Sunday, February 20, 2011

Asking Questions

Donna and Wendy have been working hard to support students with their reading comprehension, working through key skills and strategies that are necessary for their Grade 1 and 2 students, connected to the curriculum.  They have spent a lot of time working on retelling with them and have now moved into exploring the comprehension strategy of questioning.  

They decided to use Wangari's Trees of Peace to launch into some work around questioning, which then led into a number sense lesson in math.  The focus for this lesson was having students understand the difference between thick and thin questions (see posters below) before moving into using the Q-Chart, to investigate the types of questions that add to their understanding of a text.  The key question to keep in mind is always, "how does this strategy of questioning, or this exact question, help me better understand the text?"  Using a story that is rich and meaningful is always important so that students are engaged in the learning.
While immersed in the read aloud, Donna stopped several times to share her thoughts about the story.  She also stopped to have the students turn to their elbow partner to share the questions they had in their heads.  Here are a few of the questions shared:
In the story, Wangari is sent to jail for standing up to officials to save the trees and help the environment.  At this point in the story, Donna had students think about questions they had and gave each one a sticky note to write it on.  Students found a quiet spot to think and jot their question down, and handed it to Donna or Wendy when finished.  Questions were collected and shared with the large group and compiled on a piece of chart paper to read and discuss at a later time.
In order to support their students with this reading strategy, Wendy and Donna have created a space to post questions from read alouds and remind students about what they need to think about when reading.  They have a class Q-Chart to help facilitate their work with deeper questions as well as a Bloom's Questioning chart, to ensure that they are also asking higher-level questions.  
For more information about Q-Charts, and how to use them with your class, please visit the following websites:

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