Monthly Archives: February 2014

TOTW – Monday 24th February


questioning technique 4

This week’s questioning technique is taken from Gererd Dixie’s book The Ultimate Teaching Manual and is about thinking aloud.

TOTW 4thinking aloud

Why is it important?

By verbalising their inner speech (silent dialogue) as they think their way through a problem, teachers model how expert thinkers solve problems. As a result, as students think out loud with teachers and with one another, they gradually internalise this dialogue; it becomes their inner speech: they learn how to learn and develop into reflective and independent learners.

“What am I going to say/write/do now? Why have I stopped? What is my problem? What sort of problem is this? Where have I seen this before? Who can help me? What do I need? What is the next step? Is there a better way? What alternatives are there?”

Get pupils to ‘think aloud’ when they are preparing to offer their responses. Doing this raises the status of the ‘thinking process’ rather than just focusing pupils’ attention on their final answer.


TOTW – Monday 10th February



Questioning for Quality Thinking


Recalling – Who, what, when, where, how _______?

Comparing – How is similar to/different from_______?

Identifying Attributes and Components – What are the characteristics/parts of _______?

Classifying – How might we organize into categories_______?

Ordering – Arrange into sequence according to _______?

Identifying Relationships and Patterns – Develop an outline/diagram/web of _______?

Representing – In what other ways might we show/illustrate _______?

Identifying Main Ideas – What is wrong with _______? What conclusions might be drawn from_______?

Identifying Errors – What is wrong with _______?

Inferring – What might we infer from _______?

What conclusions might be drawn from _______?

Predicting – What might happen if _______?

Elaborating – What ideas/details can you add to _______? Give an example of _______.

Summarizing – Can you summarize _______?

Establishing Criteria – What criteria would you use to judge/evaluate _______?

Verifying – What evidence supports _______? How might we prove/confirm _______?

THW TeachMeet – CPD


teachmeet logo

On Wednesday we hosted our second TeachMeet CPD, which was based around questioning. Once again the session was “inspiring”, full of “brilliant ideas” and had a lovely atmosphere. If you want to know why you should attend the next one (and steal some of these ideas!), then read below!

“Teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching and promote pupils’ learning” (Ofsted, School inspection handbook from September 2012) –> using questions to promote learning and stimulate thinking Questioning Ofsted

questioning ofsted 2

Chris – think/pair/share after question has been asked & routines to encourage students to use all other resources available before answering a question (books, peers, display etc) as a way of building up quality answers.

Faye – “Get Nosey”: Display visual stimulus on board and ask students to write down any questions they can think of in relation to the photo/image on post-it notes. At the end of the lesson, look at questions again & discuss which questions students now have answers to and which ones remain unanswered. Get Nosey

– Timed quiz: pairs/individual students (or teacher) design a question to assess understanding of topic/learning objective. They also provide 3 answers – Red, Amber, Green – (1 correct answer & 2 wrong answers). All questions are then collated and put into a quiz. As the question is displayed, pupils must show up the card that matches the colour of the correct answer – in the time allocated! Great for whole class AfL too! Timed quiz

Amy – Millionaire questioning: provide students with 3 lifelines (50/50, ask the audience, phone a friend) as a way of supporting students during questioning Millionaire

Pat – Q/A match up Questioning biology
•Half the group were given questions relevant to what they need to know
•The other half were given the answers – on large pieces of paper
•The girls with the answers had to stand in a row holding their answers up
In silence the girls had to match up with their ‘partners’
•The pairs then sat together and, in turn, chose someone else in the class to ask their question to

Tracey – silent questioning (questions displayed on board, students “discuss” it in writing). Other options possible, 1/ students swap “silent discussions” and read peers’ answers 2/ colour code questions on board so students can decide what difficulty level they want to attempt.

              – use of questioning at the very start of a lesson to establish students’ prior knowledge and to encourage student talk. Use of questions in History

Jo – What, What, How format so that students start thinking and making progress even before any teacher input. What what how
1/ WHAT difference do you notice? 2/ WHAT does it mean? 3/ HOW would you explain it to someone else?

Claire – Question Stems Bloom’s Taxonomy Questioning mat
            – Quiz, Quiz, Trade Quiz quiz trade
1. Create Questions Provide each student with a flash cards about the current unit of study. One side of the card has a question or vocabulary term and the other side provides the answer or definition.
2. Pair Up Use the stand up/hands up/pair up method for students to find a partner.  Partner A holds up the flash card to show Partner B the question.  Partner B answers. Partner A praises if correct or coaches if incorrect.  They switch roles and Partner B asks Partner A the next question.
3. Hands Up After thanking each other and switching cards, Partners A and B raise their hands to find a new partner and repeat the process for an allotted amount of time.
Student-Created Quiz, Quiz, Trade Have students create their own flashcards with questions and answers.  You might want to review the cards before allowing students to play so you can be sure that the students’ answers are accurate.

Sakiko – Display visual stimulus on the board with key question words around it (Who, Why, When, What, Where, How etc). Pupils write questions using the question prompts. Pupils swap questions and answer each other’s. This works well in a language lesson to practise sentence building but could also be applied to any subject to practise creative writing or assess subject knowledge.
             – add/develop/challenge/change: get pupils to do something with the information they are given. add challenge develop change

Matt – Four Corners: 4 words on the board, one in each corner. Students make a sentence with it. For example in maths

4 Corners
A huge thank you to our colleagues who shared some of their fantastic activities & resources!

This time, as Easter is approaching, the raffle winners left with some colour inkpads (to sue with our brand new 2 stars and a wish stamper) and some fillable eggs, which could be used for extension questions/tasks or with a question inside to review the learning (could be colour-coded and/or differentiated). Please let us know how you are using your prizes.

easter eggs
Thank you to all staff who presented and attended!

G&T @ THW – Ideas, strategies & tips to help our G&T students



G&T students are a diverse group. Not all of them will exhibit the same characteristics, but some generalised features for a G&T leaners could include that they:

  • are a good reader
  • very articulate or verbally fluent for their age (which can appear cheeky)
  • have a wide general knowledge and are interested in topics which one might associate with an older child and are often self-taught in her own interest areas;
  • learn quickly
  • are interested in a range of things, some of which are almost obsessions
  • show unusual and original responses to problem-solving activities
  • have a good memory that she can access easily
  • are artistic or musical
  • excel at sport
  • have strong views and opinions
  • have a lively and original imagination/sense of humour
  • can be very sensitive and aware
  • focus on his/her own interests rather than on what is being taught
  • are socially adept or inept;
  • be easily bored by what they perceive as routine tasks

For some ideas on how best to challenge our G&T pupils have a look at this booklet! GT @ THW School Ideas Booklet


T&L Hubs 2013-2014 – Active Learning in PSHE



“In short, PSHE education can be described as ‘learning to live life well’. PSHE deals with real life social and economic issues affecting children & young people, their families and communities.”

What skills/knowledge do we need to be able to be effective teachers of PSHE?

•Active learning
•Ground rules
•Subject knowledge
We had a go and tried the following activities: needs assessment, conscience alley, line of conscience & freeze frame, which was a lot of fun!
In the next few weeks, try out 1 or more of the activities discussed and be prepared to feedback during our Spotlight on Friday 28th February! Don’t forget to have a look at the booklet for more ideas!

TOTW – Monday 3rd February



This week’s questioning technique comes from Professor Dylan Williams.


•A hinge question is based on the important concept in a lesson that is critical for students to understand before you move on in the lesson.
•The question should fall about midway during the lesson.
•Every student must respond to the question within two minutes.
•You must be able to collect and interpret the responses from all students in 30 seconds