Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Generating Questions

Students will generate questions.
Was anyone else worried about this Common Core standard?  Well, I was!  I think that I ask pretty good questions and my students usually give pretty good answers!  My students can even tell you if a question is a Right There question or an Author and Me question.   I mean, I teach the enrichment group, I ask them enriching questions and they give enriching answers:-).  But, have the students ask the questions?  First of all, I am the teacher, I ask the questions!  Second of all, they DO NOT understand what a question is.  You know what I am talking about.  During a lesson, on a field trip, when we have an assembly or guest and the students are asked, "Do you have any questions?"  They ALWAYS tell a STORY!!!

So, yes, I was a little worried.  Okay, a lot worried.  It is what I chose for my DP.... DPP...IPDP....that professional goal thing I chose to work on during the school year!
I have been modeling asking questions before, during and after reading all school year.  After Winter Break, I started handing the questioning over to the students.  Guess what?  They ROCKED it!

Here is what we did.
We made an anchor chart with question words.
I kept using "I wonder" as a stem.  This REALLY helped them generate question words!
Next I showed them the cover of The Hat by Jan Brett.  (We were in the middle of a Jan Brett author study.)  We came up with some questions.   Then I read the story.  I had the students raise their hands if they figured out an answer to one of our "before" questions or came up with new questions.  I wrote down any new questions.  At the end of the story we came up with some more questions.
The next day I showed the cover of Hedgie's Surprise.  This time I gave each student a sticky note and they had to write their own Before Question.  Most of them came up with some REALLY good questions.  They placed their stickies under Before.  Sorry, I don't have a picture of the poster!  We continued this activity with several other Jan Brett stories, focusing on the Before and During questions.  In the next few weeks we will be working on using deeper level questions and what to do if our question is not answered in the story.  And we are going to try this with non-fiction!

Beware of the word If!  They think it is a question word.  I let them use it at the beginning, but am now guiding them to choose a question word that can take its place!  (Notice it is on our anchor chart, but has a * by it!)

Moral of the story....first and second graders CAN generate questions while reading literature!  Several times this year, I have stepped back and given more responsibility to the students.  I admit that this is not easy for me, but every single time I have "given up control" I have been impressed with what they do and the discussions they have on their own!

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