Besides modeling :) How can we teach students to ask great questions? How does this support a great learning environment?

Last night, me and @rdene915 hosted another #formativechat! It was on :fire:

We’d love to continue the conversation in our community and hear your thoughts on how to create awesome learning environments for students! Here’s Q1 from our chat!

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@informed_members @Certified_Educators

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First of all, we need to point out when they ask good questions, and tell them why it’s a good question, so they know what good questions look and sound like.

One way to encourage students to ask questions (not necessarily ‘great’ ones) is to pose and answer or present a graphic and have students generate a list of questions that will have that specific answer, or questions that can asked about the graphic, or even questions that come to their minds while they look at that graphic. Then the teacher can facilitate and point out good questions and ask how was can make the questions even better.

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I was thinking more on the lines generating question stems. By doing this it gives students students a guide to what were looking for. This skill of providing students a framework to look for each time would be so rewarding. Another way we can teach students to ask good questions is by making the learning process to asking good question fun. For example this can be done through a jig-saw, station rotation or even a scavenger hunt to name a few. Mind mapping could be an awesome strategy as well and each time they uncover a new discovery in the inquiry process it could open the next part of a question. Lastly, my new favorite is to embrace student choice. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Question stems are great! My students like to just blurt out 'I don’t understand," or “I don’t get it.” So, I started creating question stems for them after I ask "Does anyone have any questions? For example,…
… Mrs Mintner I don’t understand where you got that ‘3.’
… I subtracted 5x on both sides instead of adding 2x like you did, is this okay?
… Why did you…?

Of course, this is ‘modeling.’ However, that being said, I didn’t have those ‘cheap’ questions as often.

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This is such an easy and powerful idea to implement! Thank you for sharing it!

I also love this idea as well! I can see it being a great opportunity for students to be creative, think of different possible questions to ask, and learn from what their peers are wondering! The graphic component could be applied to a variety of subject areas where students pose investigative questions about how a mistake was made (based on a sample of student thinking), a historical art piece, or simply a visual scenario (great for practicing language).

I love these ideas! I could see them all being aligned in one lesson where a student starts with a “what” question, which leads to a “how”, “why” and eventually posing their own “what if” scenario. The students could make choices in terms of the specific questions they ask within that framework and create a mind map throughout the process to document their learning!

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I would use the Question Formulation Technique - it is a method that when used right has always produced student questions. Asking questions is one of the science practices in NGSS

Check out the right question institute
Here is a clone of a formative I have made using a phenomenon to direct the generation of student questions using the Question Formulation Technique

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I like the redirect and how you make explain the process to you. Good example of stems. Thanks

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:thinking: I like the flow of the questions. Thanks for helping me plan for my upcoming school year :laughing: I like the fact that mind mapping would be a process instead of doing it all at one time. This way students can go back and pull info from previous ideas.

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I love a good thinking/question stem to practice and practice and practice. These also go great with student writing too! Then there is nothing more rewarding than when students start to do it all on their own! Takes lots of praise, practice and support, but I love when it catches like a wildfire in their thinking!

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Giving thinking time really helps students to develop great questions. For example, using the visible thinking routine ‘See, think, wonder’- with a visual stimulus and providing students with up to 5 min to first write down observations, then inferences and then generate thoughtful questions is a great way to get students thinking deeply and asking fantastic questions.

Also, getting students to generate a number of questions on post-it notes and then posting all questions up on a whiteboard and categorising the questions as a class can lead to really interesting questions and discussions.

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Thanks again for joining our orientation today, @jdunn ! I love these two ideas that you share! Here’s some awesome examples of I See…I Think…I Wonder… formatives that @niko created! He has other awesome formatives in that thread which support visible thinking routines:

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Great! Thanks! I will definitely look at those - I love visible thinking routines and would love to explore how to use formative to facilitate thinking routines in class.

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Welcome! Thank for your contribution to this topic

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Things that make you go hmmm.
“Now that’s a good question” , I LOVE the idea of using images - since there are no words they have to come up with their own inferences and questions. I have to remember this in my daily challenges. SOOOOO good. I have a lot of students with reading challenges but they can have conversations just fine. So images is a foot in the door to their brain. Thanks for sharing.

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Holy Schmokes Batman! Can I give this 5 million likes? I think this could be used by any teacher to help students learn how to ask questions - AHHHHHHHH! Sorry - just beside myself : )

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What I love about this I see, Think, Wonder is that the image could be edited so this can be used for any class to wake students brains up for formative assessment. I REALLY like this simple clone!

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Agreed! @mszczepanik , this an awesome formative! I think one thing that makes it great is how intriguing the article is and how it naturally encourages learners to think of a variety of interesting questions. I also LOVE how you adapted the graphic from The Right Question Institute and Teach Thought using the Formative Upload & Transform feature! This seems like an effective way to help students come up with a variety of questions and distill them down to the ones they actually want to explore. I also like how you give them an opportunity to actually explore the questions they come up with and reflect upon what they’ve learned. Lastly, I think it’s great that this is a group activity so that students can learn from what their peers are wondering too!

Altogether, this is such a simple and powerful way to support students in not only learning how to develop great questions, but also in driving their own learning.

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agreed! As you mention, I think @niko 's formative really helps students see that their teacher is genuinely interested in what they are thinking (apart from the context of grades or looking for a correct answer). I think it that using formatives like this helps build a culture of learning where students feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.

The first thing that comes to my mind is giving students enough time to come up with clever questions. As teachers we want to elicit good participation, but often don’t give enough time for students to come up with good answers or questions. In World Languages one thing that can be done is showing a video or a web site page, and have students come up with their own questions for other students to answer. Teacher has to monitor that the questions are easy enough for classmates to answer ( a common thing unfortunately is students using Google Translate as a shortcut and then ending up with questions that are beyond what anyone else can answer or even very badly written questions - depending on how Google Translate is behaving that day… :slight_smile: )
With GoFormative, there are a variety of ways to ask questions and I would encourage my students to create their own Formative and share it with me, so I can make sure it’s appropriate for the class before administering it.

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