How to ask questions by applying Rosenshine’s principles

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After having explained a new topic to your students, it is time to ask them questions about it, and assess what they know. Yet even something as easy as asking questions can be done in different ways, with different outcomes in terms of student engagement.

In this blog post, we propose 2 learning techniques to support you in the application of Rosenshine’s Principles of Education, when you’re asking your students questions.

This previous blog post provides a brief introduction to Rosenshine’s Principles.

1) Pile sorting

With this learning technique, students are stimulated to dive deep into a subject by exploring a number of different concepts, and creating connections between them.

Define three columns indicating three different topics/facts relevant to what you are teaching. For each topic think of related concepts which fall under the same category, and write them on a number of concept cards. You could use paper cards, or digital cards created in a platform like LessonUp. It depends mostly on which tools you have available in the class, and what you and your students prefer working with.

We suggest dividing students in groups of 2 or 3, and ask them to take turns. Each team or student picks a concept card and is asked to indicate which column/topic it belongs to. The teams are then challenged to explain their choices.

Students are encouraged to reflect, create connections and discuss the outcome. This differs from standard question answering. It creates links between related concepts, thus allowing for a deeper understanding of the subject matter you are exploring.

2) 5 about 1

This learning technique implies the use of clusters of 5 true/false quiz questions related to one topic. Students are provided with 5 questions/statements/facts concerning a subject. They have to decide whether the notions are true or false.

Once the assignment is concluded, the goal is that at least 3 true/false statements are correct. This is an arbitrary number of course, but it adds an appealing element of playfulness to the challenge. Once concluded, discuss the questions/statements /facts with your students. This will clarify misconceptions and reinforce the learning process.

You can implement 5 about 1 during all lesson phases, as a lesson starter at the beginning of a lesson, to revise with your students in preparation for a test, or as part of a formative assessment. It can be made as complex and as challenging as you prefer, and is applicable to all subject matters, levels of instruction, and classes.

Free white paper

For more information on practical ways to implement all Rosenshine’s principles during your lessons, download our detailed white paper with 12 learning techniques.

To find out more, please visit LessonUp’s profile on EdTech Impact.

Updated on: 3 May 2023

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