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Questioning for Higher Level Thinking. Virginia Bateman FCUSD. A Whole New Mind Daniel H. Pink, Opening Keynote

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A Whole New MindDaniel H. Pink, Opening Keynote

Contrary to the “skill and drill” emphasis in America’s public schools, the future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: designers, inventors, teachers and storytellers.

questions can
Questions can…
  • Excite interest or curiosity
  • Direct thinking in new and unexplored ways
  • Encourage reflection
  • Model thinking
  • Make connections
good questions are tools for learning
Good questions are tools for learning
  • What other metaphors?

Good questions are like ??

A playground?

are students getting the kind of brain building workouts with good questions at school
Are students getting the kind of brain building workouts with good questions at school?

For all the good things that standards and standards based bubble in testing have brought to the educational community, it is hard to argue that we are now experiencing a plethora of higher level thinking supported by quality open ended questions.

educational leadership february 2008
Educational Leadership February 2008

Any subject – be it physics, art, or auto repair – can promote critical thinking as long as teachers teach in intellectually challenging ways.

Bateman’s corollary:

Any activity – be it soccer, doing the laundry, or grocery shopping – can promote critical thought as long as parents use the opportunity to ask the right questions.

original terms new terms
Original Terms New Terms
  • Creating
  • Evaluating
  • Analyzing
  • Applying
  • Understanding
  • Remembering
  • Evaluation
  • Synthesis
  • Analysis
  • Application
  • Comprehension
  • Knowledge
thinking about blooms
Thinking about Blooms

Let’s consider the topic of flowers. What are some questions at each level?

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating
difference between difficulty and complexity
Difference between difficulty and complexity
  • Name the fifty states in order from least to greatest based on the number of letters in the name of their capital.
  • What are the important elements a state might consider in selecting which city would be the best capital?
a student can put great effort into a learning task that is at the lowest level of thinking
A student can put great effort into a learning task that is at the lowest level of thinking.
  • This is like working on a treadmill to increase the muscle of your upper arms. You may get some benefit and learn something about persistence in learning, but it is not aimed at the particular body part that you need to exercise.
Every student needs brain exercise, but like an athlete, students of different abilities and background need training of different kinds
the below average learner
The below average learner

Synthesis and evaluation

Application and analysis

Knowledge and comprehension

the average learner
The average learner

Knowledge and comprehension

Application and analysis

Synthesis and evaluation

the gifted learner
The gifted learner

Synthesis and evaluation

Application and analysis

Knowledge and comprehension

can creativity be developed
Can creativity be developed?
  • Yes and good questions are the vehicle

How many ways can you think of to catch a fish?

Please give at least 20 ways

questions that produce creativity ask for
Questions that produce creativity, ask for:
  • Fluency – How many ways….
  • Flexibility -- What other…….
  • Originality – What is the most unique ….
  • Elaboration – What else….
Fluency – How many ways can you catch a fish?
  • Flexibility -- What other animals can you catch with a fishing rod?
  • Originality – What is the most unique method of using a fishing pole for survival?
  • Elaboration – What else would I need to know to survive in the wilderness with just a fishing pole?
scamper questions
SCAMPER questions

Substitute – what if the wolf were an octopus?

Combine – What would a zeon (zebra and lion) look like? What would be its advantages and disadvantages in the wild?

Adjust – What if people were born with wheels instead of feet, what adjustments would we need to make?

Modify, magnify or minify – What if worms could grow to five feet long and a foot wide? What if flowers bloomed all year long and never wilted?

i crossed a lion with a mouse
I Crossed a Lion with a Mouse
  • I crossed a lion with a mouse.
  • Their progeny patrol the house,
  • And often roar demanding cheese –
  • I give them all the cheese they please.
Put to other uses – How could you use only kitchen utensils to create a garden?

Eliminate - What if all people were born without legs, how would we get around?

Reverse or Rearrange – What if Fourth of July happened during the winter?

instead of the traditional 5 w s and an h
Instead of the traditional 5 W’s and an H

Ask questions about

  • possibility – What can…
  • Probability – Which would…
  • Prediction – Why will…
  • Imagination – How might…

What are some good examples of these kinds of questions???

out of the question by sally godinho and jeni wilson suggests 3 c s and 3 p s
Out of the Question by Sally Godinho and Jeni Wilson suggests 3 C’s and 3 P’s
  • Critique – What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach?
  • Compare – What are the similarities between ________ and _________?
  • Connect – What relationships do you see?
Ponder – What’s another way of thinking about this?
  • Personalize – Have you changed your ideas? If so how and why?
  • Prioritize – What’s the most important idea? Which portion of this should be addressed first?


  • Parts
  • Attributes
  • Factors
  • Variables


Identify and label the parts of the story.

Where did the story take place?

what details do you remember from the story of the three little pigs
What details do you remember from the story of The Three Little Pigs?
  • House of straw, sticks, and finally brick
  • The wolf was threatening
language of the discipline
Language of the Discipline
  • Specialized vocabulary
  • Skills, tools or tasks used by people working within a field (discipline)

What specialized terms do we use to describe a story?

when you think of the story the three little pigs what specialized vocabulary do we use
What specialized words do we use to talk about narratives?








What specialized words did the author use to set this story apart?

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and blow your house down

Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin

When you think of the story, The Three Little Pigs, what specialized vocabulary do we use?



Describe the repeating elements of this story.

  • Repeats
  • Predictable
Fairy Tales often have patterns of 3s. What elements can you see in this story that come in 3s?What other patterns do you see?

Point of View


Who’s point of view is being expressed? Whose is not being expressed?

  • Multiple perspectives
  • Opposing viewpoints

What if this story was told from a different point of view?The POV of the WOLFThe POV of the FIRST LITTLE PIGThe POV of the HOUSE OF BRICKS




What should happen to the wolf as a result of his behavior?

  • Points of view
  • Different opinions
  • Judge with criteria
questions to consider
Questions to consider.
  • Is lying or stealing ever justified?
  • Does bad behavior on one person’s part justify bad behavior back?
  • Is judgment about wrong behavior effected by the status of the victim? Should it be?
  • Does one’s motive make a difference, or should one only consider the results of the behavior when making judgments?


Over Time


What’s likely to happen in the future?

How would this be different if it took place in the past?

  • Changes between past, present and future
  • Change within a specific time period




Use FAT questions.

Consider red, green, or yellow light questions

  • Discrepancies
  • Missing parts
  • Unclear ideas
  • Incomplete ideas
questioning using the stop light model
Questioning using the stop light model
  • On the line – right there questions. Questions whose answers can be directly underlined in the text.
  • Between the lines – questions that require some inference, but still use the information in the text. Also called “author and me” questions
  • Beyond the line – questions prompted by the text but that take the questioner into their own or imaginary experiences.
consider questions that
Consider questions that….
  • Ask what if.

What is the pigs had been the evil characters and the wolf was the good guy?

  • Ask you to create an analogy

What kind of dessert represents the best analogy for this story?

  • Ask you to evaluate

Who was smarter, the first little pig or the wolf?

  • Ask that you combine elements.

What if the wolf from this story met the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, what would they say to each other?

when to ask questions
When to ask questions
  • While riding in the car
  • While taking a walk
  • Around the dinner table
  • While waiting…
some of my favorites
Some of My Favorites

If ____________ is the answer, what is the question?

Would you rather be a ___________ or a ________________?

What would a _________ think of__________?

more favorite questions
More favorite questions

What would you fill in here:

_________________ is bad; ____________

Is worse.

What are the ten most important words to a ____________________?

What comes after a _______________?

neil postman 1979 teaching as a subversive activity
Neil Postman 1979Teaching as a Subversive Activity

Let us make the study of the art of questioning asking one of the central disciplines in language education.

eric booth 1999 the everyday work of art
Eric Booth 1999The Everyday Work of Art

The value of questions is grossly overlooked in the high demand, quick-fix nature of our lives and our nation. We are answer oriented everywhere, through schooling that is almost entirely right answer driven.

postman again
Postman again
  • All our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying question-asking is our most important intellectual tool.


who asks most of the questions in a classroom
Who asks most of the questions in a classroom?
  • According to J. T. Dillon, teachers ask how many questions per hour?


  • As compared to how many asked by students?


developing your child s questioning skills
Developing your child’s questioning skills

Begin an activity by formulating questions.

What questions do you have about our new garden?

Create spaces for questions while doing activities

What questions does this activity or task raise?

Model questioning and an uncertainty that allows for authentic questions.

I wonder if the acidity of the soil will make a difference?

Keep track of questions on sticky notes or in a notebook.

Be prepared to return to questions. Good questions beget more questions

Celebrate really good questions without expecting to find an answer.

Are humans the only species who appreciate a garden for its beauty and not its utility?

important do s for questioning
Important Do’s for questioning
  • Give feedback on the question itself.

That’s a really interesting question.

  • Take a good question and make it better.
  • Allow TIME!
some don ts
Some Don’ts
  • Ask a string of questions
  • Ask rhetorical questions
  • Use questioning as a behavioral management tool

Do you know what will happen if you ___?

  • Expect an answer to every question
  • Give feedback on every answer