Monday, March 6, 2017

Launch Week 5: Ask Tons of Questions

How do you encourage your students to "ask as many questions as they answer"? (Spencer, Juliani 97)  How do you teach your students to ask better questions? Are you trying to ask more questions in your role as teacher?

Next week we will read and discuss chapter 6, "Understanding the Information."

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141 comments:


  1. Teaching students to ask better questions implies they have confidence to communicate what they are thinking. What I will take from this chapter and maybe from this book was this: “Although not every child is gifted, every child has gifts, “ (Spencer, Juliani). In addition to giving students freedom to think, they need an environment that is safe to speak. This means building a healthy class atmosphere: a challenge at the middle school level. I was also inspired by Scott Barry Kaufman’s story: there are links to his blog and much of his work on thelaunchcycle.com . We have an opportunity to let all students know that they can choose to make a difference in their class, their school, our world. From time to time I hang a poster on my door which says “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” (attributed to Bill Nye). Convincing students that they can make a contribution is at the heart of bringing questions out of them.

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    1. Tammy I think your point on giving students the freedom to think, they need an environment that is safe to speak. I know from my personal experience students will only learn in a place where they feel safe. If you don't set up this enviroment then a student will never take risks or ask questions. I think this is so true in helping to set up a safe classroom where students can ask and answer a ton of questions.

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    2. Tammy, Like you I have inspirational posters hanging around my room so students stop and think about what they say. I have 2 favorites, one by Albert Einstein that says, "You never fail until you stop trying," and the other says "Life is about making mistakes and learning from them." My students have made more comments on these 2 posters than many of the others I have hanging up. I too believe that you have to give students a safe environment to be able to ask questions and to let them know, it doesn't matter what they ask.. NO question is to stupid. I always tell the person who says that, that I'm sure someone else was thinking that same question, just didn't have the nerve to ask like you. Great job!

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    3. This is beautiful. YES!! How do we inspire kids with the confidence to ASK?! May we all strive to create environments in which kids feel safe to ask questions.

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    4. I LOVE this! A safe environment...a place that kiddos feel comfortable to answer or ask a question no matter what it may be! When I was thinking of the type of teacher that would fit my son well as he was entering kinder...it was just that...I wanted a teacher that made him feel safe...a teacher that he was ready to ask or answer anything! The power of feeling comfortable in the classroom is amazing!

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    5. I also love what you said about a safe environment. I love when students tell me they love coming into my room because it feels good. I love your door poster and think it says it all! I feel like I encourage questions but need to work on asking better questions. I will try to follow an example in the book and open the topic to all questions and then look back and get students to narrow them down.

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    6. I, too, get the comment about my room feeling safe or good. I agree that feeling safe fosters the confidence to ask questions, and then more questions, and then more. I also really hit on the idea that we all have to feel really confident to ask questions, for fear of feeling less than. I believe that sharing our own questions (Spencer & Juliani) does infect the whole classroom. Showing my students that I am a curious person who is not afraid to say "I don't know the answer, but I know how to find it" shows them that being curious and being "dumb" are not the same thing.

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    7. One of my many weekly tasks is to teach math skill to approx 20 second grade students who lack confidence in their ability to learn math skills. In addition to practicing math skills, we practice math talk. If a student offers an answer in a whisper or questioning tone, right or wrong, We practice saying it with confidence, like we mean it. Students raise their hand to show agreement and the student is asked to look around the room to see the support. Right or wrong, students are asked to explain their answer. Other students are given the opportunity to either support the speaker or offer evidence in opposition. We do not laugh at one another. We build each other up. From our first day together, by show of hands we agreed that each of us is challenged by math. We agreed we were among friends not math experts. We agreed to treat one another with respect. We agreed to do our best to help each other learn. Recently, a student raised his hand to explain a strategy. Of his own choosing, he stood walked to the board and began speaking with authority. Another student asked a question about the strategy. Without hesitation the student at the board raised his hand towards me motioning me to stop. He then said I got this. He went on to answer the question helping a struggling student learn. This same young man barely spoke when he first arrived in my class. Creating a safe environment is instrumental to learning. Thank you for bringing into the conversation the implication of confidence as a prerequisite to communication.

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    8. I live with the probably old school philosophy that there isn't a stupid question. If a student wants to know something I want them to feel safe and comfortable with asking. I agree with you and feel this creates a positive learning environment where students do feel safe and don't feel dumb. If they do ask a "silly" question I try to help them think about what they are asking and elaborate and that usually leads to more productive questions.

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  2. In the second grade classroom, I feel like questions were all around. The kids at that age are naturally curious. There are questions in the library too. I've found that all grade levels LOVE to be read to. After a read a couple of chapters and close the book so we can do something else, it's a sigh followed by,"NO! Don't stop!" At that point I encourage them to talk about the book. I enjoy hearing their questions about characters and plot. They often think of questions I was not at all thinking of. I love the idea of putting up an answer on a chart paper and giving the students post-it notes to put up questions they think go with that answer. For example, put up the words "March" on a chart paper and give the students time to think what the questions could be. Students might write what is the thrid month? What month starts with the letter M? What is my birthday month?
    Now that I'm aware of allowing kids to think of their own questions I see myself running my day a little differently.

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    1. Kristie I love the idea of posting an answer and have students try and figure out what the question is! This is something quick and easy to do!

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    2. What a great idea for lower levels, but I can see it working for high school students too.

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    3. I can see this working for middle and high school students. I love this idea!

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    4. Posting an answer is a great idea! Even a great transition or check in/out activity, or extra time filler just to get kids thinking. I also agree that the younger students have a much easier time wondering, than older. Great ideas!

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    5. Love this idea and will use it today when we talk about MyPlate! Thank you!

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    6. This is so true! My 3rd graders absolutely love to be read aloud to! They have gone through the most chapter books any of my classes have done, yet!

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    7. Love the idea of having the kids think about what a question might be to a posted answer. I have so many students that are worried about having the "right" answer and not wanting to go deeper with their thinking that I can see that exploring many possible questions over a period of time would help them to overcome their need for instant gratification.

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    8. I love this idea!!! I can use this with my first grade students. Many are shy about answering questions so this is a great spin. I think it will really get them thinking, talking, and involved.

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    9. I think that is a great idea! I agree students are naturally curious. I always try to start a new unit with a KWL chart and always encourage students to think of as many questions they may have. I like the idea of beginning each month with questions though.

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    10. I love the idea of putting the answer up and having them come up with the question. I am thinking at the secondary level the idea could go a big further. With cooperative learning groups, after presentations the students could give the answers and the rest of the class could give the questions. This could be a way to follow up if others were learning.

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    11. I'm so glad you all like the idea of presenting the kids with the answer first. I hope it goes well!

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  3. To let my students as many questions as they answer I have a "Wonder Wall" in my room. I set this up because it is hard to answer every question a student might have. Sometimes the question they are asking is at an inappropriate time. During the school day if students have a question they can go write it up without interruption. It could be something about the book we are reading aloud or something we're learning in social studies. For myself, I often just answer these questions and then erase them, but after reading thus far into the book I feel that although I'm using this "Wonder Wall" I'm not using it wisely. Looking back there are many of times that I could have dug deeper into questions and let my students explore.

    I think the other main point I took away is, "How can I ask more questions so that my students ask more questions?" I think that as a teacher I model a lot. I model appropriate behavior, how to think through text, etc. I believe that if I model to question everything about the world around me then my students will do the same. I loved how on rule #5 entitled "Practice Often" they practice interviews, press conferences, and discussion zones. In reality this is a great way to get your year set up correctly and how you want it to go. In reading through these strategies, I realize that implementing these things in my classroom will only help not only the wonder, questions, and project based learning, but also everything else like our book clubs and small group work.

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    1. I love the idea of your Wonder Wall. I love that you let students go and put questions up there that they may be thinking about whether it goes with what you are doing or not. I like how you have now decided to add to it by going further in depth with the questions. GOOD LUCK!

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    2. I too, love your wonder wall! It's a fabulous idea to "get inside the mods of your students", to know what they are thinking and how you can teach them or reach them in a better way!

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    3. Are students able to respond to others on the Wonder Wall? This is an interesting idea.

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    4. I am thinking about creating a Wonder Wall in my library. I am thinking about allowing students to respond to the questions posted on the wall. This sounds like a great idea to me.

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    5. I love your idea of a Wonder Wall. I used to have a "Parking Lot" board in my room and students would use sticky notes to leave questions, or tell me things they struggled with, and even positive comments. I have not had it up the last few years and reading this chapter makes me think I should put it up again but tweek what I used to do with it. I am also in charge of our MS youth group and I think a Wonder Wall would be good for them to ask questions on that they are wondering about but embarrassed to ask.

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    6. What a great idea! The authors suggested a wonder day, which sounds more difficult for me to use with all of my students since I teach both middle & high school. The wonder wall can still serve as the springboard for asking questions, but students write the questions as they occur, not when I tell them to think. Love this!!

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    7. I am curious about this wonder wall and think that this would work well in my room. I might also include a comment section within the wonder wall. Allowing the students to respond to the wonders of their classmates, perhaps giving them advice, answers, sparking more curiosity, who knows!

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    8. I love the idea of a wonderwall. There are so many questions I can se my students putting on the wall. I agree, we as teachers are naturally busy and do not have enough time to answer every question. In the older grades, I would encourage students to research a question, find the answer, and report it back to the class.

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    9. The 'wonderwall' concept sounds very similar to the discussion boards I've been using on CANVAS. I encourage them to post questions and comments regarding what we are doing at that time. I still have a way to go reach full engagement for many students.

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  4. This is a subject is near and dear to my heart. I realize that there are children who do not want to speak in front of the class. That is OK with me! I do not like making anyone feel uncomfortable or pointing anyone out. Rather, I find out what drives them. By bringing subjects that are of interest to them into the classroom they tend to engage a lot more in conversation with the rest of the class. I am not much for raising hands and yes, my classroom does get a little loud at times. Kids get passionate about what we are talking about. I often times play devil's advocate it in order to illicit emotional responses. I ask very open ended questions in which there are no correct answers to. This way opinions can be formulated by students and are expressed equally. I never let them know of my personal opinions. This tends to drive them crazy with questions for me. They tell me often that I am incredibly aggravating! I also will hold debates in my class. This is not to make students oppose one another but rather to teach them that people have different opinions on many many subjects. They learn to respect one another and not attack one another but to have intelligent conversations. I love hearing them talking about these debates in the hallway after class has ended or in between passing periods. I feel like that if a child leaves my class and continues talking about the subjects we were on then I have scored major points.

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    1. I agree that speaking puts fear in many. Some come alive when they can write: a glance at social media, as well as this blog, proves that. Giving students a way to express themselves to others without speaking has been a great benefit of 1:1 device availability. Connecting students with Padlet, Google features, or responding on an LMS provides a safer, less intimidating way to post ideas for others to view and likewise respond in a courteous way.

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    2. Justin you and I think a lot alike. I never tell the kids my opinion so I can play all sides of the discussion. I want the students to think for themselves and not think my opinion is always the right opinion. I also use those open ended questions to get the students thinking on a deeper level. I too feel its important for the students to know the skill to agree to disagree. Its important for the students to know how to be able to "disagree" with others as they go out into the work force.

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    3. Teachers can tap into other forms of feedback and communication while a student is still getting comfortable with the classroom. Until they have confidence to speak to an entire room they can utilize written or artistic communication or have private conversations in small groups. I agree with you that we don't want to make students feel uncomfortable by forcing them to speak before they are ready.

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  5. WOW! This chapter allowed me to see that the school library is the perfect environment for students to ask as many questions as they want and more importantly to find the answers to these questions! In my school library I want my students to become independent thinkers. I want them to be lifelong learners and readers. Now, this chapter has allowed me to see that I should want them to be makers!! Students are consistently asking questions in the library so this is not the problem. I need to really focus on modeling to the students the art of asking a good question. I need to instill in my students the freedom to ask questions but also guide the students into asking good questions. The fourteen strategies explained in this chapter have helped me in this area. My students do question a lot, but I need to use these strategies to guided them in the process of deeper thinking.

    In the school library, questioning is not an option. I encourage students to question on a daily basis. Along with this questioning comes research. I also guide them into researching their questions to find the answer. My library is an open place. I am beginning to think of a section of my library that I can dedicate to asking questions, finding the answers, and then creating a product. I am excited about this possibility in the library and am excited to see how students react to it.

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    1. Do you have a maker space in your library? This new integration is such a great idea for students to do what you are saying. They can ask questions, do the research, and created a product. Very cool.

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  6. This chapter is really important I think in all types of classrooms, because I truly believe students better comprehend when they are able to ask questions. Which, for me goes back to creating a safe classroom environment and rapport with all students. If students feel safe, welcomed, and appreciated they will be more apt to ask questions. I try to facilitate this as much as possible during "work" time. As I proctor the room I facilitate questions and response interactions first, between partners, then small groups, and ultimately we work our way up to full class question interactions.

    Another activity that I have found to be helpful in encouraging my students to ask more questions is to simply have them ask/write down questions prior to a new unit/topic/standard. Usually this is a bellwork activity so then we can then over the questions together. This is a great way to activate the students' questioning abilities and to roll into a new unit!

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    1. I, too, believe that comprehension is much better when students are encouraged to ask questions. I agree that a positive, safe environment is a must in creating this type of classroom. I love your idea of writing down questions prior to teaching a unit to see what kinds of things are already known, want to be known, etc. Great idea!!!

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  7. What I like best about chapter 5 was the last sentence. The book states that what we ultimately want is for students to be independent thinkers and life long learners. We have to teach and model those skills that students will need to order to achieve those goals.
    I like how the book addressed that the Launch process is not a utopia. That there will be structure to the process and its not a goof around time. Teaching time management and getting a project done (start to finish) are important lessons students need to know how to do before leaving high school.
    In the alternative setting I work more one-on-one with students with their questions. When I grade their papers and I see they did not go deep enough into a answer, I have the student come to my desk and I ask them questions about the materials to get them to go deeper into their responses. When a student is struggling to ask questions, or give deeper answers, I talk out loud my thinking process so the student can see what I'm thinking and start to come up with answers of their own.
    Also I spend a lot of time being a "life coach" to the students. The Ask a lot of Questions can work in a lot of areas of life to come up with needed answers.

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    1. I totally agree that the power of this chapter comes in the last sentence.

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    2. Your focus on the last sentence in Chap. 5 reminds me of all the vocabulary and information I need to learn as an adult about topics that are not necessarily interesting, but important for my day-to-day budgeting, or finances. Such as taxes, mortgage, car loans, etc. Teaching kids to identify a problem, research the vocabulary, and find a viable solution are skills we all utilize in different subject areas.

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    3. I highlighted that very sentence at the end about being "independent thinkers and life long learners". It's easy to get caught up in the process, the grades, the day-to-day things we need to teach in all subject areas and forget that in the end, this is what we want our students to become!

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  8. Three things stuck with me from this chapter:
    “Although not all students are gifted, all students have gifts.”
    “If students are asking questions, that is where the learning begins.”
    “A general sense of wonder can lead to bigger things”
    Although all three of these quotes stuck out to me, all three things make me question how I am teaching and/or how teaching has changed throughout the years. WONDER, is so VERY important, yet we as teachers, try to squash it out of the younger students to make way for standardized testing and sitting way too long. I believe all students should keep that natural sense of wonder and continue to question the way things are, but that is not ideal in the classrooms we have today.
    As a special education teacher, in a self contained setting, it is hard for my students to grasp the idea of “higher level questions”, when many of them are just starting to understand the basic Wh- questions and how to answer them appropriately. I do have a few students that ask meaningful questions, and when that happens, we have time to delve into their questions to seek an answer. As a teacher, I often have many questions, but my questions are “How can I make this relatable to my students, but also relatable to the “average middle schooler”” These two things are often very different from one another.
    My biggest challenge for myself after studying this chapter is to challenge myself and my co-teacher to help my students get their wonder back. Help them become curious again, and want to learn, not feel forced to learn.

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    1. I enjoyed your response, Brianna, because I highlighted those same three quotes! AND I agree with you about WONDER and how it seems to get more and more squashed as a student progresses through the educational system as we know it. Standardized tests are a great example. Do you have any ideas how you can get the wonder back in your special ed. kids? I imagine both you and they must also feel some sort of restriction in the form of material that you are supposed to cover... I hope you do have time for them to just go on a self-directed "adventure" outside or online of things that make them wonder. I hope the same for mine!

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    2. I agree with you about the difficulty students can have with questions. It is not easy to make asking questions seem fun especially when they are not sure what they should be questioning.

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  9. Teaching students to question answers instead of always answering questions and thinking like a three year old by asking "why" are essential strategies outlined in this chapter. Providing support through posted sentence stems is a way that I already help students interact and respond with each other, rather than always through me. Also, using Canvas Discussions, students can respond to each other in a safe, monitored environment.

    The reminder that all children have gifts and that it is a teacher's responsibility to cultivate and nurture them has me thinking about how I can use Google forms to survey students about their likes, dislikes, fears, worries, interests, learning preferences etc. and group students or offer them more choices based on their responses.

    I also like the idea of reviewing with my homeroom each week one of the "Habits of Mind" of Effective Teens to encourage them to develop and expand their soft/non-standardized tested skills and knowledge.

    Also, focusing on the growth mindset and "failing forward" is important to teach, because we can learn as much from what didn't work as from the success of what did. Self-reflection is one of the ways students can demonstrate their learning, besides the letter grade or test score.

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  10. I struggle with "ask questions" because I actually do think there's such thing as a dumb question :). When students ask questions about obvious things that have been covered in our conversation or are typical procedure items (where are the pencils etc) generally as a result of not paying attention, I have little patience. I think that may set a certain tone in my classroom where students may be reluctant to ask questions. Obviously, the questions talked about in this chapter aren't the same. I love the "think like a three year old" idea. I'm sure students would be totally into that. I've recently started asking my students questions like- "why are you doing that"... and notice that when asked that question they assume they're doing something wrong, often times start taking apart whatever they're building. When pushed further, they reluctantly start opening up and realize I am pushing them to think and explain, not saying they're wrong. I feel like I've got a lot of room to grow after reading this chapter. Most of the projects we do in STEM are set programs, and while questioning is a part of what we do, there isn't much room for "wonder questioning"... trying to think about how I can change that.

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    1. I refer to those as lazy questions. ;)

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    2. I can relate to this so much! As an educator, I sometimes become defeated when they ask such simply questions that have been covered sing August or if it deals with a standard we've not only learned, but also reviews. I get so caught up that I tend to forget to continue to ask them questions. If I do, many of them take it personally as if they are in the wrong in some way; when in reality, I'm just asking them to be reflective.

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  11. I really enjoyed this chapter on asking questions. Questions are so important in fostering those sweet minds! There is so much wonder as they begin their learning process. I remember those, "why" stages with my kids...everything I said led to a why. After reading this chapter I think I should have embraced that stage a little bit more. Those "whys" could and do lead to a bigger world of wonder!

    Questions can be asked all the time...in every subject area! As a teacher even during a read aloud you can ask them what they are thinking and why...ask them to make personal connections to the story and explain their thinking. One of my favorite questions was when a I was teaching the kiddos about when you heat something it expands and we used a peep to put it in the microwave... As we watched this happen several times one 3 year old said, What will happen if we put it in for 1 minute...as a class we predicted but I always asked them why they thought that. After we did it for a minute that led to another question...How long until it explodes...they were building off of each other. after our experiment and questions we never focused on who wasn't "right" we talked about why these things happened. Which leads to the importance of creating a safe and comfortable environment for the kiddos.

    A safe environment leads me to think back to about what type of teacher I wanted for my son as he was entering kinder. My answer was one that he felt comfortable and safe with...one he could ask or answer any question and he wasn't afraid if he was right or wrong. That is so important to me!

    As far as asking questions...I am not sure classrooms are designed that way anymore. I feel like it is teacher driven and kiddos are to take in what they are telling them...

    One big part of this chapter that leaves me feeling quite sad is more play-time. The power of play is highly underestimated and often left out or being diminished. My son has 1 fifteen minute recess a day and dramatic play is no longer in the classroom. For me that is so sad as I have been a past kinder/first grade and realized the power of imagination. As a current preschool teacher I witness so much during free play...just simple questions like, "how come there is a white cloud behind that plane, why are worms slimy, how come that ant can walk when it is missing legs...all of those questions can be fostered into higher level thinking skills and life long learning. If we teach them to always ask questions they will always be learning! I am blessed that I am able to take those question and help them find answers....not having a strict curriculum to follow.

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    1. I am a Kindergarten teacher and feel like there is so much to accomplish during the school day. I wish I could give more play time. I have heard many times how certain schools have gone to 4 recesses, and how well the students have progressed as a result of it. I am allowed to give my students 2 15-20 minute recesses. I can tell they really need to move and talk by the time recess rolls around. Sometimes, if we happen to finish our work early, I give them free play time. However, unfortunately, this doesn't happen too often.

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    2. Check out the book Spark! I am currently reading it now and it is amazing how the body and brain need to work together! Good for you for going outside the box and doing 2 recesses! So much pressure on the little ones to learn...when they just need to be little!

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    3. During a read aloud it is helpful when posing a question to allow the students to turn and talk with each other. This can lead to other questions and group discussion.

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  12. I love when the children ask me questions about something we are learning. This lets me know they are thinking more about what I have taught them. Also, I enjoy learning more about what interests my students by the types of questions they ask.

    After I give an answer to their questions, I try to respond with a word of encouragement, so they will want to keep participating. For example, I like the way you told me how you felt when your friend helped you read. I know you care about your friend and that you want to read. In addition, I might say something like great answer or terrific. However, if a student gives an incorrect answer, I might say, "Not exactly, but I do like the way you are thinking about it." I hope this makes them feel hopeful for next time when answering a question of mine.

    Other times, I might answer their question by asking them a question. Also, to help them ask better questions, I model asking and answering these types of questions. I try to teach them to ask themselves questions when they encounter a problem, especially when learning to read. I try to ask lots of questions and have started to be more aware of varying the level of the questions too.

    I know what it feels like to not want to ask a questions, thinking it is stupid or that I should already know the answer. I feel this way sometimes in front of my peers. I am sure some of the students feel this way too with their peers. If someone laughs, I try to talk to that person and ask them how they would feel if someone laughed at them for asking a question they didn't know the answer too. They usually understand and refrain from laughing at inappropriate times.

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  13. I really enjoyed this chapter on asking questions. Questions are so important in fostering those sweet minds! There is so much wonder as they begin their learning process. I remember those, "why" stages with my kids...everything I said led to a why. After reading this chapter I think I should have embraced that stage a little bit more. Those "whys" could and do lead to a bigger world of wonder!

    Questions can be asked all the time...in every subject area! As a teacher even during a read aloud you can ask them what they are thinking and why...ask them to make personal connections to the story and explain their thinking. One of my favorite questions was when a I was teaching the kiddos about when you heat something it expands and we used a peep to put it in the microwave... As we watched this happen several times one 3 year old said, What will happen if we put it in for 1 minute...as a class we predicted but I always asked them why they thought that. After we did it for a minute that led to another question...How long until it explodes...they were building off of each other. after our experiment and questions we never focused on who wasn't "right" we talked about why these things happened. Which leads to the importance of creating a safe and comfortable environment for the kiddos.

    A safe environment leads me to think back to about what type of teacher I wanted for my son as he was entering kinder. My answer was one that he felt comfortable and safe with...one he could ask or answer any question and he wasn't afraid if he was right or wrong. That is so important to me!

    As far as asking questions...I am not sure classrooms are designed that way anymore. I feel like it is teacher driven and kiddos are to take in what they are telling them...

    One big part of this chapter that leaves me feeling quite sad is more play-time. The power of play is highly underestimated and often left out or being diminished. My son has 1 fifteen minute recess a day and dramatic play is no longer in the classroom. For me that is so sad as I have been a past kinder/first grade and realized the power of imagination. As a current preschool teacher I witness so much during free play...just simple questions like, "how come there is a white cloud behind that plane, why are worms slimy, how come that ant can walk when it is missing legs...all of those questions can be fostered into higher level thinking skills and life long learning. If we teach them to always ask questions they will always be learning! I am blessed that I am able to take those question and help them find answers....not having a strict curriculum to follow.

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    1. I think that there needs to be play at all ages. And why are teachers punishing kids by taking away their recess?! My daughter is so hard on herself......3/4 of the way through the school year, and she forgot to do 1 assignment. Had to spend recess doing it. She has a wonderful teacher, and I know that my daughter was harder on herself than we were, but I feel so bad that she missed the only time during the day to play and get the stress out. When we come home, it's homework time. I then MAKE them go out and play, or be creative somehow.
      You're right about classroom set-up. What's expected: sit down and listen to what I say.....what's needed? Go and do.

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  14. I love this chapter, because my kids are full of questions and are start asking them as soon as they walk into the door. They do however struggle with asking questions that goes along with what we are learning. I'll ask if there are any questions and it never fails that one of my kids will raise their hand and ask about deers. I love that this chapter encourages students to ask any questions that they have. I'm always afraid that the principal will walk in and my kids will be asking off the wall questions. While I was reading this I actually thought of an idea that would encourage even the shy students to ask questions. Each student could have a notebook that they could write in everyday and they could ask any questions that they had, and I could answer back to them!

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  15. I've read some other's posts. I like Samantha Erny's idea of a wonder wall. I do something kind of like that. I have a small mailbox outside my room. There are slips of paper and pencils next to it. Students are invited to share private things with me that they don't want to share in class or don't have time to share. I encourage them to use this to ask questions too. Seeing my kids only 40 min. once a week, I always feel rushed. This way I can get to know them better and answer questions that I might not have time for in class.

    I do use alot of picture books with my younger students. I "sing" my books instead of reading. I often pause to ask them what they are thinking or what they think will happen next in the story. I guess that's another way that I'm getting them to wonder. With my older students, I try to get them to listen to the lyrics of a song and have them pose questions about it for deeper meaning. I have them share their thoughts and questions in small and whole group instruction.

    Since I teach elementary students, many of them are not afraid to ask questions as we go through a music lesson. I guess I just need to remember as a teacher to allow them more time to "WONDER". Again, I think with the time constraint I'm more worried about just getting a lesson done.

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  16. "Students can't become self-directed, responsible, critical-thinking people if they can't ask their own questions. At that point, you're teaching compliance rather than responsibility." The last few paragraphs in the chapter were extremely powerful to me. As I reflect upon the ultimate goal of education: Lifelong learners - independent thinkers - makers - it all begins with questioning!

    I especially liked stages 4-7: Model and provide thoughtful feedback, practice, play, and support students. While the asking of questions is natural for toddlers, the skill of asking a good question is a process that needs to be taught and practiced. This was a good reminder for me.

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  17. I have tried two things this year that encourage students to ask more questions. When introducing a new unit/theme/objective I will ask them to be curious about it after some type of introduction. This could be a picture, a very short clip, a quote. One example this year was simply showing them a picture of the Sphinx. On a shared google form each student then posts their question (knowing the questions were not allowed to encourage a one word answer). The class reads the questions and signs up to answer one of the questions other than the one they formed. I only do this to encourage them to write good questions rather than the easy to find an answer question my middle schoolers might try knowing they will answer it themselves. This also models how to ask good questions from each other.

    Another thing I tried is having students asking each other questions once they form a curiosity while working on an activity. Paul Stolarz, author of Learn Like a Pirate, calls is "Take 5". Students in our class just say "I have a Q." and the rest of the class eagerly responds, "We have an A." Students are wanting to ask questions this way for many reasons. One, it gives them a break in whatever activity they are doing (Did I mention I have middle schoolers?). Two, the class is so excited about answering these questions they are comfortable in asking them. (An earlier answer mentions that feeling safe and a culture of trust is necessary for this to work.) Three, I noticed that they love this because they want to be heard and will amp up the type of questions they ask. I notice that for students struggling to ask a clear question, someone will jump in to help them. It has been a transition not being the one to answer their questions and only guide them to those answers, but they are owning their learning from their curiosities.

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  18. From the moment I meet my students on the first day of school, I tell them that our classroom is our family. This is a place for all of us to feel safe and build each other up every chance that we get. I feel that my fourth grade students ask a lot of questions. I hear them asking more detailed and upper level thinking questions with science and social studies. We do a lot of experiments and projects. Both of these activities lead themselves to questions.

    The students have recently started reading any type of material that interests them. After they read the story, they are to come up with a "heavy weight" question. The students are not allowed to ask a question that can found in the text. The students love this assignment because they are always trying to stump their classmates and me.

    I feel that this book has me asking myself, "What can I do to better challenge each of my students daily?" Sometimes we get stuck in the routine and need to be challenged as well.

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  19. I don't think there is any better talent outside of enthusiasm in a classroom than being able to ask and get students to form good questions. I do not have this talent. I rush through units and get the yes or no responses to the basic needs of the material, but to get students to really probe the content is just now becoming important to me. Better late than never I say! It is for sure an area that I need to develop as an instructor. I have learned that the 'row' method works very well in my beginning stages of using questions. I will pick out 5 of the most important aspects of the previous day's lesson and have each student in the row- right from the notes -answer or ask a question from the material. I have found that in a 'row' [of 5 students more than likely] the students are much less apprehensive about answering questions. It's as if they have a team behind them using the same playbook and it is not such a bad feeling to risk an answer or question. I have learned not to ask for as many yes or no answers- but I am still working on this for sure. Learning to couple the facts with the answer is something that I want to do more of... in essence- I like to encourage the students to 'cite some scholarship' when they answer. Where does this come from? What rule/ grammar issue backs this up? That is allowing my students to have a better understanding of the lesson as well as for me, it allows me to see where they are not understanding a certain concept. Many times I have used the opening line of 'are there any comments, concerns, questions, compliments or complaints about the lesson yesterday? This opens up discussion for different paths that may or may not have been understood. It is working, but I would like to do more.
    I believe the biggest factor is success of asking/ answering questions or learning to do both is the atmosphere in the classroom. From day one, I seek to put my students at ease in my class and this carries on throughout the year. Yes, there is class management, but it is as if I want to portray to my students that because of this class management/ atmosphere, they can manage my class. By manage, I mean handle the expectations, learn the language, learn about life and themselves and learn that only in questioning can you sometimes obtain the answer you need.

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  20. I encourage my students to ask more/better/deeper questions by not only modeling it for them but by rewarding their questions with thought provoking conversation with classmates. I am blessed to have groups that feel comfortable to ask hard questions in a safe environment. I foster a safe environment by laying out clear rules and guidelines at the beginning of the year that encourage students to come out of their comfort zones and think deeply. I build this confidence by having students question in small groups and then in large group (kind of the think-pair-share model).

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  21. I enjoyed this chapter I think because THIS is where the LAUNCH cycle for me starts. It makes sense to get the kinds to WONDER first and then start solving problems based on their wonder. I liked the idea of a "wonder day", but I'm not sure how that would work for my content area or for high school. I think providing support for questions is great, students need to feel safe asking questions and know that you will help find an answer (note, 'help', not 'give'). I know in FCS feeling safe to ask questions is a REAL part of what we do. There is too much sensitive information being talked about-if kids don't feel safe they will never open up. Along with that I usually group students for discussion questions because they will open up with peers more often than with an adult. My favorite was number 13, share your own questions but I'd like to add to that don't be afraid to tell your students, "I don't know". In my first year of teaching I was always afraid to tell a student, "I don't know.." I thought it would ruin my credibility- but now that I am in my fourth year of teaching I've realized, "I don't know" makes me human to them-it allows me to relate to my students. We all have strengths and weakness, when teachers show their weaknesses to students I think its a breath of fresh air, nope we certainly don't know it ALL!! The last point I liked was 'slow down'. I often find myself at this point of, "I have to get through chapter ____". When in reality I DON'T! I'd rather kids really LEARN and take interest in something and gather more information about it (like when we decided to talk about dog food nutrition in a foods class) than chug through the textbook information. All good stuff!

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  22. I teach Algebra to special needs students. Getting them to even ask me a question on how to do something is very difficult. Other than the normal question, "Why do I need this, I am never going to use it." This is where I try to make them use high level of thinking and questioning. I get them involved in discussions of why do you think you don't use this? Then we start the discussion of going to a store and buying things. I start asking questions that relate to algebra and try to help them see that they do use algebra, they just don't realize it. I then ask them, what are you thinking now? Trying to get them to express what they think about this and how it is used.

    I loved the idea of putting up a wonder board and letting my students write questions, and taking the time to answer some of the questions. To see how the students will give responses. I want to share this idea with our English Sped teacher.
    I also feel that I need to challenge myself to let students ask more questions. I have seen a few ideas posted here on the board and I want to try to incorporate them into my classroom. I can do that in Math and in my ASL classes. This chapter has me excited to try to reach out and let my students be "kids" again and wonder WHY!

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  23. One professional development workshop that I attended was so helpful in structuring HOW to help students think through their own questions by asking more questions. If they ask, "Is this right?", I respond with a question not an answer, such as "Is there any part of it that YOU think is correct?". Get them to self edit. I teach math and the kids get frustrated when they get the same type of problem wrong time after time. When they ask a question, and I respond with another question that creates a situation for them to review their work, they tend to actually LEARN how to get the problem correct. In the past when I just answer it for them or show them where they are WRONG, it squashes the learning process.

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    1. Yes!! When my students are doing translations, or don't understand what something means, I always come back with, "Well, what do you understand from the text? Let's start there." Usually it will narrow their question, and make them realize that they know more than what they think they did!

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  24. On page 99, I love the picture and caption that reads, "Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask a question." It amazes me how many kids are afraid to ask questions. When does this happen? My own kids used to drive me crazy with questions....they love going to school to learn. When is that ruined? When do they become embarrassed? When do they start not liking school? Teaching in a high school, I see a lot of "cool kids" who don't ask questions! The other day, I had a kid raise her hand, she looked around and said, "Never mind. I'll ask you later in private." I tried to encourage her to ask, as I'm sure others had the same question. Sure enough, as I got done helping her individually, two other kids had the same question.
    I think that we need to show our vulnerability, and that we don't know it all. I publicly admit when I don't have an answer for the kids. I encourage them to look it up and teach me something new. A safe environment for mistakes is important in learning.
    Almost daily my students work on something with a partner. This allows them time to ask questions of me individually, or ask a peer. Many have already mentioned that they will open up to peers sometimes more than to their teachers.
    I'd like to see students ask more questions about culture. Instead of always hearing "that's stupid" or "America is better", I want them to understand that things are DIFFERENT. I want them to understand the reasons behind our ideas, and those of other countries. I'm looking forward to nurturing that more, instead of presenting the culture and seeing the eye rolls.

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    1. I agree completely that as students' get older, they stop asking questions not because they do not have questions in mind, but instead because they are afraid of what their peers' might think or afraid of asking a question that is obvious. We do need to change this somehow, but I do think it will take time.

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  25. Asking questions in class is something that I have been consciously working on this year. It is something that is very hard to change and encourage when they have come to you from previous years with only answering questions for assessment (the right or wrong answer). I think that it is very difficult to change the "norm" that they are used to.

    I have started in my math instruction trying to have the students ask more questions, along with me asking more questions for better understanding or explanation (how did you get that answer and why did you do that). Also, we all know that there are several different ways to get to the same correct answer in math, so to have students share "their" way and have other students add to it has been helpful in making this change in my class.

    I think another thing that stands in the way of dialogue and students asking/answering questions in lack of confidence and them being embarrassed in front of their peers. It is very important to create a space in which not only is answering/asking questions is encouraged but also expected.

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  26. I admittedly am lacking in having students ask as many questions as they answer. I do have one student who is extremely curious, and I do not discourage him asking questions. He is simply trying to understand the world around him, and I think him feeling like he can ask me questions has created a more positive relationship between us. So now, I need to consciously provide the same opportunities for the other students. I do not prohibit them from asking questions, but I also have not encouraged them to do so. After reading this chapter, I have incorporated more opportunities for students to ask questions in upcoming lessons. I have been working to ask the students more in-depth questions, especially during math, to get them thinking more deeply about concepts. I had previously been asking higher level questions during reading, but now it is done in both reading and math.

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    1. There are times I feel that I lack inquiry and asking questions too. But you have asked the right question of yourself now! What else can I do to engage them in thinking and asking questions? Now we are all asking questions and generating ideas to become better at this!

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  27. I agree with the authors that I more often teach my students compliance rather than responsibility. This part of design thinking is counterintuitive to a public school teacher who was taught in a college discipline class that compliance is the first step to having a well managed classroom. I think this is the part that makes the idea of the LAUNCH cycle uncomfortable for most of us. I personally felt a huge sense of relief when I read "Its a messy process, but its a beautiful kind of mess". I do require my students to do inquiry thinking , but not near enough that I can safely say that they have all embraced the concept. I feel like this chapter, more than the previous 4, really spoke to me and answered my internal questions about how to get this process started with my students.

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  28. I have tried to start a "wonder wall". The students are able to write down wonders they have at any point in class. It can be related to the topic we are studying or even something in their personal lives. Friday we will each choose a wonder to research, experiment with, or come up with more questions about it. Then after at the end of the month we will each have something to present to the class. It could be a slide show, video, short story, a fact sheet, or whatever else they can come up with to teach us what they know about the wonder. I will be helping them thru out this process and guiding them to make better questions as this goes on. I have already seen an increase in questions they have during our regular lessons that I am super excited about. They are starting to voice their questions and wonders. I am trying to ask more questions and voice when I have a wonder to model for them.

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  29. After reading this chapter, I have this urge to ask myself how I achieve what is being covered. Asking questions? Being asked questions? Redirecting questions? Asking questions about myself and my strategy. All very stimulating information to do some self-reflecting. What is it I do for them to stimulate thinking? What do they do for me? More questions to answer questions.
    If nothing else, this chapter taught me to see past the plain and get "messy".

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    1. Elizabeth Stracener-I appreciate the questions you posed. When I give my talks or "mini" lectures, I ask students several times if they have any questions and am usually met with silence. However, when formal assessment is imminent, they are flustered and complaining that they are not understanding the concepts. I need to get them posing questions much earlier in the process. I am thinking of having them write questions on notecards, then pass them around to answer in pairs or small groups. That would be a starting place to ask questions.

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  30. I have the privilege to see 6th-8th graders in class, and the age range does make a huge difference in the amount of questions being asked. It is interesting to see how 6th graders ask so many questions during class, and I fully encourage this, 7th graders still ask many questions and do not feel embarrassed to ask, but it seems as 8th graders I struggle getting them to ask or answer any questions. For 7th and 8th graders we have an anonymous question box during the human growth and development unit, and it is amazing how many questions I receive when the students' know that other's will not know who wrote the question. I answer all of the questions in class (school appropriate of course), and it does increase the volume of questions being asked, I imagine high school teachers' have this issue as well, students are afraid to ask questions because of the response of their peers. I would love to hear more ideas about increasing the volume of questions being asked from older groups of students.
    I love on page 95 where the author invites his students' to think like a three year old. I have a three year old son, and I just really enjoy his age because he is not afraid of anything and will ask me anything that comes to mind. Sometimes his questions just really crack me up because his imagination is endless and his love for life and having fun in anything he does is simply wonderful. SOO....how do you bottle this up and have all of your students' asking questions, creative thinking, and not being ashamed of their questions. This is the area I am still trying to figure out, but I think it starts at the beginning of the year and explaining to your classes how you encourage everyone to ask questions all the time, providing opportunities for growth and creative thinking, and allowing students' to explore their curious thoughts and research things that interest them but still link to the curriculum for your school. I am putting more and more ideas together as this book continues, and I look forward to trying new things and new ideas with my classes.

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  31. I try to get my students to answer questions by going back the book or the source of information to find the answer. I even have them infer and depending on the topic, try to find information. I have helped my students ask better questions by using a question matrix. They have to use certain words to start their question and it makes them think differently. The matrix makes students come up with thicker questions about the book or topic. I need to make sure that I am asking questions in my small group, so the students have a model for questioning. I am going to try and work on asking better questions and more often.

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  32. I always try to get my students to ask more questions and better questions. It seems that getting students to talk in class is getting tougher every year. I blame the cell phone. I have started using small groups and seem to get better interaction and good questions answered by using small groups. I find that once we cover the material for a unit my students seem ready to ask more questions than they answer. I agree that the launch method is a little scary but am enjoying trying it out in spurts in my classroom.

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  33. This chapter really got my "teacher" brain thinking! In a 3rd grade classroom, questions are all around! Young learners are so excited to learn about the world. However, I'm going to start getting my students to try to ask deeper questions. I have discussed Bloom's levels of questioning with my students and we brainstormed a few questions together for each level. Next goal is to have students generate their own questions for each level on a chosen topic/book.
    I completely agree with the authors in the final words of this chapter. We've got to encourage deep questions and generating LOTS of these deep questions to get our students to become independent thinkers and lifelong learners! I'm going to continue creating a classroom where students feel safe to wonder and to dig deeper into topics.

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  34. The whole time I was reading the chapter I was thinking "wow I really need to change the climate of my classroom!". I don't focus on getting students to question things but as I read I realized this should be something I work for.
    Reading through the comments I like a previous posters idea of using a question matrix to really get them thinking. I also like another's idea of a question box.

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    1. I too need to work on asking deeper questions and teaching my students how to ask deeper questions. I think it is funny how sometimes elementary students, ask the deepest questions!

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  35. After reading this chapter, I find that while teaching 3rd grade, March-May/June is the absolute perfect time to be really focusing on teaching how to ask questions. I feel as though there is such a large amount of materials and standards to cover before my 8 and 9 year olds are hit with standardized testing that I leave this out the remainder of the year. Not on purpose, but out of habit. That is a habit I would like to change. I love the idea of the "wonder wall" as many people have commented on! I feel as though in order to teach my students this concept, I need to be practicing it more myself.

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  36. This was one of my favorite chapters! I actually took a picture of a page and sent it to a colleague, and I have used his story about making his students think just like him many times in the last few weeks. I tell my students all the time that I already know my subject, and it is up to them to learn it their way.

    I was a why kid growing up (and really, I still am!), so I have never been afraid to ask questions. But I know many colleagues and students really struggle with it. My big question is how to get them to start asking more questions. How can we foster a love to ask a question? So many times they stop asking because they are never answered or heard. I know my personal goal is to stop, drop what I am doing and really listen when asked a question!

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  37. I do agree that asking questions is an important part of learning. I love when the students ask questions. It shows that they are thinking. They have taken the time to think beyond the text and are curious as to what the author was thinking while they were writing their novel. I require the students to write questions about the text in their reading journals. I have them share these questions in class when I can get someone to participate. After reading this, I'm going to have them discuss their questions in small groups. I can walk around and pick up out the deeper thinking questions and present them to the class without singling anyone out. After the students are more comfortable, I will require the students to share on their own with the class. I read about the "Wonder Days", and I really love this idea. I plan on trying this out with my students.

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    1. I agree that small groups are a good start to get students asking questions. Their are many topics that some of my students struggle with, and if they brought up these questions in pairs or small groups, they may get them answered. Especially if they are not willing to ask in front of the entire class. I also like you thought about the "Wonder Days".

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  38. My favorite point from this reading selection was that student inquiry works for all content areas at all age levels. So often, we assume that an idea, tool, or initiative may not apply to us because of our grade level or subject. Supporting inquiry in the classroom is truly something that applies to us all.

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    1. Children and adults are curious about everything!

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  39. This is a tough one! I am all about asking questions, but I am always wrestling with the time constraint issue. Bringing out the wonder that all kids have (even "too cool for school" 8th-graders)goes a long way in getting kids to "buy into" the lesson/project you are presenting. I have established the daily practice of beginning my classes with power point slides depicting vivid images of our topic that I have chosen especially because of their curious nature. This routine never fails to lead to questions/discussion--a great way to begin a lesson/project. I also include high-interest video clips relevant to the topic to promote more curiosity and inquiry. I start by stating something I am wondering about/question in an effort to model good questioning. It takes some time, but I usually see this practice results in better, more focused questions from the class. So I think I can say that I try to give my students an opportunity to ask as many questions as time will allow, but is there ever enough time for all the questions kids can come up with!?

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  40. I always have a "suggestion box" in my room. It's for students to write down the names of songs they would like to sing in class. I know that isn't the same thing as an actual question, but it is along those lines of giving input.

    My first year of teaching I was really bad about not letting students asked questions because A). there were so many B) they often were not about music C) I felt pressure to make sure I proved myself as a good teacher and meet standards/concerts dates, etc. But after my first year I realized that was an "injustice" to students and was much more laid back about the time I had. After all, if I didn't answer the question - maybe none of the other teachers would either.

    I think that personally came from not being encouraged, myself, as a student to ask questions. It really wasn't encourage by anyone except one teacher here or there (and the only one that sticks out was one teacher while I was in college).

    I do feel like this is something I can work on and improve in my career. Now that I am an adult, I love asking questions in order to gather more information and wisdom and I want that for all my students too.

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  41. I teach fifth grade and getting students to ask questions is a big deal. I always encourage students to ask as many questions as possible. I try to brag on the questions asked as much as possible and tell them that they are helping more people then just theirselves when they ask a question. Of course, I do still have the student that will try to get away with saying they don't get it. (referring to they don't get anything) This is where I try to get them to think through what they aren't getting and try to ask a more specific question so my answer is more beneficial to them.

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  42. I feel like I need to do a better job of talking to the students about what questions they may or may not be asking in the classroom. As a principal, and not in the classes all the time, I need to seek out the students and ask them what questions they asked today. I need to encourage them to ask the questions they have.
    I feel like we do school to the students and tell them so much of the time what they need to learn and when they need to learn it that we drive that questioning skill out of them. We need to get to a point where we believe that just because a student asked a question, does not mean they are questioning us. If you dont ask, you dont learn!!

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    1. That is a great idea about asking a student what questions they were asking in the classroom at school that day. I periodically will ask students to share one thing they learned today at school. Now I am going to try asking them to share a question they were asking in class. Really like this idea, thanks.

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  43. The comment about question stems to help struggling speakers stuck with me. This is something I often see in classrooms and it should be commended. Teachers often have starter strips, posters and canned verbal prompts that students can use to help create questions. I have also seen teachers pair up groups of students to formulate ideas, create questions and deep deeper into the topics. Many years ago a science teacher I knew created a year long bulletin board outside of his classroom. Anyone could submit a question anonymously and he would find the answer. There were lots of great questions and topics that people came up with (why are there different colors of the rainbow, electrical currents and different materials, how to astronauts use the restroom, etc.) It sparked student conversations outside of the classroom and taught staff and parents new facts about science. This was a great way to encourage questioning skills.

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  44. I do believe that questions are a valuabe asset to any classroom. However, nurturing the kind of questions that bring about critical thinking can be very challenging and time consuming. As students begin a project I encourage questions by letting them know that it is my job to help them and that their questions are valuable, not just to them, but to others as well. By the time kids get to MS it seems that they are often inhibited by peer pressure when it comes to asking questions. I definitely have more questions that come from girls than boys at the MS level. For some reason while I was reading early in the chapter, I made a correlation between people who stop and ask for directions when they are lost. Of course, the old adage that women will stop and ask for directions, but men tend not to, fit right in with what typically happens in my classroom. While our school has been utilizing the "Depth of Knowledge" chart for years, we have been using them to a greater degree this year by having words that we focus on each month. These words work wonderfully in helping students come up with open-ended questions. I was able to pull some good ideas from the chapter's tools 1-14. I especially liked #10, permission to wonder. In our rushed world of hurrying, hurrying seems to be one of the driving forces that cripples most things we try to do at school. Timed writings...is that how an author of a book must work? No, the world's reality is not how we do things in the classroom when we are on a strict timeline. Some things just don't seem to be able to make the cut. The last section on Brain Boost promoting lifelong independent thinkers was ok, but again not actually a reality for a public school setting. I'm finding that there have been bits and pieces that I can pull from each section to take back and use in my classroom.

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  45. When first reading the title of this chapter I thought it would be a difficult one to incorporate into my library time with students. It still is challenging yet after reading I became more aware of ways that I may encourage the questioning from students. I tend to spend quite a bit of time reading with my classes. I often ask wondering questions to them while reading so now I am wondering if it would be better to have them ask the wondering questions. There are always some in a class that do ask questions so how do I encourage more student participation. I wonder if when reading, I have them share with a partner or a group of three students things they are observing in the story and questions/wonderings they may have?
    Sometimes I do not want to hear the questions because of time restriction, I have my agenda to get through. The most important thing I got from this chapter was the importance to take the time for questions/wonderings and that if we don't get accomplished with what I set out to do because of their questions....that is okay. Also, I really like asking wondering questions yet now I am convinced to have the students ask the wondering questions that they have from hearing a story read to them.

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  46. I really enjoyed this chapter on questions and fostering curiosity. As a kindergarten teacher, I believe it is so important to encourage kids to wonder and to think. Yet, this reading caused me to self-evaluate how much of that is really going on in my classroom. It seems like often I am more focused on what facts/standards they are learning verses how they are thinking because of testing. This chapter made me think about how really wrong that is. Every child will learn letters sounds, addition, counting, etc. but what the world really needs are people that can wonder, think, and question. I definitely feel inspired to focus more on getting students to ask questions. I love the practical ideas you have mentioned above. "Independent thinkers, lifelong learners, makers-all of it begins by asking questions."

    I also completely agree that students need to be given more time to play. The team of kindergarten teachers that I work with are already working to see how we can fit play back into our day next year. Children need time to explore and to be creative.

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  47. Wow. After reading this chapter, I realized that asking questions is something I need allow my students to do much more often. I am often so caught up in what I need to cover and how I need to do to get the needed outcome, that I rarely allow my students to go off on their own discoveries. This line from the chapter really hit home, "...all they learned was how to think like me. They hadn't owned the learning because they hadn't owned the process."

    As it states in another part of the chapter, "...questions are the bridge that links awareness and research." I think like every good educator, we want our students to be excited about and engaged in learning. I think allowing them to question and to "play" and to delve into what's going on in their minds would foster this greatly. I think I'm good at asking questions about whatever it is that we are reading, but again, that's more of a teacher-centered process. Also, my questioning skills are much better on paper; I've never been that gifted at leading discussions in class...I'm too afraid of things getting out of control. But on paper, I've always believed this gives students a safe place to explore what they think and why. Again, though, it's questions related to what I want and need to cover.

    I want to learn how to better allow my students to question what they want to learn in my English class, like the author did with his science class. I want them to have ownership thus making them more engaged and excited. I will have to let this marinate and come up with some ideas.

    I love the idea of Wonder Days! How can I relate this to high school English? I guess I am modeling the process right now! Maybe I could take a theme that is brought out in something we need to read, and have them ask questions to themselves and then groups about that theme? The same with authors and styles of writing? This makes me want to learn more and hear other ideas...maybe that's how my students would feel too?

    Finally, this is my favorite line from the chapter, "Although not every child is gifted, every child has gifts." I think I am good at conveying this in my classroom. I do this by allowing them to show understanding of a text or concept in a variety of ways and through support. I think this would be even more enhanced if I allowed the students to formulate their own questions about the content we cover. It's definitely something to work on and think about how I can better do this.

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    1. Any wonderful high school English teachers out there have any ideas or suggestions for me? Thank you in advance! (And I also forgot to hit the "notify me" square before...:)

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    2. I felt the same way after reading this chapter! I worry so much about covering curriculum and meeting the standards that the inquiry time for my students sometimes has gotten pushed to the side. I like the Wonder Days idea as well. I would love to learn more ways to incorporate this into middle school social studies, too, if anyone has ideas and is willing to share!

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  48. I love the idea of asking my students to think like a 3 year old while gathering questions about a topic. We often talk about thick and thin questions in my classroom. When given the opportunity, my kiddos like to stick with those thin questions that can be typed into a Google search and quickly find a "right answer". I would really like to work on helping them explore those deeper thinking questions. An issue in my classroom is that I have a few students that no matter what I do, are always negative. They find fault in their peers and that makes it very difficult to keep the classroom a safe environment for sharing questions. In these students' eyes, there are definitely "dumb questions" and they aren't afraid to let people know it. Despite heart to heart talks, positive role models, and even consequences, I can't seem to turn them around.I hesitated to share that because I feel like it makes it sound like my classroom is not a great place to learn...it isn't a harsh environment, but we all have those class dynamics in a year that just isn't quite where we would like it to be, right? Anyone have a clever idea to help those negative nellies in my room so the rest don't feel judged and are free to share what's on their minds openly?

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  49. Elizabeth Stracener-How do I encourage my students to "ask as many questions as they answer"? In most of my classes, I use journaling as a bellringer. Then we open up time for sharing, if they students want to respond. How do I teach my students to ask better questions? This is definitely a work in progress. A big part of my time teaching high school students is working on study skills. This involves the students betting better about answer synthesis-based questions. Then I try to get them thinking about what types of questions they should be asking. Am I trying to ask more questions in my role as teacher? Absolutely! But my main problem is getting the students to share their answers. They are so afraid to be wrong, that they often do not speak up. I find that a solution to this is to get them talking in small groups first, before sharing as a class. This approach may be less threatening to them.

    I appreciate the authors comments about curiosity. I would love to incorporate more opportunities for them to engage in topics that spark their curiosity and wonder.

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  50. "Often, the labels kids receive become the lies they believe" -this quote from chapter five reminds me of a young student I knew several years ago. The student had difficulty reading and one day, while working with the student in the hallway, another teacher walked by. When this teacher got to where we were stationed, the teacher stopped for a moment to inform me that I was wasting my time, and that Kelly would never learn to read. The teacher then proceeded to go on her way, but one look at Kelly's face told me that Kelly, obviously very hurt, had just bought into this teacher's opinion. With just a few seconds to turn this incident around, I quickly said, "well, she doesn't know you very well, does she?" Kelly immediately took on the same attitude that I responded with- indignant, Kelly became fueled to disprove this negative opinion.

    teaching students that it is okay to think for themselves is a good thing, and although Kelly did struggle, she was able to learn at least 50% of the words on our list. Had she decided to believe someone else's low assessment of her ability, she may never have written and illustrated some of the fun books that she did that year.

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    1. That is amazing! As a teacher who works with predominantly under-performing students, I find that inspiring. I agree with the statement completely. So many of my students were problem kids early on, and their frustrated teachers told them they were stupid or bad students or that they would never accomplish anything! It gets so frustrating sometimes because they have accepted these labels and it can be difficult, almost impossible to get them to understand that they are capable individuals who can achieve more than anybody has ever thought possible about them. I will often try to grab hold of whatever minor victory I can to boost them towards their next goal. I get frustrated, even browbeaten at times. But we just have to pick ourselves and our students up and keep moving forward!

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  51. So I feel like this question relates very closely back to the last chapter as well. Getting our students to ask as many questions as they answer can be tough work. I have one class in particular that are all accelerated students. They are all very curious, but are so used to being picked on for asking inquisitive questions, that they pass this tormenting on to their peers. This can make it quite difficult to get them asking questions.
    In the book, they use the example of a student who felt embarrassed to ask why the laptops were so cold. He was derided by his peers, but the teacher continued with the line of questioning, and soon they were on a conversation about thermal conductivity. As a history teacher, I often try to explain to my students that the study of history includes the study of science (greek fire), literature (a tale of two cities), music (jazz), politics (communist revolution), EVERYTHING! And so, particularly with this class, I encourage ALL questions. The hardest part is getting them to avoid the derision associated with these questions. It is often hard to get them to understand that the point of learning is not to accomplish a task, but to better understand something. I recently spent an entire class discussing the similarities and differences between the Republican party during Lincoln's time and the Republican party today. Even though we were studying the downfall of the Roman Empire, I wanted my students to learn that asking questions was a good thing.
    What I am still working on as a teacher is getting my students to focus their questions, and make relations between what we are talking about and their question. This can sometimes be hard, as I pointed out last week, my students often ask questions I would have never thought of.
    I think what I am going to try is working in a bellringer that makes my students relate what we are studying with something going on in their current lives.

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  52. I am trying to ask more questions rather than just giving away answers. When my students ask me a question I most often ask them a question in return. I want my students to come to their own conclusion or creative thought and be more independent thinkers. At first they are frustrated with me because I have not given them an answer. If they are still struggling with the answer to their own question I will present another question until something clicks. When I do give in and give answers to their questions I feel that I am taking away from their creative process.

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  53. Asking questions is crucial to students' intellectual development. I ask them questions all the time, trying to ask questions that will lead them to other questions.

    Early in the year, I play Mind Trap with them. In Mind Trap, there is a question or scenario that is posed. The answer is never obvious. Students can ask questions that are able to be answered yes or no, which eventually leads them to other ways of seeing the issue. It's tough going at first--they always just want to solve the original question. However, after they realize they can't, they get very adept at asking all kinds of questions. Even more importantly, they realize that even the "stupid" questions lead to ruling out possibilities and narrowing the problem to be solved.

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  54. The process of having students ask more questions, is an area that I need to work on. I have always had the rule that no question is stupid. I also always ask throughout lessons if students have questions, but rarely get a response. I think that once I start the launch process, students curiosity will lead to them questioning more. Once students start asking more questions, then we can have meetings to discuss how to dig deeper with our questions.

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  55. The short answer is that I tell them I like questions. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Sometimes I have told a class I want to hear their questions and I want them to feel free to ask anything (which can sometimes be scary!), but usually they stay on topic or in the ballpark but ask things that mean something to them. I think it’s important to create an atmosphere where there’s enough trust so that a person can ask even a “stupid question.” Sometimes I have classes that are so afraid of being wrong or saying something stupid that I wind up doing all the talking. That drives me crazy.

    Through the years I have been making an effort to ask more questions instead of just giving the answer. Sometimes it's as simple as when someone says “Señora what does __ mean?” and I open it up to the class and get ideas of how to say something or how to work around it in Spanish. This could lead to a discussion about circumlocution. Sometimes when I am teaching literature I try to elicit comparisons between the new material and something from their lives. An example is today we were reading an excerpt of una novela picaresca. I dug up their prior knowledge by first talking about Aladdin. Then I asked what he might have in common with our character. I also like to ask opinion questions.

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    1. I like the idea of responding to a question with a question. That can lead to awesome classroom discussion and involves all students. It also holds the students responsible for answering their peers questions.

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  56. Our district adopted ISI for our science curriculum 6 years ago. This is an Inquiry-based curriculum which has allowed our students to feel comfortable and more confident in asking questions. But this change didn't happen overnight. We still see students who are uncomfortable raising questions of any kind for fear of being "wrong". We see this in our high students and especially with many of our EL students. ISI has given our kids permission to ask questions of all kinds. By the very nature of working with groups and setting up science labs for the past six years, questioning has become second nature to many of our students. My hope is that this skill is transferred to other content areas as well. This chapter had many great strategies for teachers to help students become better questioners.

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  57. I always encourage my students to ask questions. Before beginning a unit, I begin with a KWL chart. We also have a question of the day. I teach Kindergarten, so the majority of the time the question of the day is a yes or no question. Students move their name tags under "yes" or "no" to answer the question. Then during circle time, we discuss the question and why they answered yes or no.
    I do find it hard as a teacher to answer every students question. I want to; however, my students are naturally curious and I find myself constantly saying, "We'll talk about it later, we need to move on.". I read in a previous post about a wonderwall. I think that would be a great idea. My students could write their question (or try to write their question down) and we can choose 1 or 2 questions to discuss during circle time.

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  58. This was an important and thought-provoking chapter. The author summed it up nicely on pg. 107. "We want students to be independent thinkers. We want them to be lifelong learners. We want them to be makers. And that all begins by allowing students to ask their own questions."
    I struggle with getting students to ask questions on a consistent basis in my math classes (occasionally I'll have a talkative, questioning class, but this is not the norm).
    I liked the suggested strategies of "modeling the process" as well as having a "Wonder Day." I could see these strategies working well with some of the Geometry topics that I teach.

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  59. When I completed my teaching degree and student teaching quite some time ago, one of my main goals was to help make my students "lifelong learners". I believe that kids have a natural sense of wonder and we must foster and protect this wonder. It's easy to forget this with the mandatory day to day checklist we have to complete. In this chapter, I loved the attention given to encouraging students to ask good questions. Teachers should model this behavior, as well. I love all of the ideas that I've gotten from the chapter and the blog posts! I will be using many of them to encourage my students.

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  60. I have been in education for 25+ years and vividly remember during my student teaching that I was cautioned to not let students ask too many questions - the thought being the students would get me "off track" during "teaching time." True, that can be a factor, but throughout my experiences, and as is mentioned in this particular chapter, we need to permit time for wonder and inquiry in our teaching. Also, as mentioned above by others, I truly love the idea of posting answers and having students think about questions that go with the answer. I have often emphasized this to classroom teachers, especially as they are teaching math, to give the students the answers, then have the students show the steps utilized to obtain the answer.

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    1. We must have had the same supervising teacher!

      I like the idea of the turning things around by posting answers and allowing students to develop questions from that reversal of approach.

      "Wonder Time" should be mandatory as part of natural inquiry. With the increased stress of today's structured classroom and emphasis of "time on task", it is difficult to find ways to make this happen. However, it is well worth the effort.

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  61. Asking questions can be difficult for students when they lack the confidence in what they are reading or studying. In my classroom I have always stressed that there is no such thing as a stupid question or wrong answer. One thing that helps is modeling the questioning process while doing a read aloud. The students need to see that we as teachers have questions as we read. Using questions stems to get them started is helpful. Many times the hardest part is getting them to think in the form of a question. I also feel that part of the questioning process should include listening. We need to listen to the questions that are being asked, the discussions that come from those questions, and new questions generated from the discussions. This helps the students that didn't realize they had a question.

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  62. I thought it was so interesting that the authors talked about younger students being less inhibited with asking questions because they haven't been told they're asking a "stupid question" yet. I'm lucky enough to teach preschool, so my 3 year old students ask a lot of questions about everything, and I appreciate their innocence and honesty. They DON'T know and don't care when their questions sound silly. They're just curious. :)

    I agree that getting kids to ask good questions often comes when good questions are modeled by the teacher. I try to make sure that I'm asking questions that aren't just answered by a simple yes/no but require a little more thought and response. I probably ask the most questions during our science experiments and the books that we read, but even in my one-on-one time or small group work with kiddos, I feel like I'm always asking questions. It's no surprise that the kids that ask the most questions in my class are my brightest students. I try to answer as many questions as I can in the simplest way possible. Some of them they can easily answer or discover themselves at this age, and others would be too difficult. Nevertheless, fostering curiosity and pointing it in the direction of creative discovery begins early.

    I personally feel like I didn't really learn to ask good questions until I was in college. In high school, I was just taught to regurgitate information. I've always loved learning and have been curious about various things, but I wasn't really encouraged to ask many questions or give my opinion much until I was in college. It stretched me and challenged me, but that's when I learned the most and loved learning the most. This is what I try to remember when I'm teaching others. :)

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    1. I agree! In so many ways, college taught me so much more than the obvious. I tell people all the time that I never understood what multiplication actually WAS until one of my math courses in college. I went all the way through school only knowing them as facts to be memorized. When I taught multiplication in 3rd grade, I made sure to not make that same mistake for them!

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  63. I like to start a unit with asking questions. As we begin to learn a new topic why not begin with asking. What does the student want to know? Ask away! This chapter encouraged the curious. I enjoy the blank slate approach before I fill the minds with what the state standards believe the students ought to know. What do the kids WANT to know. After I know what they want to know, I can then blend it with what the state believes they ought to know. This then makes the lesson meaningful and purposeful.

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  64. I really enjoyed reading this chapter and it has me questioning how to get the students comfortable enough with math, the others in the room, myself, and confident in themselves and their abilities to ask and explore the concepts more. I am sure many of them are afraid to admit they lack knowledge or skill in mathematics and are also reluctant to put time into the practice of the skills and to do research on topics. As I was reading through many of your comments, the idea of the wonder wall hit me as a good way to get them to ask questions in an unassuming way. That would be similar to an exit pass and would allow time for me to formulate answers and encourage them to help with answers. I realize that questions are extremely important in math and wish more students would ask questions and more students would volunteer to answer the questions so as to get math talk more prevalent and interesting in the classroom.

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  65. I love the idea of having a day to question and research. Wonder Days would be a lot of fun but the reality of so many standards in so little time limits this in my classroom. I love when students ask questions and I would love to develop their ability to ask good questions but again time and standards limit that time. I feel that I could learn to ask better questions as well, it is definitely an art.

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    1. I love the idea of Wonder Days as well. I would really love to see my high school students have that same curiosity that younger kids have. I too would like to work on asking better questions myself to help promote engagement and curiosity.

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  66. Typically, I answer their questions with a question back to them. This encourages them to problem solve on their own, and maybe even has them ask more questions to help them figure out their answer. Additionally, at the beginning of the year, I do a lesson on reading strategies - one of which is "asking questions." I bring in a piece of wood that is "special" to me, and the students have to ask questions throughout the year to try to figure out why this is so important. Just last week, I had kids STILL asking questions about that wood. I think questioning is a critical skill in so many areas, but especially in reading comprehension.

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    1. So...why IS it important? You've piqued my curiosity!

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  67. Oh my goodness! I teach Kindergarten, so we have NO PROBLEM with asking all the questions. However, I found the section very interesting about how the younger kids get the time to "play" and the older students do not. I am fighting this right now! We are expecting so much from our K kids, we are losing that essential exploring and playing piece. How interesting to see them point this out as something for the older kids and I feel like we're losing it for the younger ones. We learn SO MUCH from our questioning and exploring! How terrible if this is getting squelched in grade levels where it comes so naturally. Is it any wonder that the older kids are having trouble with it?

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    1. I agree that it is extremely important to give young kids time to play and explore! I hope that this is not lost by the time my son is in kindergarten. :(

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  68. Our school corporation is 1:1. Our courses are blended. We work with our students in person every day, but our courses also have an online component. Within our courses we have online discussion board assignments that the students are required to participate in. The discussion prompts often require students to ask questions and research. Students are always required to respond to their peers' posts and ask questions. Then they are asked to respond to their peers' questions.

    Also, a way I get students to ask questions (high school science) is by doing demonstrations. Students ask questions in order to be able to explain what just happened.

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    1. Mindy, I too, work in a 1:1 corporation and we use a digital platform, itslearning, to help manage our online learning and our students. However, I really like that your have used a discussion forum feature to encourage conversation, collaboration, and inquiry in your classroom beyond the regular school day. I am eager to look more into this myself as we have discussion forum features in our online platform. Thank you for the great idea-I am going to look into this!

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  69. WHen I first saw this week's topic, I didn't think I necessarily taught students to ask questions, I just thought I created an open environment in which they felt safe asking all types of questions, no matter how "trivial" or "obvious" they think they might be. However, as I started formulating my answer, I realized that I have been doing it, though mostly my accident.

    I model asking better questions a lot to my students. I teach World History, and we have whole class dicussions nearly every day, in which we debrief over the day's topics and both students and myself are asking and answering questions. My favorite questions are "How?" and "Why?" and "So what?" I ask these questions to get my students to engage in deeper analysis of topics. At the beginning of the year, it is mostly me asking these questions, but as we go throughout the year, these questions come out of the students more and more because they start to have their own desire to understand more deeply our historical topics. So I guess I do teach my students somewhat to ask better questions, simply by modeling and questioning their answering, reasoning, and ideas on everything they say and do.

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  70. I think for students to ask questions they first must feel comfortable and confident within the classroom. I emphasize to all of my students that through communication is where we can learn and grow. Creating this type of classroom environment allows for students to feel comfortable with asking questions.

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  71. Luckily most of my students aren't afraid to ask questions (I usually get a lot of hands whenever looking for deeper questions). There are the few silent types like chapter five talked about. I like to do something similar in that I have students think quietly for a minute or two and then jot down their questions. Then if there is still time, they can turn and share their questions to see if their neighbor has an answer. Afterwards, we discuss their thoughts as a class. I encourage my students to share their neighbors questions/answers.

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  72. When reading, I realized that I have not always given my students nearly enough opportunities to ask questions. I typically do an engagement type of activity to get them aware and excited to learn, but next dive into the research phase, rather than allow the students to come up with their own questions and design their own learning. As a first year teacher, I think this may stem from my lack of experience but I see after reading this chapter that a fundamental, if not the most fundamental piece, in enabling students to ask lots of questions is creating an environment in which they feel comfortable to ask lots of questions. In the middle school setting, this definitely can be challenging. Students in this age bracket are in a new school setting and are worried about how they are perceived by their peers. I have heard students before say they didn’t ask a question because they feared a classmate would think they were “stupid” or “dumb. With that being said, I think one of the most important things I can do moving forward from this chapter to encourage my students to ask many questions is to work to set up a classroom atmosphere that encourages questions. I have a great sense of community in my room already but I am going to work to put more measures in to encourage questioning. Perhaps I will add more portions of class after I give them a “hook” or “engagement” activity in which they stop, jot down questions individually, then as partners, then as a group, then as a class, similar to what the text suggested. As they do this, I too, could model this and come up with my own list of questions and participate in all the steps of the process as if I were a student too. I liked that the authors mentioned it is important as the teacher to express to my students a personal curiosity-that way they feel that they can be curious as well. I definitely need to do this more often. I am also thinking that part of my exit tickets I use frequently in class to check in on student understanding, too, can include a section for students to ask questions (and the questions can be about the subject we studied, the lesson, the unit, or anything they would like to know more about-which I can then use to build later lessons and assessments). Furthermore, to better establish an environment that welcomes student inquiry, I think I might also establish a “question box” in my room. Some students are very shy and will still be hesitant to ask questions, so in brainstorming or work times, they can use a Post-It note to ask questions in the box. I could also potentially use a technology version of this with something like “Today’s Meet”, which is a running anonymous document where participants can submit questions (which I could project for all students to see). In the past, I did a version of a KWL activity to launch a unit in which students were given an additional section on a standard KWL chart in which they had a Q, or question, section where they would write down any questions they had. This not only helped me see as an educator what my students wanted to learn more about, but after reading this chapter I see that this is a step towards allowing the students to be the designers of their learning rather than me asking all of the questions. In the past I had this at the beginning of the unit and students would walk around to large paper after I showed a series of images or people related to our unit of study and they would write their questions on post-it notes then place on the butcher paper. I am definitely going to ask my students to ask more questions in the classroom, and I plan on doing this mainly through modeling, but like previously mentioned, giving them more modalities and opportunities to ask questions themselves. Upon reviewing their questions, I think I can then discuss with them what types of questions there are and how to ask better questions. I also think I can teach students how to ask better questions by having them model how to make questions as if they were a teacher.

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    1. I agree with you about giving students enough time for questions. It is easy to have a mini lesson where they create questions, but much harder to give adequate time during other lessons.

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  73. I teach reading in fifth grade. I try to use a weekly theme for the texts that use to teach the upcoming standards. In March I used Extrme Weather as the theme of all of our reading material. I have my students write questions about the material beforehand. I have Bloom's Taxonomy posted on my wall and encourage them to have questions that start with those words. I love that on page 105 it said the goal is to reach awareness and all begins with wonder. After I get them questioning things and wondering, I feel they are more engaged when reading the test. Then we can dive into the skills of main idea, inferencing, figurative language, etc. I frequently reread the RISE Rubric to see if I am questioning my students at the correct level of the expectations.

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  74. This lesson really challenged me to place more emphasis on questions, rather than pacing the lesson so that I can finish it within a certain pre-planned timetable. I felt that I’d done an injustice to the students, but didn’t have ideas to remedy the situation. Sixth grade in my school district is considered a middle school class, but many have maintained an elementary approach clear into 4th quarter! They ask questions that are a quick fix to the answers: how many sentences, how many paragraphs, what do I have to do to get a high grade, etc. In the midst of them looking for short-cuts, I get the usual number of random questions that chew up time. I feel pressure to get through topics rather than working with the kids to really dig deep into the content. That’s why the 'row' method would be a good starting point for encouraging better questions. Also, I plan to use the chart method where the answer is written on the chart paper, and students try to figure out what questions may have been asked to get that answer. That may be a Wonder Day opportunity! I especially was impressed with the last paragraph of the “What Does This Look Like” which stated, “We want students to be independent thinkers. We want them to be lifelong learners. We want them to be makers. And that all begins by allowing students to ask their own questions. Wish me luck!

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  75. I teach middle school and high school science. At this level you would think that the in depth questions just flow. Well, they don't. I have some students who ask really good questions consistently, but the majority just look at you like you have three heads. I want my students to learn more than just information. The computers can give them info. I want them to be actively engaged in learning and discovery. Like this chapter says, ask tons of questions. I have used a question starter grid with my students to help them to think more in-depth and ask questions that involve more that regurgitation. Sometimes during review, I will use this grid that has question starters like "Why would..." or "Where might". Students then must create questions that begin with different starters. They are not allowed to reuse a question starter they have used in the activity. They must also try to answer the questions so that they can use it when working with a partner. Questions can lead to some really cool science experiments also. That is if students aren't afraid to ask them. I want to find new and different ways to engage students in asking questions.

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  76. I have the privilege of teaching sixth and eighth grade in a new class called Math Connectivity. The focus of my class is to connect mathematics to real-world applications of mathematics through Problem-based and Project-based learning while developing higher order thinking and questioning abilities in my students.

    Initially, students have struggled with this shift in their learning. Many of my students want an easy and quick way of finding an answer - a set algorithm. We also had to work hard on creating a classroom environment where there is no fear of failure.

    How do I "have students ask as many questions as they answer" during our explorations? We do a graffiti board with their questions at the start of each new concept. As we work through our projects when an answer is discovered, the student(s) who determine(s) the answer explains what they found to the class and then puts a check mark beside that question. Then, if other questions come up, they are also written on the graffiti board.

    Do all of the questions get answered during a session? No. But, students are encouraged to seek out the answers on their own. As we develop our own curriculum, students are reaching an increased level of higher order thinking.

    My son is studying animal science in Ireland this semester. His professors encourage their students to find topics they are passionate about in their own studies and conduct research to answer their own questions. I appreciate this right to "own" their own educational endeavors. My son is highly motivated by this approach and wishes there were more of this happening in his classes here at home. I am using some of these ideas in my own classroom now.

    I have a bulletin board in my classroom highlighting Webb's Depth of Knowledge skills. It is an easy reference for the students and me to utilize as we develop our questioning techniques. It is an easy and effective reference.

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  77. I don't think I do a very good job of getting students to ask questions in class. Sure, I do the occasional activity requiring students to write down questions they have over some topic or students will ask questions during a classroom discussions, but I have no systematic approach to improve their questioning skills. As I was reading through the strategies to use to improve questioning, there were two that connected with me. First was Embrace Student Choice. Students often don't find interesting what I think is interesting. If I provide choice in their learning, the probability of them asking better questions would most certainly increase. Second, Practice It Often made a lot of sense. Asking questions is a skill, and students need to practice it often. I think I need to provide many more opportunities to practice our questioning and then to evaluate how well students are questioning.

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  78. As I talked mostly about my freshmen classes last week, this week I will focus on my junior class. I really feel that I encourage my honors juniors to “ask as many questions as they answer.” They honestly ask ¾ of the questions in class, but they are the “gifted” that I know I can easily pass that responsibility to. Their natural curiosity hasn’t been squashed and they thrive when given the opportunity to direct their own learning. For all of the works we read in class, we do Socratic Seminars, which are basically student-centered and student-lead discussions. The types of questions they are asked to create start from being about the book, but then reach out to be about their real lives, history, and current events (related to the issues from the book, of course).

    However, after reading this Launch book, I wanted to experience and talk the “asking questions” a step further.

    After just finishing Crime and Punishment, I usually give out a “creative project” list where they have a list of 6 different types of projects they can complete. But instead of doing that this year, I just told them they were going to come up with their own creative project. They needed to decide what they were most interested in and start asking how they could represent that. I modeled a few questions (such as “How could I best represent Raskolnikov’s inner turmoil? What could I do visually to illustrate his duality? What could I do with auditory senses or songs? Is there a kinesthetic way to show the nature of his dichotomy? Etc... ). There were of course a few students who would rather just be told exactly what to do. However, for the most part, when asked to come up with their own questions as opposed to fulfilling a requirement for a “creative project,” the types of things they came up with were so far beyond what I would have asked of them.

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