Wednesday, June 26, 2019


One of the best ways to encourage high level thinking and develop oral language skills is to ask good questions at circle time.

Ask open-ended questions, rather than “yes” or “no.” Convergent questions have one answer, but divergent questions encourage students to make new connections and think outside the box.

Phrase Questions Clearly
Focus on one aspect at a time.

Acknowledge Responses
Avoid judging answers by repeating their response. “Good thinking!” “That’s close.” “I never thought about that before.” “Kiss your brain!”

How did you know that?
Encourage children to “think out loud.” This will help peers develop higher thinking skills.

Give Time(Smile if you know!)
Help children think about what they want to say and provide for individual differences by asking children to smile if they know the answer. Allow at least 3-5 seconds of think time.

Thumbs Up Thinking
Tell children to stick up their thumb next to their chest if they have learned something. Stick up fingers for each additional thing you’ve learned.

Whisper & Release
Children whisper the answer in their fists. When the teacher says, “Release,” the students open their fists.

Sign Language (Yes/No)
Teach children the signs for “yes” (wiggle fist in the air) and “no” (touch index and middle finger to thumb like a mouth closing). You can also cut an envelope in half and write “Yes” on the front and “No” on the back.

Choral Response
Ask a question and then slowly count, “1, 2, 3.” When you say, “Tell,” the children all say the answer together.

Think Partners
Divide children into pairs and let them discuss answers. Children can also review information by “teaching” a friend what they have learned.

Pick Sticks
Ask each child to write his/her name on a large craft stick. Color one end green and one end red. Place the red end in the bottom of a can. Ask a question, and then choose a stick. That child gets to answer the question. Return their stick to the can with the red end up.


Me Too!

Teach children sign language for “me too!” (Extend thumb and pinky finger and place the middle three fingers on your palm as you point your thumb toward your chest.) Tell children when you are reading a book they can use the sign to let you know they’ve had a similar experience.