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Questioning In The Classroom: Strategies That Work

We’re continuing our summer book study of the book Strategies That Work! I have learned so much about reading comprehension and have some great new ideas and strategies to implement in my class. Today we’re discussing chapter 8 which is all about the importance of questions and questioning in the classroom.

I feel that this chapter was an aha moment for me and I hope it was for you. Here’s why: when we think of questioning in the classroom, the expectations/focus in my district (and thus my classroom) has been on the questions I ask my students. Yes, these are important and necessary. But my big AHA moment is that we MUST be honoring students questions and providing students the space to ask questions so they can learn!

strategies that work

Questioning In The Classroom Key Takeaways

questioning in the classroom
questioning in the classroom

Questioning In In The Classroom: Essential Questions

The first thing that clicked for me as I read this chapter was the importance of reading with a question in mind. I immediately thought of essential questions. You know, those questions we’re supposed to display and discuss during our read aloud time. I will be 100% real. I never understood the point. Why post them? Especially if my kids can’t READ them. After reading this chapter on questions in the classroom, I definitely have changed my stance on this topic. Using these essential questions can help us weed out some of the clutter and focus on important learning. It’s also a way for us to focus learning on a particular skill or content.

As I was reading and thinking about the idea of essential questions two ideas popped into my mind. See, I want to better utilize essential questions and I want to display them but I want something EASY. That’s why I created this essential questions poster!

questioning in the classroom

My plan is to laminate this poster and add Velcro dots. When we start a new research project or Read It Up! creation, I will print and laminate the essential questions from those and put them on our poster. When we start the unit I will read the questions to the class. My hope is that these will spark some discussion and more questions from the kids. As we work through our Read It Up or research project, I will continue to refer back to the questions and repeat the questions to keep those fresh for us as we work so we are always reading with a question in mind.

using essential questions in kindergarten

Essential Questions: Questions Chart

Another idea that was sparked around essential questions was using the essential questions to create a class questions chart at the beginning of a research project. This would tie in with our schema maps. Since the author shares that all good questions come from background knowledge, having students share their schema should hopefully inspire lots of questions. The plan is to put an essential question on chart paper and have students generate and share the questions they have about a topic. Now we have student generated questions that we can work to answer as we complete a research project!

questioning in the classroom

Questioning In The Classroom: Other Ideas

A few other concrete ideas and takeaways from this chapter:

Show students the cover of a book and have them ask questions based on the cover. Record their questions and see if they’re answered during the read aloud.

Use more authentic questions and less assessment questions. Examples: “What makes you think that?” “Why do you say that?” Can you tell me more?”

For more information on our research projects and Read It Up creations, check out these posts:

Make sure to visit Abby at Kindergarten Chaos for her thoughts on this chapter! 

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