Guiding attention: That is such a great question!

Context: Grade 5, human body study, whole classroom “metacognitive meeting” about how digestion works.

S1: What’s the difference between saliva and water?
S2: The saliva has enzymes in it, that’s the chemical break-down. Those break down your food in your mouth, which turns into chyme.
Teacher: That is such a great question! Did you guys hear what he asked here? What’s the difference between water and saliva?  Saliva is a little bit different because it has what?
S2: Enzymes, which break it (food) down into chyme. If you don’t have saliva, … let say crackers, just be dry, it will be hard to swallow… It will be hard to digest. 

In this example, the teacher listened to students’ conversation attentively. She captured an interesting question from S1 and the response from S2, involving an important concept: enzymes. The teacher highlighted S1’s question: “That is such a great question! Did you guys hear what he asked here?” And she repeated S1’s question, and further asked S2 to reiterate his response by saying: “Saliva is a little bit different because it has what?”  Doing so helped to guide students’ attention in classroom meetings and highlight important questions and ideas for shared awareness as well as continual build-on.

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