There is a common theme that keeps resurfacing among educators in my PLN: the importance of questioning in the classroom. Students today can easily find the answer to any question, with just a click of the mouse. But, are they asking the right questions?
Last year, I used Making Thinking Visible routines developed by Project Zero Classroom that encouraged students to generate questions at the beginning of a unit. These were extremely insightful for me because I could assess their prior knowledge and interest about the topic. Their questions shaped the direction of the unit and inspired research projects. But, I noticed something troubling…my fifth graders really struggled to write questions.
This year, I will try a new-found resource to help students understand the many different forms of questions – using this Questioning Toolkit, which was shared in a session with Alan November. There are over a dozen different types of questions – students need to understand the difference and purpose of each. For example, an inventive question is very different from a provocative question. Starting as early as Kindergarten, students need to be introduced to the mechanics of crafting a good question. The students who will be successful 21st century learners are those who can ask imaginative, thoughtful questions. The answers are easily found, but the questions are hard and must come from the students.
Here is the real challenge: can you create an unanswerable question, a question which cannot be googled?