Reflection: Student Communication Supporting Claims in Writing and Discussions - Section 2: Answering Questions for Chapters 5 and 6


The danger with open-ended questions is that often, what I think I've asked students isn't what they think I've asked.  I run into this most often the first time I teach a particular text, and since this is the first time I'm teaching The Hunger Games, guess what? Yup, communication breakdown. 

 Take the following questions, for example.

Most students were able to answer question 13 the way I thought I'd asked it.  It's a literal question, easily found.  It was question 14 and 15 where communication broke down. 

When I asked what the reheaded Avox girl reminded Katniss, I was thinking along the lines of the Avox girl reminding Katniss that Katniss was in the Capitol to fight to her death.  Many students stopped at the part where Peeta helps Katniss cover up by saying that the Avox girl looks like Dely Cartwright, which is untrue.  The two girls look nothing alike.  If students had kept going to the conversation between Katniss and Peeta on the roof, they would have seen the deeper meaning.

So, this student did answer the question correctly.  He didn't answer them the way I expected, but they are correct. And that's where discussion comes into play.  If students are allowed to discuss the answers, these various responses can come to light for both teacher and student.  The discussion can help students see that there are multiple interpretations and answers.  The discussion can help me fine-tune questions for later years. It also helps grade, because rather than collecting the discussion questions and marking five hundred comments on papers that students won't read anyway, they can gather meaning from the discussion.  I typically still collect the questions and give points on completion, which also allows students who are absent during a discussion complete work without creating more work for myself.

  You're Right. . . But That's Not What I Asked. . . Except It Is
  Student Communication: You're Right. . . But That's Not What I Asked. . . Except It Is
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Supporting Claims in Writing and Discussions

Unit 12: Novel Study: The Hunger Games
Lesson 8 of 21

Objective: Students will be able to support claims with concrete evidence and commentary by writing an argumentative paragraph and participating in fishbowl discussions.

Big Idea: In which students make meaning of literature through writing paragraphs and fishbowl discussions.

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