1.08 – Questioning: Slide Deck (English Lesson)

The Questioning slide deck follows the same framework that all the literacy skills slide decks do.  It starts by asking students what the skill entails, then it provides a definition for them to copy down.

The slide deck then moves through the three question types (Literal, Inferential, and Evaluative).  For each of these pieces, students should be asked to orally provide their answer, before the answer is revealed.

English Course Pack: Unit One – Literacy Skills

This assignment is part of the The Full English Course Park. This piece is part of Unit One: Literacy Skills, which focuses on creating a strong foundational understanding of literacy skills, PEE paragraph writing, and embedding quotations as textual support.

If you would like to say thanks, consider buying me a coffee. But that is neither required, nor expected.

1.08 – Questioning: Slide Deck

Step One: What is Questioning?

Students should be asked to explain everything they know about questioning, before the definition is presented to them. It is important that students copy down the three question types: Literal, Inferential, and Evaluative. the more comfortable they become with the terminology, the more they will start to internalize it, and use it automatically in their metacognitive processes.

Step Two: The Different Question Types

Students should record the definitions of the three question types, and also take a moment to answer the exemplar questions. During this time, they can express how they came to their conclusions, and express why they think their response is a strong answer.

Attention should be drawn to the fact that a strong answer also rephrases the question in the response.  An answer should convey meaning, even if the reader isn’t aware of the question.

For example, if a student answered “United States” to the literal question, that response would hold no value to anyone who doesn’t know the question.  With that said, the answer “The words on the side of the shuttle say ‘United States’.” does provide context, meaning, and understanding for the reader.

Step Three: Embedded Video Learning

Once again, a short video clip reinforces the concept of questioning. This short clip should reinforce that there are different strengths to each question, and that different question types carry different levels of difficulty. While literal questions are quick to grade, they are not often of value.

Step Four: The Value of Questions

The next slide states “If your teacher asks you a question, it’s because there’s something important to consider in the answer.”  This slide lets students know that when you pose questions, such as “What gift did the protagonist give to their best friend?” you are not simply looking to see if they read the chapter – instead you are drawing attention to the fact that a Gecko (or whatever the gift may have been) was given.  

Students will understand that that literal question isn’t about ensuring that they’ve read the chapter, but about setting them up to be aware that there is a Gecko (or whatever the gift may have been – once more) that will play an important role.

No questions should ever be asked just for the sake of asking.  If they’re not leading to the further development or reinforcement of literacy skills, they hold no value.  This is especially true for literal questions that rarely have a place in the English classroom.

Step Five: PEE Paragraphs for a Reason!

Finally, students will have an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding by responding to an evaluative question.  This question will reinforce PEE paragraphs, and demonstrate the importance of that framework, even when that is not the specifically assigned task. The PEE framework fully prepares students for a strong three part answer.

The Impact

Once students have a strong understanding of the importance of questioning the amount of “why does this matter” questions start slowing down. Students will understand that the old joke about “Why does the English Teacher think the drapes are purple? / Why did the author make the drapes purple?” opposition isn’t accurate.

As educators, we aren’t looking for a specific “right” answer. Instead, we’re looking for the ability to draw connections through inferences, and support decisions. We are looking to have students use evaluative questions to make personal text-to-self connections. When we ask fill-in-the-blank questions, it’s not as a “gotcha” style way to catch people who haven’t read that chapter. After all, who cares if it’s Nurse Ratchet or Nurse Hatchet? What matters is that students are aware that there is a nurse, because they will play a large role in things to come.

This level of transparency with your pedagogy will help students engage with the materials as you move forward.

English – Unit One: Literacy Skills

English Course Packs: Full Units

Unit One: Literacy Skills
Unit Two: Poetry
Unit Three: Literature Circles
Unit Four: Creative Writing & Choose Our Way Tales (In Progress)
Unit Five: Essay Writing (In Progress)
Unit Six: Culminating Tasks (In Progress)

Written by…

Michael Barltrop has been teaching since 2006, integrating comics, video games, and TTRPGs into his classroom. He has been the head of English, Literacy, Special Education, and Assessment & Evaluation and Universal Design. Feel free to reach out through Twitter @MrBarltrop!

Feel free to support the website hosting by buying him a coffee or sharing this post on facebook, twitter, or whatever social media is trending these days.

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