Let’s Ask and Answer Questions with Literature!

Happy Sunday friends! I am currently sitting on my deck in beautiful, sunny day in a TANK TOP!!! WHAT?!?!?! At the beginning of April in the PNW???? Unheard of! But it’s happening and I love it! I’m pretty sure every Monday would be easier if every Sunday was like today!

Today, I would like to share with you how I teach questioning with literature. Our grade has a huge push for non fiction in the fall. During that time, I teach questioning with informational text. However, in the spring time we get to move to questioning with literature, and I think it is my favorite!!

We always start with The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg. Seriously, have you read it??? If not, you need to get out your Amazon app and order it! I promise you will not be disappointed! Okay…no guarantees…you might be. But it is seriously good for questioning.

I always start pretty slow with questioning. Many of the kiddos seem to struggle just with asking questions! <— Insert palm to head here. We have been working on it A.L.L. Y.E.A.R! But, nonetheless, they still struggle. So, that’s what we start with. We only focus on asking questions. What is a question? Why do we ask questions? We pull knowledge from when we did questioning with non fiction text…you know back when they knew what a question was…

The kiddos work in partners to brainstorm what they know about asking questions. They write their thinking on a sticky and add it to the poster. I like to have this bit of movement time, them getting up and working with a partner, at the beginning of the lesson because The Stranger is a little lengthy and brings up A LOT of questions, which means they are going to be sitting a while. We discuss our thinking, and add stickies with any new thinking from our discussion. Then we move to the text. I give each student a sticky note so that they can write a question during the story. As we read the story, I model asking questions, which of course they try and answer, but I don’t let them. Then we add our sticky notes to a poster…which I forgot to take a picture of:( It says “We can ask questions about the text.” at the top and then the title of the book. We post our questions. Then below that, on the same poster, I write “I think the stranger is…” and give the kiddos ANOTHER sticky. I love sticky notes:) Then, the kiddos write their prediction.

This year I got a lot of magician guesses:)

That’s the end of the first day. I know…A LOT…but I have found that they do better when I do it all one lesson, instead of trying to break it up over a few days.

The next day, we move on to answering our questions. I pick three and put them on the anchor. I copy all the pages of the book and the kiddos work together to find and highlight evidence to support their answers.

Now, they will all try and convince me of their answer, even if it’s not in the text. Every year I say “how do you know?” so much I feel like a 2-year old who constantly asks “why?” I have found that actually giving them a page of the book and saying “prove it,” clicks with them a little more. That’s not to say we don’t using our background knowledge and inferencing to answer some questions, but for this lessons purpose, we rely heavily on the book.

Now that we have practiced asking and answering questions, we are ready to use a graphic organizer to help us clear up our thoughts. For this purpose, we only focus on one question. That way we aren’t so overwhelmed with a bunch of questions that we don’t even know where to start to answer them.  For this, we use a question web. We have used this exact format before, when we worked on information questioning. So, they are very familiar which allows us to move a little more swiftly though using and understanding it with literature.

I read the kiddos An Angel For Solomon Singer, another gem of a book in my opinion! As I read it the first time, they write their questions on….you guessed it! A sticky! After we are done we go through our questions to pick one to put on our web. At this time, I talk with the kiddos about choosing a question that they could possibly find the answer too. We choose a question and then the kiddos add it to their question webs…which I have already given them to save time. I read the book to them again…this time they are listening for the answer to the question. As I’m reading, they are working on their webs. Then when I am finished, they work with a partner to try and complete their web.

We come back together as a group and complete our web together:) 
This is a pretty slow start, but it gives them a good foundation to asking and answering their questions. 
This week, we are continuing with questioning. We are going to read The Wretched Stone and Grandfather Twilight. The kiddos will focus on completing the webs both with partners and on their own. I am also adding some blank webs to our comprehension station so that they can practice on their own. Once they start, the become questioning fanatics!!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week! If you are blessed with spring break this week, I hope you get lots of rest! If you are like me and have one more week, I hope you week goes quickly:) 

1 Comment

  1. Susan Little
    December 4, 2018 / 9:12 am

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