Blog Literacy

Tell Me Questions

One of my ‘go to’ thinking skills and discussion tools is a PPSS grid.

Puzzles, Patterns, Similarities and Surprises.

It is adapted from ‘Tell Me’, the seminal book about reading and book talk written by Aidan Chambers. The original analysis grid has Likes, Dislikes, Puzzles and Patterns.

I find it a simple yet powerful way in engaging the pupils in dialogue about books, short films, writing, self / peer assessment and why they pushed Jamie into the plant pot at lunchtime. Anything at all, really.

What puzzled you about the… ? (what do you not get?)
What patterns did you notice… ? (connections between characters, setting, music, colours, camera shots, phrases, themes)
What similarities can you find… ? (other books, films, animations, TV programmes, computer games, real life experiences)
What surprised you… ? (What happened that you were not expecting?)

The Tell Me approach extends these basic question to general questions and then special questions. There is a good one page summary here.

But I prefer and find it hard to leave the simplicity of the 4 part grid, which you or the pupils can alter and adapt, depending on the focus of the lesson and the discussion.

By Athole McLauchlan

Dad / primary teacher / literacy / technologies / outdoor learning / M.Ed student / #MIEExpert / #AppleTeacher / #ScotEdChat / #hatecelery /#rubbishatcartwheels

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