Saturday, December 6, 2008

ROCKET FUELS for Learning: Questioning and Inferring Strategies to Support Student Engagement

Questioning and Inferring:
Rocket Fuels for Learning!

Brain Show & Tell: Model your rocket fuel brain work - why and how you wonder and infer before, during, and after you read/learn/view/etc. and practice the self talk of great thinkers with students:
o “I wonder….”
o “I bet…”
o “I think ____ will happen because…”
o “Why did they….?”
o “What…when…where…how…why…?”
o “I am really curious about….because…”
o I wonder…I found out…”
o “I bet…I knew it…&/or I was surprised to learn…”

Go Public: Publish students’ insights by building an Anchor Chart with students. This serves as a touchstone as you work with your students to define the why's and how's of questioning and inferring (and later this ritual can be a touchstone for harvesting students’ questions and inferences in units of study for any/all content areas). Add guiding questions as students innovate, discover, or learn new questioning-inferring self talk.
o See Bloom question examples
o Provide students with bookmarks to nudge their questioning and predicting as they engage in independent and partner work. Please see my “Thinking Strategy Bookmarks” and “Stop Sign Reading” tools as well as some of my articles (especially "Deep Thinking").
o Offer students a choice of (previously modeled) advanced organizers to guide their meaning making and trigger their own questioning and inferring.

Word Clues: Key Word Prediction
o Working in small, cooperative groups, give each cluster a collection of magazine pictures (or photographs) with the invitation to predict the content or key points you will make in studying a current unit of study/focus topic.
§ Study your picture set and choose one provocative print. Make your choice with this question as your compass: “What do you predict we will discuss as we explore (this topic)?” or “What do you think we will be studying today?” or “What do you predict this word has to do with ________ (current focus/unit of study)?”
o Adaptations: Picture Prediction, Picture Prediction Walk, video clips as text/key words

Title Tip: Turn the title of the text into a question

Go Short to Go Long! Engage students in reading, writing, and hearing short and spirited texts to marinate students in key concepts, build their schema/ background knowledge, foster their wonder and inferential thinking, and expand their confidence and motivation.
o Poetry
o Short video clip
o Letter to the editor
o Picture books
o Flash fiction
o One paragraph or one page essay
o Magazine articles
o Newspaper articles
o Songs/lyrics

In The Mind of Sherlock Holmes: Detective Thinking
o Looking for clues: reading to answer your own questions; attending to important ideas; identifying signal words
o What if…What then… thinking/writing/drawing

Get In The Game! Utilize Power Point games to ignite students’ curiosity and to launch or deepen students’ generative thinking.
o Good old Jeopardy can be a wonderful juicy vehicle for exploring questioning with students. As partners or small groups, students can develop a category for a whole class game of Jeopardy.

Reciprocal Teaching

o Utilizing student generated questions and/or end of the chapter (or other provided) questions, engage students in Question-Answer-Relationships/ QARS to marinate them in key concepts and birth their curiosity about unit of study/focus of student learning

RESEARCH QUOTES in Support of "Rocket Fuel" Pedagogy:
Proficient readers use their existing knowledge to facilitate their understanding of new ideas encountered in text.
Nell Duke & P. David Pearson, 2002

Good readers use many types of connections to help them relate and understand what they are reading. They know that background knowledge helps them relate to characters, visualize, avoid boredom, pay attention to the text, listen to other’s responses, read actively, remember information, question the text, and infer answers.
Cris Tovani, 2000

Research has shown that the improved ability to compare correlates well to increased success in academic tasks.
Robert Marzano, 2001

Thoughtful reading is only rarely a matter of flashy insight.
More often it is a gradual, groping process.
Dennie Palmer Wolf, Harvard University

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