Questioning…Teaching Students To Think Deeply

Hey friends! Lindsey here. I am taking a break from my house cleaning duties, which I’m so bummed about…she says sarcastically, to share with you our week of questioning work.

I love teaching questioning. I love to see the kiddos start to take their questions and really think about them. Getting them beyond the less thinking “who is the main character?” questions and into questions that cause them to really think.

I always start questioning with How Many Days to America? by Eve Bunting. We are specifically learning about how to question with informational text but I always start questioning with this book because it is SO GOOD! It really gets the kiddos asking questions. They have so many questions about what is happening and why.We focus on asking questions first which is why this book lends itself so well to this task.

We read the book together and as we are reading I model for the kiddos asking questions. Of course, they all start trying to answer my questions. Great! I love that! I know they are listening and thinking when they do that. BUT…we aren’t ready for that yet. We read the text and ask all our questions.

That’s it. That’s all we do on day one. I know…it doesn’t seem like a lot BUT they all want to know the answers! It kills them!

“Can we read it again?”

“I think I know the answer!”

“Can I read it and try to answer the questions?”

Hello engagement! They are hooked!!!

Day two, we start thinking about why we ask questions.

Then we read through our questions and we sort them based on their key words, who, what, when, where, why and how.

We choose one question from our chart and work to find the answer. For How Many Days to America? that is exactly the question we picked. How long were they traveling? I always teach the kiddos that they have to read the book AT LEAST TWICE. The first time they ask the questions and the second time they work on finding the answers. As a class, we work on filling out a question web, see the picture below. It took us three reads to figure out how many days they traveled, but boy, were they excited when they found it!

Now we start focusing on how we answer questions. What are the tools we use? What do we do if we have no idea?

Now, we are ready to move onto an informational text. I love Deep Sea Creatures by Elizabeth Bennett because it is just fascinating to them. Plus, it also has submersibles in it and they always make a connection to the Magic Tree House book Dolphins at Daybreak. We follow the same process with the reading this text. This time the kiddos work together to complete our question web.

I was really proud of the way they dove into this question. They were talking about bath toys and the power poles and wires and all sorts of stuff to try and answer the question of how the robots can go under the water. This was a great question too because the answer wasn’t in the book.  By the end of the week MOST, not all because some just aren’t there yet, were asking some pretty deep questions.

We took our first questioning assessment on Friday but of course, I forget them at school so I haven’t had a chance to look through them.

As we work our way through next week we will really be digging into asking “thick” questions and working more on our strategies to find answers when they aren’t in the text.

I’m off to finish up my chores but the thought of having a day off mid-week for Veteran’s Day sure is wrecking my motivation! Enter my creeping procrastination…I mean really if I don’t get ALL the laundry done I can catch up on Wednesday…right?  🙂

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