Here’s a great strategy that Linda Settlemyr from South Adams Elementary (Berne, IN) is utilizing based on a poster she purchased from Really Good Stuff. The board is no longer available, but you could implement the strategy without it. Several times a week, she hangs the poster, which reads Today’s answer is…. In the blank, she posts a noun (e.g. spring or family or pet) or a recently studied topic (e.g. Earth Day or habitats or plants).
As students enter, Linda has the board ready and waiting as part of their morning work. When students see a word posted, they know just what to do. They each have to write three questions that match the day’s answer.
The questions started out very simplistic and predictable. But as Linda called on students to read their “best and most unique” question of the three, the students began recognizing the sophisticated thinking of their peers. Linda was quick to compliment those that utilized higher-level thinking skills, “That’s a teacher question!”
Soon kids began to write more meaty, relevant questions, pulling from background knowledge and thinking out of the box to come up with something none of their peers could come up with. Students were impressed with their own efforts.
NOTE: This is a perfect activity for all ability levels in your classroom. Open-ended activities like this allow everyone to bring whatever they can to the table with no limit on creativity.
This simple idea has so much to offer: content-area success and review, comprehension support, and background knowledge! Not to mention there are numerous primary writing skills at work: sentence writing, spacing, capital letters, question marks, word stretching, etc.
Thanks for sharing your success story, Linda.