bill Himmele

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  • Posted 7 Years ago
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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).

2 Comments

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Steven_Weber

20 Feb 10, 10:01 AM

Bill:

This is a great analogy! I recall making this mistake as a classroom teacher. I shared your blog entry with several educators in our school district. I am reminded of a John Dewey quote (sorry for getting so deep on a blog reply): "What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children." If a parent sat in a classroom, would they be happy that their child is asked to share his/her opinion or strategy once each day or possibly not at all in a week?
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Persida_Himmele1

17 Feb 10, 11:25 AM

Yeah, Yeah, Ripple Questions, Blah, Blah, Blah. Tell us about your wife! Just the good things, mind you. Tell us all about the GOOD things (only)!

No Seriously. As simple as this sounds, we repeatedly do walk-throughs and quick-visits only to find that great questions (if asked at all) are mis-spent on only a few students. This simple mindset needs to be in all teachers: "All of the students, All of the Time!"
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