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Course Interactions

Moving from sharing of opinions to creating a response supported by evidence

Helping students develop deep-thinking skills


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Resources and my own learning

Using discussions to build deeper understanding within my own classroom.

  • (4 + 3) x 2. solve the problem and then discuss what would happen if you were to move the parathesis.
  • What is one reason the author presents the information in the article in chronological order? Support your answer with evidence from the article. (be sure to give the article)
  • Sentence 31 needs to be revised. Rewrite sentence 31 in a clear and effective way. (give the sentence)
  • What are TWO likely reasons why the striped skunk has a much greater population in the wild than the giant panda? (Give info cards)
  • A light hits a disco ball. Describe what happens to the light using academic vocabulary.

STAAR like questions can be hard and by integrating these into a daily discussion can help kids feel confident in their answers.

Building to STAAR

I chose this topic because I have seen first hand the struggle my students have in creating deeper connections to their learning. Our students only focus is task completion and not building an understanding of the information they are learning, this is leading to lack of connections as they move through the school system.

Guidelines for Effective Discussion

Edutopia: Encouraging Quality Classroom Discussions

Click the link below for more information on how to foster discussions within your learning space and building those deeper connections

Fostering deeper discussions takes time and work

When creating a classroom discussion, whether that is virtual or in person, there needs to be time and ground rules. When first engaging in a discussion, the priority is to first compete the task. If there are no standards or rules to hold the students to, students will not interact with others to build that understanding. Continuing to practice "students will begin to discuss key questions and the range of conversation spans surface, deep, and transfer levels of learning." This means that those deeper connections aren't going to start on day 1 or maybe even day 10. You have to continuously allow students to practice and build their cofidence in dicussions. Having specific guidelines will help students grow in their responses.

  • Assign roles that promote conversation.
  • Employ norms that get everyone involved.
  • Assign tasks that promote group work.
  • Use protocols, and reflect on quality.
  • Regularly prompt students to infuse academic vocabulary in their second or third attempt of discussion.
  • Give students rich tasks that enable them to contribute to the world outside of the classroom.
  • Would you rather live in a Tree house or an Igloo? Why?
  • Would you rather live in the clouds or underwater? Why?
  • Would you rather be a bird or a fish? Why?
  • Would you rather have really short legs or really long arms? Why?
  • Would you rather have a longer Christmas break or a longer summer break? Why?

Would you rather questions are easy and silly but adding the why at the end encourages kids to support their answer with reasoning.

Would you rather?

Don't forget to add the why!

Using the things discussed in the video and in the article, I would first implement a time and space for discussion to happen. This allows students to anticipate when those interactions would happen. Secondly, posting the question to allow students time to think about their answer and have something prepared to say. Starting off easy with questions like would your rathers and favorites would give students that building of trust for later discussions. Using the guidelines outlined in the article to give students strategies to enage in the discussions. And finally working our way to deeper questions. The STAAR has changed, now each and every subject has a short answer question that requires the use of evidence and vocabulary. Using these questions to enhance our discussions in class would help students that struggle with those types of questions as they woud be able to see and hear how others plus building their own understanding.

5th Grade Classroom