Questioning is at the intersection of art and science in teaching. Week three of the MTBOS blogging initiative was supposed to be about questioning – two weeks ago BTW – but I had a hard time coming up with something math related. It’s almost been two school years now since I was in the classroom…

The questions I seek to ask I’ll refer too in terms of questions I ask teachers when designing lessons or their students, as that’s primarily the domain I’ve been in for the past two years.

  1. Is it student centered or teacher-centered?
  2. Are there multiple ways for students to express their understanding? (And then naturally, rubrics that assess the what not the how are important)
  3. Why is this lesson important for student learning?

#1 is often very hard for teachers to see and takes practice and feedback. As an adjunct professor and also in my work at OpenEd, I often use Google docs to give feedback to people so that I can ask questions to help drive them to greater student-centeredness. It isn’t how they were taught so is hard to get them to think about it in new ways.

#2: I typically do a unit on what I call storytelling tools – what others might call presentation tools – for my student teachers and masters degree students that they love. I talk about how things like Powerpoint are alright but they’re so linear there’s not a lot of room for creativity. Instead, to use tools like ThingLink, Padlet, Powtoon, Prezi, Storybird, and Zaption to allow students different paths to convey their learning.

#3: I remember during the days of Understanding By Design, they would talk about the ONE THING that students will remember about your class. Recently I had the privilege of going camping with a handful of students who used to be in my class (and on my sports teams that I coached) as far back as ten years ago. I asked them the one thing they remembered about my class or coaching. I suppose I was hoping for “you explained things well,” or, “you pushed us.” Their common answer?

You didn’t give up on us.

Postscript: Sentimental Pictures from the camping trip. (From 2007-2014 I started a triathlon club–>nonprofit that helped low income kids get into triathlons. One way we funded it was running races where the kids would all camp with us and set up/do the race.)

2010: Raymond, Albert and Ben were there… (and I wasn’t even married yet)








2016:Now everyone is turning 21 or higher…


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