Oh those precocious 5th period students! We were starting to take some notes on our stage map and someone asked, “Ms. Rillingale, why do we have to answer all these questions?”
Perhaps some context is in order, first of all. Research says that people learn best if teachers stick to the 10/2/2 method.
- 10 minutes of teacher talk [no more than 10 minutes straight]
- 2 minutes to actively process [write, think, reflect]
- 2 minutes to talk about it [not your weekend plans, but the actual content…]
Other research indicates that English Learners [comprising a considerable percentage at our school], typically speak aloud less than 90 seconds per class. I do my students a considerable disservice if I don’t allow them to talk about the content in a structured manner that allows them to make sense of what they are learning [writing down, taking notes on, scribbling like lightning to catch up].
Back to the questions. A typical slide with questions I use looks like this, using sentence frames. Different from the cloze format, sentence frames allow for more than one right answer. Students write the frames down completely, rehearse them with a partner and then will be called upon in class. They are accessing the information and using the content vocabulary. No more one word answers. Students are speaking in complete sentences and sounding like the rock stars they truly are.
Short answer [I gave a modified long version to 5th period]: it helps students access the content.