Questioning at Bunnythorpe School

My name is Liz Owen and I teach year 0-3 at Bunnythorpe School.
After attending the Kainui Cluster ICT Mini conference in April and listening to Trevor Bond, I believe that teaching children how to question is an important skill for them to learn and develop. I did believe at the time that it would be a quicker process than what it is. But have realised that some things are worth taking time over.
I looked at Trevor’s stages and thought about how to make it work in my class.

Step 1:
I looked at how to get my class started into questioning.
The best place to start for my class was a visual display so that they could see what I was talking about and that they had a place to refer to. To do this I needed to alter Trevor’s visual presentation of his stages of questioning to suit my class.
As can be seen below I presented the questioning stages as hot air balloons with sand bags.

Step 2:
Putting up the display set the scene for our introduction to questioning.
We sat down as a class by the display and we discussed the display and I took them through each part. Lots of questions came out straight away, most in the form of what does this mean?
I recorded their questions. This is recorded on my class wiki.

The learning outcome of the lesson was to introduce the display and clarify anything they did not understand.
I also asked how they wanted the answers. The class were unanimous that they wanted the answers printed in clouds and up with the display.


Step 3:
Once the answers were up we revisited our questioning frame and looked at all the answers to their questions.
We looked at what is a question and what is a statement. Each child practiced asking a question and answering it. They came up with the idea that they could gain answers with a question whereas a statement was just telling the information.
Our current goal is to work out if it is a question or a statement that they are saying.
This is the goal we are working on currently and applies to all areas in the curriculum. It is helped along by asking if it is a question or a statement they have just said.
Most of the class have become good at saying whether it is a question or a statement that they are about to say. If in doubt the class helps them.

Step 4:
What is relevant to the current topic and what is not?
We have spent time on looking at whether a question is relevant to the topic or not. So what do you do if it isn't relevant. This came up while I was still working on the relevant questions. After a discussion with Trevor Bond, I decided that if there was time during that segment in class, I would ask the child what thoughts did they follow to get to their non-relevant question. This can be very interesting and can be an eye opener to a teacher into how a child's mind works. It can also be quite hilarious.

Step 5:
Closed Questions:
The class is learning about closed questions. They are learning that closed questions will give them short, to the point answers.
Yes/No or specific answers - A cat has a tail, four legs, fur and purrs. These questions either give them the answer they require or helps guide them to where the information they need may be held.
More to come soon on this ...

Step 6:
Questioning activities using the Seven Servants
more to come soon...