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Monday, January 16, 2012


Asking questions as we kids were shocked to discover we are questioning all the time.  Questioning can be seen as scary.  How often has an inquisitive 5-year-old been told to "Stop!" or "Be quiet" when they are on a "How come?" rant.  Kids don't easily forget all the times they were shut down when they were knee deep in those never-ending questions!

As so it goes.  Kids go to school and answer lots of questions, but when and what do they ask?  I think that's where this strategy comes in to play!  We begin by showing our kids that they are generating questions all the time whenever they are reading.  Every time a child struggles to put down a good book they are questioning, "What will happen next?"  It's hard to put down a great book when you don't know the answer and you have to find out the answer!

Questions in reading?  Begin by teaching your students that they should be asking questions, all the time.  Let's help build their curiosity as readers and thinkers!  Second, sometimes the best questions have no answers.  These are questions that encourage us to think deeply about life and the world around us.  These are questions to ponder.   Third, although I don't require my students to record their thinking about this strategy all the time, I do talk with them often.  I like to find out what they think, what they wonder, what they disagree with, and what they want to do next.

Tanny McGregor introduces this strategy with a great sensory experience, holding and asking questions about a rock.  It's a great idea!  When I read her idea for the first time, I thought of a social studies strategy I'd learned from a education professor parent a few years ago.  Are you doing Artifact Analysis in your social studies classes?  If not, stop reading this and go here instead:  Artifact Analysis has transformed my teaching in social studies!  We use this idea to study specimens, objects, etc., all related to a particular time in history.  There are many options for document analysis and artifact analysis on the National Archives website.

Studying the rock and asking questions is a lot like the artifact analysis, it's document analysis or artifact analysis for reading!  She also suggests bringing in an unusual food, such as quinoa, for students to question and eventually try.  I would recommend bringing in sardines!  All of these concrete experiences get kids thinking about questions!

Questions:  get kids to wonder, question, express uncertainty or confusion, ask what if...  Work with kids on artifact analysis, the work they do will translate into other academic disciplines!

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