Tuesday, June 30, 2009

9 Benefits of Asking Questions instead of Giving Answers by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D.

The following article is from the website of Dr. Jane Bluestein. It discusses the benefits of asking questions of children instead of giving answers. If you click on the article title above, it will take you to Dr. Bluestein's website. Please enjoy.

9 Benefits of Asking Questions instead of Giving Answers
  • Questions help children explore dimensions of a problem.
  • Questions help children explore their available options.
  • Questions help children identify their goals and intentions.
  • Questions draw solutions from the child.
  • Questions communicate your trust in the child's ability to solve a problem.
  • Questions place the responsibility for finding a solution on the child.
  • Questions allow you to help the child anticipate probable outcomes of various choices, helping her evaluate the choices she has.
  • Questions build confidence and independence in problem solving.
  • The process of asking instead of telling puts you in the role of facilitator or guide, rather than rescuer. It helps build skills and confidence kids can rely on when an adult isn't around to tell them what to do.
Imagine the learning your child can experience when you ask questions like, "How would you like your friend to treat you?" "What have you already tried?" "What else can you do?" "What might happen if you do that?" "How will you feel if that happens?" or when you simply say, "Well, just ignore her," or "Go play with somebody else." Even though a solution might be quite evident to you, there is great value in your child exploring the problem and possible solutions with you as her guide!

Excerpt from The Parent's Little Book of Lists: Do's and Don't of Effective Parenting, by Jane Bluestein, Ph.D., copyright 1997, Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Interventions for students you suspect may have a language impairment.

There will be many different students in your classroom throughout the year. One type of student who may struggle academically may be language impaired. This does not mean the student speaks a different language and is having difficulty with English; this student will have typically spoken English all of their life and lived in an English-only speaking home. This student will have difficulty with vocabulary, possibly following directions, understanding meaning of words, and/or verbalizing their thoughts and ideas. Here are some interventions to attempt:

  1. Explicit and systematic small group instruction within the general education classroom.
  2. Break instruction down into manageable steps.
  3. Emphasize important points with color by using highlighters, colored transparency strips, or colored reusable transparent tape.
  4. Provide concrete, hands-on activities and manipulative so the student could actually experience the concept being taught.
  5. Provide an outline or organizer so that the student need only fill in key words and phrases.
  6. Don't let the child struggle for too long to find or recall a word. Give the child the word they are looking for after a few seconds. Then after the child finishes their thought, provide an additional verbal cue to help the child remember or practice the word again.
  7. Read books that contain rhymes, predictable text, opposites, classifications, and repetitions.
  8. Play category naming games: apples, oranges, grapes are all (fruits).
What are some interventions you have used in your classroom?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Phonological Awareness Activities

Phonological awareness activities are an essential part of literacy instruction. It has several learning outcomes in regards to teaching children the connection of speech to print. One important skill is that a student can listen appropriately as stories are read. There are several teaching strategies and activities that can be done with a student to teach and practice this skill.
  • Encourage reading buddies with older students reading to younger students.
  • Reading stories previously created by the students.
  • Guide students to talk about the content of stories.
  • Reading pattern stories and have the students speak up on the repetitive parts (common patterns) of a story.
  • Teach the students to dramatize parts of a story after listening to them.
What are some the teaching strategies and activities you have used with success?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cross-Checking & Self Correction Strategies

As a teacher, I was always looking for additional ways to frame questions to students so I wouldn't keep repeating myself over and over. By keeping it fresh, the students tended to pay a tad bit more attention to what I was saying to them. Check out the list below of responses/questions that can be used when working with a student.

  1. How did you know it was that word?
  2. You stopped for a moment just before you fixed that. What were you thinking?
  3. Is there any other way you could know?
  4. Can you find two ways to check that word?
  5. I noticed that you looked at the picture and used the first sound to read that word. Did you do anything else?
  6. That makes sense and sounds right. Now check the letter.
  7. What are some of your choices now? Which one, do you think, would work best here?
  8. Check to find out if what you read makes sense, sounds right, and looks right to you.
  9. Why did you stop there? What did you do to fix that part?
  10. You decided to reread that part to get a running start to check that word. Did it work?
  11. I noticed that you were looking at the pictures to help you change the word that didn't make sense there.
  12. Did I need to help you with that? No, you thought about it and corrected yourself.
These are just a few examples. What are some that you use with your students?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Responses and Question Strategies During Reading

The following are suggestions for responses/questions that teachers can use with students to cue them to use appropriate reading stratagies.  

1.  I noticed that you were thinking about the story as you were reading.  Good thinking!
2.  Does that (the word) make sense?
3.  Hmmm....Could that happen?
4.  Is there such a word as ______?  It sounded a little funny to me.
5.  You read "_____".  Is that right?
6.  Think about the story.  What would make sense? or What might happen next?
7.  Take a look at the picture.

Language Structure and Grammar
1.  I noticed that you were listening to yourself read to decide if it sounded right.  Great!
2.  Would that word fit there?
3.  Does that sound like talking in books?
4.  Try reading ahead for more clues.
5.  Let's read it again together.

Letter-Sound Correspondences
1.  You are looking carefully at the words while you are pointing to make sure it matches.  Great reading!
2.  What letters do you think you would see in _____? (beginning, middle, end)
3.  You read ____.  How does ____ begin (end)?
4.  Let's sound that one together.
5.  It could be ___, but look at the letters.  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Things Good Readers Do

Teaching students what a good reader does is important. These are items they are good strategies to teach to students.

*Look at the cover and title.
*Look at the pictures and read some of the text.

*Ask who, what, when, where, why, and how.
*Decide if what you've read makes sense.

*Wonder about what will happen next.
*Make guesses and read ahead to see if your predictions are correct.

*Imagine the details.
*Use what you've read to understand what the author means.

*Relate what you've read to what you know, and to your thoughts and feelings.
*Compare what you've read to other texts and to the world around you.

*Organize and connect the details.
*Draw your own conclusions.

*Think about what you've read.
*What did you learn?
*Was it important to you? Why or why not?
*Did you like it? Why or why not?