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Task and Questioning Techniques in the Classroom

DARTs activities (Directed Activities Related to Texts) – Effective Tasks/Questioning Techniques for Supply Teachers – Super Supply Bradford

We are sometimes at a bit of a loss when asking questions. We hear about ‘bouncing back’ and ‘levels of challenge’ but that sometimes translates to slightly sterile questioning in the classroom. Below are some techniques that you can use in order to improve outcomes for students:

Predictions – stop reading the text at a particular moment and allow students to speculate what might happen next.

Cloze activities – A common classroom tool in primary school but can be very effective at KS3/4/5 t o help embed literacy and smelling: missing words are filled in. This can be useful when asking students to draw on previous knowledge or to see how much learning has been retained.

Underlining – can be used to test whether students can pick out key words in a text. This is useful when combined with ranking activities in which students order the words in terms of their importance, bias or tone (for instance) within the text. This technique works well with some of the reading strategies outlined at the end of this pack.

Responding to statements – students are given several statements relating to the text that might be correct, incorrect, controversial or contradictory. They are asked to respond to the statements as groups or individually.

Summarising – students summarise the writing in their own words – useful as a mini plenary to check understanding. This is a skill that we are trying to develop within the school and something that students need support with. It can be combined with giving students framed sentence starters or in its infancy, can start as a cloze activity to help scaffold the task. Once students understand the basic concepts of summary, they can become more autonomous with the skill.

Transformations – the writing is recreated using a different format. For example, an extract from a book is recreated as a newspaper story.

Making questions – ask students to construct a list of questions that they have about a text as it is being read aloud or individually. This can be scaffolded for lower ability classes.

Sociogram – students are given cards of main characters/concepts in a text and asked to order them in terms of their proximity to show relationships. This can be used as a ranking activity too.

Washing lines – students rank a number of cards from left to right to show an order of importance, relationship or cause and effect.

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