Adventures in Literacy Land: questioning

Showing posts with label questioning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label questioning. Show all posts

Wondering Aloud With Wordless Picture Books

Hello Royal Readers!

It is a quiet and reflective Jennifer from Stories and Songs in Second  here tonight to share a few ideas I've gleaned from the wise and innovative Tanny McGregor.  This post is shorter and more succinct than my usual, but writing it has helped remind me of the importance of talking less and listening more during my teaching.

About two months ago, my fellow Lit Land friends, Carla from Comprehension Connections and Em from Curious Firsties, recommended McGregor's creative, artifact-rich, anchor chart-driven, sensory-based thinking strategy lessons to me, and I have been reading her books with reverence ever since.

In Chapter 5 of Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading, McGregor reminds us that we must make our classrooms a safe place for children to be naturally curious.  That we must take the time to let them just wonder about stories and poems and songs.

That we must encourage them to turn and talk to each other, and carry on conversations that are full of questions about what they are going to read and experience, or what they have already read and experienced.  That we as teachers must stop doing all the asking, and encourage our students to formulate inquiries that begin with these words.....

  • How?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Can?
  • Is?
  • Does?
  • Could?
  • Would?
  • Who?
  • Whose?
  • Did?
  • What?
  • If?

Tomorrow, as suggested by McGregor,  I will dig out rolls of adding machine tape from my supply cupboard, and use them as never-ending "question scrolls" for my students to write on before, during, and after I share two of Molly Idle's wonderful, whimsical, and wordless picture books, Flora and the Flamingo and Flora and the Penguin.

We will "talk back" to the pages as I turn them, not raising our hands to be called on, but just wondering and observing out loud about these two stories, where unlikely friendships are revealed through delightful illustrations hidden behind pull-down and peek-a-boo paper flaps .

We will use our own voices to describe, explain, add words,  and wonder out loud.  We will link what we already know to what we've learned with thinking stems like......
  • I wonder...
  • What if...
  • How could....
  • But why....
We will cover a giant "Q" drawn on chart paper with Post-it notes that we've filled with questions we have about the characters and events in each story.   We will honor the fact that questions help us do three important things as readers....
  • Before reading, they make us open our minds about the text and want to dig deeper.
  • During reading, they help us understand the text.
  • After reading, they keep us thinking about what we've read and help us connect it to our lives, other books we've read, or the world.
We might even set some of the questions we generate to music, in the form of a piggyback song! Maybe we will write lyrics about Flora and her friends, and set them to the familiar tunes of
This Old Man.  Maybe we will snap or clap or dance or twirl or skate (in sock feet on sheets of wax paper across the carpet) while we sing.  Maybe our original composition will look and sound something like this (as set to the tune of  I've Been Working On The Railroad.  It will most certainly make a joyful noise!

I wonder what Flora's thinking,
as she skates across the ice!
Do you think that Flora's thinking
that the penguin will be nice?

Will he be a better skater?
Do you think he will be her friend?
Can she even really help him?
How will the story end?

If any part of this post has resonated with you, plan to invest some time and energy into incorporating McGregor's ideas into your own reading lessons!  You will find more helpful ideas and photos {HERE}.

You will also find a wonderful collection of other wordless picture books that can be used as mentor texts for questioning lessons {HERE}.  An article that features interviews with Molly Idle, author of the Flora series, and stresses how wordless picture books empower young children, can be found {HERE}.



Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend!  I spent part of the long weekend reading Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. I have a ton of thoughts running through my head now that I am finished.  I thought I would share two of them with you today to help me better understand what I have read.

Common Core Standards require students to closely read a variety of texts.  What does that mean exactly?  I have seen the posters everywhere on Pinterest and in the blogisphere that breaks close reading down to what you do each time you read the text (reading the text two to four times).  Many of those say that students should be annotating as they read.  My question has always been:  How are students supposed to know what they should be writing in the margins that is actually helpful in deeply understanding a text?  It seems too simple to just have them write a question mark next to a part where they have a question or an exclamation point next to something that was surprising.  If they are closely reading, there should be a transaction between the reader and the text.  Students should be thinking deeper about the questions they are having or why he or she finds the part surprising.  Beers and Probst give you six signposts that you can teach your students to help them dig deeper into the text and create meaning by transacting with the text at a deeper level.  What do you do to help your students dig deeper into a text without leading them to the meaning you derived from the text?

Another term that has risen to the top of discussion since the implementation of Common Core is 'text dependent questions."  In Notice & Note, the authors write, "We worry that a focus on text-dependent questions may create a nation of teacher-dependent kids...Text dependent questions usually suggest that a teacher has crafted the questions and the order of them to lead students to a predetermined meaning of a particular passage" (p. 43).   The authors suggest that teachers work with students to create their own text dependent questions.  They even provide a structure to help teachers do this with their students. (Clicking on the picture will bring you to Google Docs so you can download your own copy.)
I don't want my students to become dependent on me.  I want them to be independent readers.  Questions they create on their own are more engaging and authentic than any question I could ever write.  Students are trained that there is 'a right answer' when the teacher asks a question.  If I am the only one creating the questions, they will never fully engage in the text.

One sentence really stood out to me and I came back to it over and over again.

I would love to know:  What book has changed you?

 photo thinkingoutloudtitle.png

Generating Questions with a Question Creation Chart (Q-chart)

There is significant evidence that learning how to generate and answer questions while reading improves memory, integration and identification of main ideas, and overall comprehension.  Generating questions helps students make predictions about what they will learn from their reading, focus on the most important information, and read with greater purpose because they are looking for answers to their questions.
Generating questions, however, does not always come naturally to students.  Some students can generate simple who, what, where, when types of questions, but have difficulty generating the more complex "how and why" questions that require more critical thinking.  It is important for teachers to provide direct instruction, modeling, and significant guided practice in how to self-question while reading.  

A Question Creation Chart or Q-chart is a perfect tool to help students recognize and self-generate a continuum of questions ranging from simple "remember" questions through "understanding" and "evaluative" questions.  This chart is especially useful as it can be used with both literature and informational text. careful teacher modeling, students will use the Q-chart to formulate questions about the text they've read by selecting one word from the left-hand column of the chart (who, what, where, when, how, why) then selecting a word from the upper row (is, did, can would, will, might).  Students locate the square where the question will be recorded and write their "remember" or "evaluative" question. The further down and over to the right students move, the higher the level of critical thinking.  
It is important to note that this chart can be used before, during, or after reading the text!
Once students have generated several questions about the text they've read, it is important for the teacher to build in opportunities for student talk.  Using think/pair/share or other small groupings, students should share, compare, and discuss the questions they've generated.  As students are discussing their questions, the teacher can circulate the room and provide support as needed.
After student talk, the teacher should offer a final discussion on the importance of using questioning as a metacognitive strategy as a whole-class.  Some guiding prompts that can be used are:

  • Why is it important for a reader to ask questions and make predictions before reading a text?
  • Why do you think good readers ask questions as they are reading?
  • Why do good readers answer and generate questions after they've read a text?
  • Would anyone like to share a question from their Q-chart?
  • Does anyone have a question that wasn't answered in our reading?
We hope you enjoyed reading about how to generate questions using a Question Creation Chart.  You may begin using this effective strategy by downloading our FREEBIE.
**In order to give students sufficient space to record their questions, this chart must be printed on 11x17 Ledger paper.



Responding to Informational Text using the 3-2-1 Strategy!

Hello, friends!  We are Colleen and Stacy from The Rungs of Reading here to talk to you about an effective "After Reading" strategy for informational text called 3-2-1!  This strategy can be used in both primary and intermediate grades in whole-class, small group, or individual settings.  The 3-2-1 strategy is especially successful with struggling readers as it helps them comprehend, summarize, and retain information they've read.
The 3-2-1 strategy can be used with informational books, magazine articles, biographies, even websites!  Here are a few of our favorite books and websites we have used with this strategy!

After reading, exploring, and discussing an informational text or website, students actively engage with their reading by summarizing three important points from the text.  Summarizing requires the reader to focus on the major elements of the text and to determine what is important.  When students are selecting these important points, the teacher should guide students in choosing new facts and information they learned from the text (not prior knowledge).

After recording three new discoveries on their graphic organizers, students go back into their reading to choose two interesting facts.  At this point, the teacher should guide students in selecting facts and information that is unusual or exciting.  For example, "the baobab tree can reach the height of a five story building".  

Finally, students brainstorm and record one question they still have about the topic they read.  This is a good opportunity for students to share and discuss their questions with classmates in preparation of additional research.  Students complete the graphic organizer by drawing an interesting photograph, diagram, timeline, etc. that illustrates the topic they read about.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the 3-2-1 reading strategy!  Here is a little FREEBIE to get you started!  Depending upon the age and ability of your students, you may want to differentiate your expectations when having them complete the graphic organizer.  For example, younger students or struggling readers can be instructed to copy facts and information directly from the text.  Older or more capable students can be instructed to paraphrase or summarize information in their own words.  When initially modeling the strategy for students, you can explain which expectation you would like them to follow.
 3-2-1- Strategy Graphic Organizer


Read & Analyze Nonfiction Text with the Rungs of Reading!

Hello, Friends!  We hope you are enjoying the long weekend (for some of us, anyways) and are excited as we are about all of the wonderful ideas we have been reading about this past week!  We are incredibly grateful to be part of this dynamite group of literacy gurus!  
We are Colleen and Stacy from The Rungs of Reading.  After teaching special education for 13 years, I (Stacy) moved into the role of Elementary Reading Specialist at my K-5 school.  I have been teaching reading for five years and absolutely LOVE my job!  Colleen is working hard as a first-year second grade teacher after finishing her undergraduate degree in early elementary with a Master's in Reading.  The idea for our little blog began when Colleen was completing her reading practicum in my classroom.  She quickly introduced me to the world of teaching blogs, and I was hooked!       
Today we are going to share one of our favorite comprehension strategies that we use in our classrooms called "Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction Text" or RAN, for short.   
Now that the Common Core State Standards stress an equal balance of literature and informational text in the classroom, we have spent a considerable amount of time building our nonfiction libraries and revamping our lessons to include more informational text strategies.  RAN has proven to be an effective strategy to use with informational text as it encompasses both before, during, and after reading activities.  In addition, it requires students to use a variety of strategies including activating schema, confirming thinking, and asking questions.  Finally, this strategy can be done with teacher support in a whole-class or small group setting or independently while using a graphic organizer.
When using the RAN strategy, students begin by brainstorming what they think they know about a topic.  These ideas are written on individual post-its and placed in the first column of the chart or graphic organizer.  Here is an example of a RAN chart after brainstorming what my second grade students knew about the topic "climate".  I recorded their ideas and placed the post-its on the chart.
After brainstorming, students read the text for the first time.  When they find a confirmation in the text, that post-it is transferred into the second column of the chart or graphic organizer.  Here is our RAN chart after some initial thoughts were confirmed.  Notice that some of our ideas are missing!
After the first reading, students review the chart and attend to any misconceptions they might have had about the content.  These ideas are transferred to the fourth column of chart or graphic organizer.  At this time, students can revise their thinking and add their ideas to the "new learning" column of the chart or graphic organizer.
Finally, the strategy concludes by reading the text a second time then thinking about what questions the students still have about the content.  This is a perfect time to explain that sometimes our questions are not answered when reading a text and we have to do additional research to find answers.
We hope you enjoyed reading about one of our favorite strategies to use when teaching informational text.  Here is a little FREEBIE to help you out when using the RAN strategy!
 Reading & Analyzing Nonfiction Text

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