Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Asking questions

While Mel talks about read aloud being at the heart of literacy in the classroom, I know that she would agree that questions are another crucial component in our room and read aloud offers many opportunities for us to engage students with open-ended questions. For examples, Mel may stop reading or I may interrupt her to ask the students why they think a character behaved in a certain way or what they think is going to happen with a particular situation in a book. As teachers, we practice this skill and we have coached each other over the last two years, sometimes even interrupting each other to ask a question in a slightly different way in order to avoid a yes or no question. That being said, an important part of our teaching this year has been to include our students in this practice. Now, our students are able to recognize yes and no questions and they challenge each other to re-word questions. They recognize that when they begin a question with “do” or “are”, they will probably be on their way to a yes or no question. Mel offers opportunities during read-aloud for students to turn and talk about questions she poses. We both circulate and we frequently honor students who push each other’s thinking with open-ended questions. Communication, collaboration, and critical thinking are important skills for our students to develop and teaching students the power behind good questions helps them build these thinking skills. 

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