Thursday, August 25, 2011

THURSDAY TIP: Managing Questions!

You're a teacher.  You know how it is. You plan a great lesson.  You're teaching said great lesson.  Your students are attentive and lively and learning lots. Then a student raises their hand.  You call on them because they have a lovely smile on their face.  (They MUST have something profound and interesting to say!) And they do.

"When's lunch?" 


I know--it happens daily!!  So how do you help to control it?!  Well, kids will be kids. They will always ask when lunch is, even if it's 9 am. They will always interrupt your Author's Purpose lesson to inquire about a bathroom trip.  And they'll always stop your Read Aloud to alert you that there's a staple on the floor.

In order to assist with everyday chaos control, I use the palm vs. fist strategy in my classroom.  When I'm teaching a lesson, if a student has a statement OR a response to my question, they raise their hand.
Notice question in sea of answers!

If they have a QUESTION (of. any. kind.), they raise a fist.

I ALWAYS go to questions last because it helps to control the flow of the lesson.  (Plus the question may be answered by the time I'm done.)  Also, if it's a non-related question, it doesn't interrupt the "meat" of the lesson.

This technique also requires student metacognition. They have to first decide if what they have to say is a statement or a question.  During the beginning of the year, you will have LOTS of "jerky arms" and scrunched up foreheads as they figure this out. (Hey, I get my fun in when I can. :D)

But that's not all!  Because kids are "naturally curious," I also use this in my classroom.
Meet Perpetually Pondering Pig. 
Perpetually Pondering Pig (or P.P.P, for short) is a fun little tool that I use in my classroom!  He is, essentially, a question jar.  Any of those RANDOM questions that students LOVE to ask while you're teaching go inside of P.P.P.  He can also be used as a great motivator for students who need a little confidence boost when they're working on an extra hard task.  Sometimes I just set him on the corner of their desk (he IS Perpetually Pondering after all).  Whenever we get some free time (we all know how often that is), I pull the questions out and answer them...assuming that a) I can and 2) they're appropriate!

I'd LOVE to know how others help to control the questioning chaos in THEIR rooms!

1 comment:

  1. I deal with those kind of questions with a "Park Your Question Here" poster. The black poster has white lines to look like a parking lot and a toy car that was hot glued into a space. Those questions get written onto post it notes and placed on the poster. I answer them periodically.