Tag Archives: questioning

Questioning at St Margaret’s Primary School and Nursery Class

Gillian Campbell, Curriculum Support Officer, oversaw moderation funding projects during the 2013-14 session including one led by Stacey Collier-West, DHT at St Margaret’s Primary School and Nursery Class.
After consultation with the Curriculum Support Team it was decided that, at St Margaret’s Primary School and Nursery Class, Bloom’s Higher Order Questioning should be introduced across the school.
Three teachers were selected to observe good practice in another school and to then come back to St Margaret’s and demonstrate the Bloom’s pedagogy to three of their teaching colleagues.
Before travelling to the local school for observations the teachers involved completed a ‘Record of Collegiate Visit’. On this they detailed ‘Pre-visit’ notes where they outlined what the hoped to get out of the visit. They then used this same form to note points of interest, observations and notes made during the session and action points they feel will be addressed as a result of what they have seen.
After the process each member of teaching staff involved completed a self-evaluation sheet (based on Guskey’s framework) which delved into their personal reactions, personal learning, thoughts on organisation, support and change as well as their feelings about their new knowledge and skills and most importantly the impact on pupil learning.
Feedback from the three teachers involved in the initial stages of the project were positive in their evaluation of the work. One commented:
“I felt very supported by all members of staff and although I was a little apprehensive initially about the unknown, staff reassured me and the experience was highly enjoyable… Management was very supportive and asked at different points how it was going and if it was useful”
Constructive feedback did show that the turnaround between observing another school in the morning and then teaching in their own school in the afternoon was very tight and added pressure for the teachers involved.
The school have taken steps to monitor impact on pupil learning since running this project and will carefully study CEM data and other information including quality assurance information (observations, pupil voice groups and jotter monitoring).
Sarah Myles, classroom practitioner described her thoughts on the project:
“It was very important for me to see the questioning taking place as it made it very clear and manageable whereas before, on paper, I was not sure how to deliver this to younger pupils. The teacher took time to explain where the school had gone on its journey- starting with the fans then adapting them for younger pupils.”

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

Using Active Approaches to Reading Using Moving Image as ‘Text’

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, has been working with a number of schools on active approaches to reading.

Sharon has been working on the development of skills which address ENG 1/2-17a – ‘To show my understanding, I can respond to different kinds of questions and can create different kinds of questions of my own.’

Working with ‘Lost and Found’ moving image as a text, Sharon has been working alongside class teachers to use Blooms question fans to support generating, and indeed, answering their own higher order questions.

Using a ‘book detective’ approach, pupils have been given specific tasks to find evidence within the ‘text’ to support themes/ characterisation/ setting/ plot and structure.

Incorporating co-operative learning strategies such as ‘corners’ (literal, evaluative and inferential questions) and ‘two stay/ two stray’, pupils have generated their own questions and model answers for other pupils to solve.

In their co-operative learning roles of question master, clarifier, recorder and summariser, pupils initially answered prediction questions about the text, followed by generating their own questions to ask others.

Pupils were highly engaged and motivated during the whole of the sessions. These sessions culminated in pupils taking on the role of teacher (Reciprocal Teaching) where they devised their own lessons for younger pupils using the same moving image as ‘text’. Pupils incorporated Assessment is for Learning strategies into their own lessons and shared learning intentions and success criteria.