I thought I had prepared a decent lesson. We looked at a "compare and contrast" open-ended question. I carefully reviewed what each term meant. The students seemed to get it.
Compare and contrast two categories of pure substances,One of my bouncy but bright students (think Tigger in Winnie the Pooh) screwed his face into an improbable knot of flesh.
and give two examples of each.
Um, do you know what "compare and contrast" mean?
He gave a reasonable answer.
So what's the problem?
"There's no question here."It's right here Tigger. See?
I read the question to him
"But there's no question!"
And then I realized what he meant--there was no question mark. And he was right--there was no question posed.
This is my third year--most of my students are not the bouncy fellas Tigger is, and most would have sat there in silence.
This is a humbling business.