Reflection Questions

CHAPTER 1 – Gathering Data on Student Mastery [All New!]

    1. To more effectively Reject Self-Report, brainstorm a list of four or five targeted questions you could use to check for understanding in a lesson you are currently teaching. Practice with a colleague and see if you can deliver them in a minute or less.

    2. How might you Standardize the Format in your classroom in terms of handouts and homework material? In terms of the visual field? What other ways might you standardize your classroom, and in what ways might they improve the overall efficiency of your lessons and your ability to assess student mastery?

    3. Select one question from an upcoming lesson. Working with that question,

      a. Script a follow-up question for a correct response
      b. Plan one anticipated wrong answer
      c. Script the first question you’d ask to follow an incorrect response
      d. Plan your cue and student hand signals
CHAPTER 2 – Acting on the Data and the Culture of Error [All New!]

    1. We all have indicators that tell students when an answer is right or wrong.
    Brainstorm all of the tells that teachers have, including your own (for example, nodding, smiling).

    2. Brainstorm a list of responses you could give to a wrong answer that could help build a Culture of Error in your classroom. (Examples: “I expect there are a lot of different answers here.” “That answer is going to be really helpful to us.” “You did a lot of smart things to get that answer. Now there’s one thing we need to change.”)

    3. If students are asked to round 246.74 to the nearest hundreds place, what errors are students apt to make? List as many possible student misunderstandings as you can. Plan for how you’d address those misunderstandings.

    4. Pick one question in your lesson outline for which you anticipate the need for deep excavation.

      a. List the potential wrong answers that students might have.
      b. Discuss why students might give these answers and what correct thinking might lead to an incorrect answer.
CHAPTER 3 – Setting High Academic Expectations [These questions were previously found in Chapter 1. Question 2 is slightly revised.]

    1. The chapter presented five techniques for raising academic expectations in your classroom: No Opt Out, Right Is Right, Stretch It, Format Matters, and Without Apology. Which of these will be the most intuitive for you to implement in your classroom? Which will be the toughest, and what will make it difficult?

    2. One of the keys to responding effectively to “almost right” answers—reinforcing effort but holding out for top-quality answers—is having a list of phrases you think of in advance. Try to write four or five of your own.

    3. Here’s a list of questions you might hear asked in a classroom and the objective for the lesson in which they were asked:

    • 6 + 5 = ? Objective: Students will be able to master simple computations:
      addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
    • Who can use the word achieve in a sentence? Objective: Students will be able to increase their vocabulary through drills that explore the use of synonyms, antonyms, and different parts of speech.
    • What is one branch of the US government? Objective: Students will be able to understand the three branches of the US government and how they relate to each other and current events.

    Try to think of ten Stretch It questions you might ask for the one that’s closest to what you teach. (This is a great activity to do with other teachers.)

    4. Try to imagine the most “boring” content (to you) that you could teach. Now script the first five minutes of your class in which you find a way to make it exciting and engaging to students.

CHAPTER 4 – Planning for Success [These questions were previously found in Chapter 2]

    1. Choose an especially large learning standard from the state in which you teach. Before you analyze it, try to guess how many objectives you’d need to truly master it. Now break it up into a series of manageable, measurable objectives that flow in a logical sequence from introduction of the idea to full mastery. Next, try to increase or decrease the number of days you have available by 20 percent. How does this change your objectives?

    2. Make a building tour of your school, visiting classrooms and writing down the objectives. Score them as to whether they meet 4Ms criteria. Fix the ones you can and then ask yourself where as a school you need to improve objective writing.

    3. Think of a recent lesson you taught, and write out all of the actions from a student’s perspective, starting in each case with an action verb—”Listened to” and “Wrote,” for example. If you feel daring, ask your students whether they think your agenda is accurate. Even more daring is to ask your students to make a list of what they were doing during your class.

    4. Make an action plan for your classroom setup:

      a. What should your default layout be, and what would the most common other layouts look like? Will you use them enough to justify having your students practice moving from one to another?
      b. What are the five most useful and important things you could put on the walls to help students do their work? Are they up?
      c. What things are on your walls that don’t need to be? Nominate five to take down.
CHAPTER 5 – Lesson Structure [These questions were previously found in Chapter 3. Question 3 is NEW]

    1. Choose one of the following deliberately informal topics and sketch out a lesson plan that follows an I/We/You structure. In fact, you can go one step further by planning a five-step process: I do; I do, you help; you do, I help; you do; and you do and do and do. You don’t have to assume you’ll be teaching your actual students.
    Students will be able to shoot an accurate foul shot.
    Students will be able to write the name of their school in cursive.
    Students will be able to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.
    Students will understand and apply the correct procedure for doing laundry in your household.
    Students will be able to change a tire.

    2. Now take your lesson and design a three- to five-minute hook that engages students and sets up the lesson.

    3. Be sure to name the steps in the “I” portion of your lesson. Review them and find four or five ways to make them stickier.

    4. Design an Exit Ticket that will allow you to accurately assess student knowledge at the end of the lesson.

CHAPTER 6 – Pacing [These questions were previously found in Chapter 8]

    1. Go through a lesson plan you’re likely to use in the next week, and if you don’t do this already, assign the amount of time you think each activity is likely to take. Now that you have general parameters, go through and find every direction you’ll give to your students during the lesson, and designate an amount of time you will allot to each activity. Write a short script for each that makes the amount of time available clear and gives a beginning and end prompt to Brighten Lines.

    2. Take the biggest single block of activity in your lesson (as measured in minutes) and try to break it into two or three activities with the same objective but with slightly different presentations. For example, if you had a section of problems for a math lesson on rounding, you might divide it in half, with a clear line between numerical and word problems. Then, between the two sections to make them seem like three, you might insert a brief reflection on what rounding is and why we do it.

CHAPTER 7 – Building Ratio Through Questioning [These questions were previously found in Chapter 4]

    1. Many of the teachers I work with think that of all the techniques in this book, Cold Call is the one with the greatest and fastest capacity to shift the culture of their classroom. Why do you think they feel so strongly about it?

    2. Take a lesson plan for a class you’re getting ready to teach, and mark it up by identifying three places where it would be beneficial to use Cold Call. Script your questions and write them into your lesson plan. Make some notes about which students you’ll Cold Call.

    3. Take that same lesson plan and mark it up to add two short sessions of Call and Response. Again, script your questions. Try to ask questions at all five levels, and note the in-cue you’ll use.

    4. Make a short list of what you want your students to do or think about when\ you use Wait Time. Write yourself two or three five-second scripts that you can practice and use while teaching to reinforce effective academic behaviors and discipline yourself to wait.

CHAPTER 8 – Building Ratio Through Writing [All new!]

    1. Take a lesson plan for a class you’re getting ready to teach, and mark it up by identifying a place where all of your students will write an answer to your question before discussion. Be sure to consider where they will write and what the expectations will be. (Will you collect their work? Are complete sentences required?)

    2. Pick a portion of your lesson plan to insert an Art of the Sentence moment. Consider

      a. Your lesson objective and question
      b. The level of scaffolding you will provide for students
      c. Whether you will focus more on participation ratio or think ratio
      d. What an exemplar Art of the Sentence response would look like and how you would support revision

    3. Now plan a Show Call to review and revise your students’ Art of the Sentence writing.

      a. What type of work will you Show Call: an exemplar? an example of a common error? a “good to great” case study?
      b. How will you narrate the take and the reveal?
      c. What will students look for in the Show Call analysis, and how will students revise their own work afterwards?
CHAPTER 9 – Building Ratio Through Discussion [All new!]

    1. Thinking in terms of think ratio and participation ratio, what are some of the successes and challenges you have experienced (or anticipate experiencing) using Turn and Talk? How might you amplify successes and minimize challenges?

    2. Identify two behaviors you want students to do while in the Turn and Talk. Draft what you will say when you model and describe the behaviors. Script your in-cue and out-cue language and signals, and select a tool to help students generate ideas before talking.

    3. Choose one of the questions (or create a new one) from your lesson script that you would like to use as a Turn and Talk. Indicate whether the purpose of your Turn and Talk is to boost Participation Ratio or Think Ratio. Also plan a number of ways you will extend students’ thinking after the Turn and Talk.

CHAPTER 10 – Systems and Routines [These questions were previously found in Chapter 5. Question 3 is slightly revised.]

    1. Script the steps and expectations for the five most critical Systems and/or Procedures in your classroom.

    2. Make a poster outlining everything your students need to have to be prepared at the beginning of class. Post it on your wall. Practice referring students to it (nonverbally perhaps) before class begins.

    3. Make a list of some of the most common requests students make while you are teaching. Determine an appropriate nonverbal signal they can give you to make each request and return to STAR/SLANT. Make a poster with the acronym you use spelled out. Practice pointing at the poster and asking students to return to their seat if they do not ask for and receive your nonverbal approval. (You’ll want them to practice recognizing a nonverbal indicating that they should wait, which you should sometimes use if the request comes during key instructional time.)

CHAPTER 11 – High Behavioral Expectations [These questions were previously found in Chapter 6]

    1. For each of the common off-task behaviors listed here, write down and practice with a friend or in front of a mirror a nonverbal intervention you could use to correct it while you were teaching:

    • Student slouched in his chair
    • Student with her head down on her desk, eyes up
    • Student with her head down on her desk, eyes hidden
    • Student gesturing distractingly to another student
    • Student persistently looking under his desk for an unidentified something

    2. For each of the off-task behaviors in question 1, script a positive group correction and an anonymous individual correction to address them.

    3. Make a list of at least five positive student behaviors you could reinforce with nonverbal interventions. Plan a signal for each.

    4. Revise the following statements using What to Do to make them specific, concrete, observable, and sequential:

    • “Class, you should be writing this down!”
    • “Tyson, stop fooling around.”
    • “Don’t get distracted, Avery.”
    • “Are you paying attention, Dontae?”
    • “I’d like to get started, please, class.”
CHAPTER 12 – Building Character and Trust [These questions were previously found in Chapter 7]

    1. The following statements are negatively framed. Try rewriting them to make them positively framed.

    • “We’re not going to have another day like yesterday, are we, Jason?”
    • “Just a minute, Jane. Absolutely no one is giving you their full attention except Noah and Beth.”
    • “I need the tapping to stop.”
    • “I’ve asked you twice to stop slouching, Jasmine!”

    2. Consider what specific behavioral traits (hard work, listening to peers, checking or rereading their work, or reading carefully, for example) you most want students to demonstrate in your classroom. For each, write three or four scripts you might use to reinforce them using Precise Praise.

    3. Make a list of the situations in which you are most vulnerable to losing your Emotional Constancy. Script a calm and poised comment you might make to the other people involved that also reminds you to remain constant.

    4. Brainstorm ten ways you could bring more Joy Factor into your classroom. Use at least four of the types of joy described in the chapter.