Tag Archives: HOTS

When D.G., (The 10-Sided Dice) Presents Examples of Using Examples…

Why didn’t you mention me?

In theory, visualising a difficult concept is supposed to make it easier for the students to grasp it.

Naturally, achieving the desired outcome depends on visualising the material in a manner the students can relate to.

Many of my Deaf and hard of hearing students adolescent students have a lot of trouble answering questions constructed as “What is _______ an example of?” / “Why is __________ mentioned in the text?”

As in the following example:

Yossi got many gifts for his birthday. He got some books, three shirts and a helmet for his motorcycle.

What is a helmet an example of?

Some of my students would think the correct answer was:

“A helmet is an example of something you put on your head” or ” “…something you use for your motorcycle”

Yet the correct answer is:

“A helmet is an example of a gift Yossi got for his birthday”.

The students need to answer such questions on their final exams.


There has to be more than one way…
Naomi’s Photos

Till now I began by practicing such question types with the students in their mother tongue first, since understanding the question format itself and the thinking process required, is crucial.

Then we practiced answering sample questions in English. Here’s a downloadable worksheet I use.


All of this helped, it really did.

But not enough.

Some students still have difficulties in answering such questions correctly.

I wondered if visualising the issue in the context of a simple story would help the students, in addition to what we are already doing.

And so, the story of D.G., an angry 10 sided dice who doesn’t want to be called by his full name (Decagon), was born. When D.G. introduces us to his family, he presents us with many examples of such structures in context. He feels forgotten since no one seems to mention him…

Since a tale about a family of dice is so completely unconnected to a specific culture or age group, I believe the characters could be easily used with a wide variety of students.

Only time will tell whether the presentation will have the desired impact.

But in any case, brilliantly colored multi-sided dice are pretty cool, don’t you think?

You can download the presentation by clicking here:

Why didn’t you mention me

Note: This slideshow contains animated effects. My attempts at having the slideshow embedded in the blog while presenting all elements were, sadly, unsuccesful.



Name One Surprising Thing

I’m teaching the poem “Count That Day Lost by George Elliot to some of my high-school students at the moment. The English literature curriculum I’m following dictates teaching the “Higher Order Thinking Skill” (HOTS) known as  “comparing and contrasting” when teaching this poem. Since the weaker students needed the concept “hammered home”, I prepared two versions of an exercise comparing the following two pictures. For the more advanced students I included a review of the previously taught thinking skill of inference.

Photo by Gil Epshtein
Photo by Gil Epshtein

One thing that surprised me was that the following question turned out to be the hardest one:

“Name one surprising thing about the man in this picture? (hint – how old do you think the man is? What is in his hand?)”

It’s not that the students didn’t notice what was surprising about the man in the photo. In fact they immediately commented on how strange it was to see an elderly man with a cane walking with a big hikers backpack, before reading the questions. But many of them had trouble answering the question properly. I think the hints actually threw them off. A common answer was:

“The surprising thing is that the man is old” (“old” was mostly defined by the students as being between 40 -50 years old!). I had to emphasize that seeing someone who is not young is not surprising, it is only surprising when we compare it to what we expect. To do that we must include another detail  – he is old but has a  heavy hikers backpack. They were quite surprised by that! They thought it was obvious, no need to state it. One can see that in the picture, right?

It was an interesting discussion.

Here is the more difficult worksheet:

Travellers Skills 5

Here is the easier version:

Travellers Skills 4



Simon’s Cat & HOTS

Photo by Omri Epstein

This is the first of my new batch of exercises as part of my Reading Pictures Strategy for  improving the reading comprehension skills of struggling learners.

What is different about this new batch is that I’ve placed more emphasis on the HOTS (higher order thinking skills) which is now a major issue in high-schools.

I’ve added a category and a tag called “HOTS” to make these exercises easy to locate. In addition, they can also be downloaded from the blog page titled “Downloadable Goodies!”

The Simon’s Cat short videos are perfect for discussing the skill of “identifying patterns of behavior”. This cat most certainly exhibits clear patterns of behavior!

Here is the worksheet. You are welcome to adapt it to suit your needs. I would be delighted to hear what you do with it!

Simon’s Cat