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The Answers Depend on the Questions You Ask

The answers depend on the questions you ask. What a simple and provocative statement! When we worry about students who don't seem to be making progress we often start by asking questions such as these:

--Why can't F. retell simple stories?
--Why does F. get a blank look on her face when you ask her a simple question?
--Why does F. sometimes seem to know what's going on and at other times, she hasn't a clue?

I could go one and on in this same vein but I don't think it's necessary since you may have already noticed that all these questions are phrased negatively - what D. can't do. They all operate from weaknesses and deficits. The answers will only lead me to more cant's and probably even some "wont's".

If, on the other hand, I explore what D. can do, and what her interests seem to be I might be able to use her strengths and interests to help her improve her ability to listen and attend so that she can learn more and better. I noticed that F. likes to draw. Often, though, her drawings are simple and feminine in nature. How can I start with something she's already doing and enjoys to get F. to think, write, and read on a deeper level?
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I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!