Scrolling through Twitter and I see this:

20170407_162405I stared at the screen for a moment before I re-tweeted it.  At first, I didn’t know why this was so intriguing to me, but then it dawned on me. As educators, we tell students, “there are no stupid questions,” whether we believe it or not. Some teachers even laugh about the “stupid questions” they get in class (I know, not you 😉). But this post made me think, how often do teachers ask “stupid questions?”

“Stupid” is a very harsh word. However, there are questions that do not inspire thinking, and those questions are not helpful to students or teachers. Ultimately, teachers are preparing students to think critically. In order to do that, students must be able to think beyond what Google has to offer and process information themselves. To do that, training begins in the classroom.

So, as a teacher, how do you know if you are inspiring thinking. Consider these questions – and we’ll start with the obvious:

  1. Can students Google your answer? Now, to be fair, everything is on Google, BUT, everything is not readily available. A recall question – ‘what happened in the beginning of The Kite Runner’ does not require a student to actually comprehend the text. Instead, a student only needs to remember. Instead, ask ‘how does the first chapter of the novel frame the text? impact the reader?’ With this line of questioning, students can Google The Kite Runner, but they may not even be able to find that answer with research, if at all.
  2. When is the last time you used question stems to plan instruction? There are several different lists of common core question stems. Kids at the Core is one place to check.
  3. How familiar are you with Bloom’s and or DOK? When you lesson plan, one of these should be at your side.
  4. How are your students performing on your summative assessments compared to district or state assessments? There should be consistency between the different instruments. However, if a student is earning an ‘A’ in your class, but is not proficient on district or state assessments, this means that the student has earned an ‘A’ in your class because he/she has done everything you have asked. Unfortunately, what you have asked them to do may not be the equivalent of what they should be able to do. Therein lies a rigor issue.

This parent’s comment is quite poignant. As a matter of fact, it inspires thinking, and cannot be found on Google.