What Makes You Say That?

A teacher asks questions all day, but are those questions effective?  Do you, as a teacher, routinely dig deeper into student thinking?


The simple question "What makes you say that?" is packed with power and purpose.  In their book, Making Thinking Visible, Ritchhart, Church and Morrison explain that "the What Makes You Say That? routine helps students identify the basis for their thinking by asking them to elaborate on the thinking that lies behind their responses. ... Seemingly simple on the surface, this routine, when used as a regular part of classroom discourse, goes a long way toward fostering a disposition toward evidential reasoning" (p. 165). 


Dr. Eric Mazur, professor of Physics at Harvard University, stated in an interview, "students may forget facts, but they cannot forget understanding."   What routine questions do you ask in your classroom to help students build understanding?