From discussion to fruition…
After a grade meeting with Ms. M and my third grade cohorts, I tried a lesson addressing big questions. Questioning is a reading strategy that engages the student with text. We discussed big (deep, analytical questions) versus smaller (recognition) questions.
Below is the outcome of the lesson. Created entirely with and by the students of Class 3206.
January 13, 2010 Reading Lesson
“Today we discussed questions. We were talking about big questions and little questions. Big questions take a long time to figure out the answer — to study about and write about. Big questions often start with why or how and end with an explanation. Little questions take a short while to answer and you can find the answers right in the text. After we talked, we recorded questions about a book called Little Miss Spider. Then Ms. A. read us the text and we asked more questions about the book. We couldn’t wait for the book to be finished because we had so many questions. Below is a list of our biggest, most juicy questions.
Our Before Questions
Joanne wonders, “How does Miss Spider feel?”
Mya asks, “What does little Miss Spider do in this story?”
Taz ponders, “Why does little Miss Spider get picked up by a beetle in the back of the book?”
Meredith asks, “Why is the book called little Miss Spider?”
“What is the main idea of this story?” asked Chiara.
Chris wonders, “Why was little Miss Spider on a leaf?”
Our After Questions
Christian asks, “Why did the beetle risk her life over little Miss Spider? (Ms. A thinks this is a great big question). Also why did little Miss Spider leave her sibling?”
Adam and Richal also want to know why the beetle helped little Miss Spider.
Jesica asks, “Why is little Miss Spider looking for her mother? Is she going to just stay there with beetle or see if her mother comes home?”
The other Jessica ponders, “Why does little Miss Spider and her mother separate?”
“Why did the author write this story,” asked Rianna.
Crystal asks, “Why did the white spider tell little Miss Spider that the bird was her mother because the white spider tricked little Miss Spider to go to a dangerous bird nest.”
Cassidy asks, “Why was she called little Miss Spider?” — This started a discussion about what a big question is. We thought that a bigger question can be about the lesson (or theme) of the text. After piggybacking, building, explaining, and even respectfully disagreeing, we decided that the theme is about family which is love and that you do not have to be related to somebody to be nice to them or to take care of them.
(Ms. A wants to say a special thanks to the kids who were very engaged in this conversation: Yousef, Adam, Taz, Mya, Christian, Joanne)
(Ms. A and Chiara both found the last page especially touching)