How can we get students to think more deeply about what they read?

“Literate conversations” are often prompted by teacher questions that:

  • require students to actually read and comprehend the text
  • extend their thinking beyond the text
  • draw on prior knowledge
  • include evidence from the text

Asking quality questions is not always enough. It’s also important to demonstrate and practice effective responses.

HIP TEACHER’S GUIDES
HIP Teacher's Guides contain higher level thinking questions and prompts for before, during and after reading the novel.

4 ROUTINES FOR HIGHER LEVEL THINKING

THINK, PAIR, & (SELECTIVELY) SHARE

When initiating an open-ended discussion, give students an opportunity to talk to a partner before opening the conversation up to the large group.  This enables them to organize their thinking and share their ideas with one other person.  The teacher can listen to the paired conversations and invite specific students to share their ideas. Be selective about what is shared with the whole group; an inappropriate response can railroad the whole discussion.

Alternatives to Traditional THINK-PAIR-SHARE

Download a Clock Partners Organizer.

THINK TIME – BEFORE AND AFTER RESPONDING

Research shows that teachers tend to wait less than two seconds for a response after asking a question!  Giving students 3-5 seconds of “think time” before responding has been shown to elevate their thinking. As well, if we pause for 3-5 seconds of think time after they respond, students are more likely to extend their thinking and add to their original response.

Read more about The Wonder of Wait Time

HANDS DOWN!

When we ask students to raise their hands to respond to a question or prompt, we are essentially giving those with their hands down permission to not even try to think of an answer. Ask a question and provide think time for all, then call on any student to respond. The students then have the option to pass, but not opt out.

Read more about “Don’t Raise Your Hand”

NO OPTING OUT

If a student doesn’t have an answer or response, s/he has the option to pass – for the time being. The discussion moves on to someone else, but comes back to that student at some point to reiterate, restate or add to what was said.

Check out this NO OPT OUT FLOWCHART.

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