January 2, 2014

Thursday Throwdown (Questioning Technique) and January Currently

I'm joining Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit for her Thursday Throwdown linky with a very simple way that I try to make my lessons a bit more interactive.

One of the things that we teachers do before, during, and after presenting a lesson is to orally ask questions... usually LOTS of them! We ask questions to help build background for learning. We ask questions to guide learning, and we ask questions to determine if learning has occurred. The only problem is that only a few students have the opportunity to respond in kind to our questions at any given time. It is just not feasible to have each student respond individually. We would never complete the lesson!

One simple thing that I've been implementing to help bypass this situation is a technique that I call "Turn to your neighbor." Many of you probably already do this. It works like this... When it's time for me to ask a question during a lesson I will ask the question aloud then say, "Turn to your neighbor and share your answers." After a few moments I call the class back together and call on three or four students to now share their neighbor's answer. We take the time to discuss discrepancies or misconceptions then move on. Every student has had the opportunity to answer the question while also practicing some listening skills.

I don't do this for every question or for every lesson, but it is a great technique to help make lessons more interactive! I'd love to hear if you already use this or a similar technique, or if you decide to give "Turn to your neighbor" a try I'd enjoy hearing if it works for you or not.


I'm also linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently linky.

LISTENING... I am on cat patrol. Lulie (new kitty) and Daisy (incorrigible old queen) have not yet (after nearly a month) made up. We can coexist in a room together with only the occasional snarl, growl, or hiss. I am hoping and praying that one morning I will wake up to find them curled up together, sleeping peacefully!

LOVING... I am thoroughly enjoying the no alarm clock, no routine days of this Christmas break. I stay in my muumuu and socks all day only to change into a fresh muumuu and socks for night. LOL! This idyllic existence soon comes to an end... sigh!

THINKING... Yep! That's all I am doing so far, too... thinking about those papers. Sunday (last day before reality sets in) sounds like a good a time as any to tackle them!

WANTING... This picture shot from my front door says it all... 12 inches of ALL! With MORE to fall!!! Not to mention the cold... When I started typing this blog post it was 20 degrees. It has since dropped to 13 degrees just 90 minutes later.

NEEDING... The other thing I am listening to is the sewer man using his sewer snake to chop up the roots that have clogged my sewer causing it to back up... ARRGGH! I also need my downstairs toilet fixed, but daren't because I need to have the flooring below it replaced since it is rotten! DOUBLE ARRGGH! Little by little. It's this OLD HOUSE that propelled me to set up my TpT Store, and thank goodness that I did! Thank goodness, too, for all the wonderful teachers who support my store! Please know that you are appreciated GREATLY!

MEMORY/TRADITION... My sister was the baker in the family. She passed away VERY unexpectedly a year ago last April and with her the knowledge of making all the traditional family Christmas cookies. We have her recipes, but they are the kind that say take a pinch of this and a handful of that... old, old recipes. My niece, bless her heart, figured them ALL out and made DELICIOUS Christmas cookies! Each bite brought memories of my sister, my mom, my dad, and holidays long ago!

Have a VERY Happy New Year,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6


  1. I have been LOVING Christmas break too! It's going to be tough when Monday rolls around! Happy New Year!
    Found your blog through Currently and I am your newest follower. Would love for you to head over and check out my blog! Missy TheAdventuresofAClassyTeacher

  2. Hi! Visiting you from Farley's blog! Your currently sounds very familiar. I hope you enjoy these last moments of break. I am glad the cookie tradition continues - we need to keep the wonderful memories going of those we love.

  3. What a beautiful post! I found you through Farley's Currently Link up! I especially loved reading about your sister and the cooking making tradition.
    Fun Teaching Videos!

  4. Your cookie memory made me tear up. What a wonderful thing your niece did. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy those memories again!

  5. Your cookie memory was precious. I am sure your sister was there smiling with you all as you enjoyed those tasty treats.
    I like the turn to your neighbor technique. I use in sometimes, but definitely could use it more. Thanks for the reminder.
    On the Trail of Learning

  6. Hello dear friend!

    I totally agree with your policy of asking lotssss of questions. I do too - it helps to foster curiosity and assess understanding. I love the "turn to your neighbor" technique - I will definitely try that!

    I'm so glad to hear you've been enjoying your Christmas break - savor every last day!

    I am so sorry to hear about your sister - what a tragic thing to go through. I am glad that your niece was able to figure out the cookie recipes - I'm sure that made for a sweet time of remembering.

    Happy New Year!
    Joy in the Journey

  7. I love turn and talk - 100% engagement!

  8. I am the baker in my family so I understand about those precious memories associated with food. For me it is Linzer tarts and my Dad. Thanks for touching my heart and giving me great ideas for my classroom.


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