Friday, August 22, 2014

The Power of the Question

Wow,
The school year is upon us and I am very excited to get back to work.  I was not able to get as many work-related things done as I had hoped, but was able to do a little reflecting while lounging in the sweltering Houston heat.
The one thing I could not stop thinking about was how my students had struggled to come up with questions during our PBL unit last Spring.  I thought I had prepared them well for this activity, and we had discussed the importance of questioning the world around you.  (By the way, this is a great example of why failing is also so important, especially for us teachers.  When we fail we grow, and challenge ourselves.  Another revolution I guess)
But, my colleagues (the amazing Karen Justl&Shelby Acevedo) and I sat in agony while working with students. Many could only come up with closed-ended questions, surface level questions, or worse... the dreaded blank stare accompanied by NO QUESTION/S at all!!!!
Our minds were blown, and we all decided it was time to start thinking about the importance of questioning in the classroom.  After all, all great thinkers question the world around them , and aren't these what all educators strive to create?
So,  here I am sharing in the hopes that I can inspire others to lead a questioning revolution.  What might this look like you ask?  Well...I actually don't know.  This will be my first year to try and create one in my own class.  I teach 10th grade ELA, so it is a natural fit and easy to implement.
If you are wondering why we should start a revolution, then take a gander at this article. http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/03/why-its-imperative-to-teach-students-how-to-question-as-the-ultimate-survival-skill/

If it can't convince you, then I don't know what will.

The beauty of questioning is that relates to all content areas, and lends itself to a wonderful variety of activities.  If you aren't ready to tie it to all of your curriculum, then consider implementing it in a Makerspace or Genius Hour activity.

As for me, I consider questioning an integral part of literacy and will be teaching my students this. I will be using the Right Question Formulation Technique throughout the year with various texts/media.  The following link has everything you need to implement the strategy: http://rightquestion.org/


Let me know if you join in. I would love to hear what you are doing, and how it is going.
I will post regularly on our progress, and hope you all do the same.