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Question Formulation Technique Module

Students asking questions

Jay Corrigan

on 15 May 2016

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Transcript of Question Formulation Technique Module

Who Wants to Know?
Using student questioning to improve instruction
OK. So What?
What causes students to stop asking questions?
What is one method we can use to encourage students to ask their own questions?
Teachers are the drivers of instruction and inquiry in the average classroom
Teachers ask
Students answer
Teachers Explain
Students take notes
Teachers create
Students complete
Instruction and inquiry flow almost entirely in one direction
From the teacher to the student
Isn't that how education is supposed to work?
And eating dark chocolate has some health benefits . . .
Teachers asking questions and explaining content isn't a bad thing . . .
But the teacher shouldn't be the only person who ever questions and explains
And dark chocolate shouldn't be the only thing you ever eat!
Yes, sometimes
We need to strive for a more balanced questioning diet, one that welcomes more questions from students
you are rewarded for having correct answers . . .
Not for asking good questions
Why is it worth the time and effort to encourage more student questioning?
The average preschool child asks 100 questions per day
But that number declines sharply when kids enter grade school
And by middle school, the number of questions the average child asks in a day approaches zero
Why is there such a drastic decrease in the frequency of a behavior that seems to come naturally to most kids when they are very young?
Because like most adults, kids will do what they are rewarded for doing, and in school . . .
Because part of being college and career ready is being able to ask good questions
"The best we can do for students is to have them ask the right questions"

Nancy Cantor, President, University of Syracuse
"The most common source of management mistakes is not the failure to find the right answers. It is the failure to ask the right questions."

Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management
Because an environment that allows you, at least some of the time, to ask and answer your own questions is more motivating and engaging than one that does not
Because encouraging students to ask questions can create an academic conversation and the more students converse about academics, the more they achieve
What are your thoughts?
What else can teachers do to encourage student questioning?
Make students feel as though they have done you a favor by asking a question
From motivationalmagic.wordpress.com
Leave gaps in instruction that are long enough for students to actually formulate questions
Use exit cards. Have students write down one question they had during the lesson and go over those questions at the beginning of the next class
Introduce a difficult concept or skill at the end of class. Then teach this concept during the next class. Students will be more inclined to ask questions after being given time to reflect on the concept
The Question Formulation Technique includes the following six steps
The Question Formulation Technique
Choose a Question Focus
Students Improve their Questions
Students Prioritize their Questions
Questions Are Used for Instruction
Students Reflect on their Learning
Students Produce Questions
The Question Focus (QFocus) is a prompt presented in the form of a statement, visual/audio aid, short text, etc. The QFocus attracts students’ attention and stimulates the formation of questions.
From: dyslexia.wordpress.com
Four Essential Rules for Producing Questions
Ask as many questions as you can.
Don’t stop to discuss, judge or answer them.
Write every question down exactly as stated.
Change any statement into a question.
Analyzing the differences between questions that are open and closed, thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and changing one type to another, helps students to refine and polish their questions.
From: dyslexia.wordpress.com
From: Dyslexia.wordpress.com
With the lesson plan in mind the teacher offers guidelines for choosing priority questions. This step moves students from thinking divergently to thinking convergently.
From: dyslexia.wordpress.com
By this point, students and teachers can work together to determine how to use the questions they selected.
From: dyslexia.wordpress.com
The teacher reviews the steps and gives students a chance to reflect on what they learned. This step helps students internalize the process so that they can apply it in other settings.
From: dyslexia.wordpress.com
"Questioning is to thinking as yeast is to bread making"
Jamie McKenzie

Practice Steps 1 and 2
Practice Steps 3 and 4
What curriculum objectives do I want to teach?
What QFocus can help students generate questions about the topic?
What curriculum objectives do I want to teach?
What QFocus can "unlock the door" for my students' thinking and get them motivated by the topic?
Here are some of the questions Mrs. B's students asked about the QFocus:
Is a trapezium a 3D figure?
How many faces, edges, and vertices are in a trapezoid?
Who made up a parallelogram?
Does a parallelogram and a trapezoid have the same amount of sides?
What do the arrows mean?
What are the attributes for a trapezoid?
Why do trapezium and trapezoid have the same first 6 letters?
Does the pronunciation of the words effect the relationship?
What does a parallelogram look like?
What do trapeziums, trapezoids, and parallelograms have in common?
What are the questions you have about the QFocus? Don't forget to follow the rules!
Mrs. B's students classified their questions as open and closed:
1. Categorize your questions as opened or closed

2. Rewrite one closed question so that it becomes open, and vice versa

3. Choose priority questions
Most important
Class Discussion
Making a presentation
Here is a question Mrs. B's students changed from open to closed
From Grade 5 Math (Geometry)
Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories fo that category. For example, all rectangles have four right angles and squares are rectangles, so all squares have four right angles
Knowledge of classifying two dimensional figures to see relationship among the attributes of two-dimensional figures
From Grade 7 History of the Medieval World
Practice using cause and effect reasoning skills to realize the connection between them and determine why certain events occurred and whether they are related
Examine the fundamental teachings, influences, and practices found in Judaism, Islam . . .
Analyze the impact of religion as a cultural and social force such as the role of Islam in the Islamic world
From the Core Curriculum
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
A closed question is answered with a one-word response such as yes or no or another single word. For example, Is this going to be on the test?
An open question requires more explanation. For example, What will be on the test?
Here is a question Mrs. B's students changed from closed to open
The authors suggest having students reflect on the rules by thinking about:
Whether each rule is easy or hard to follow
The advantages and disadvantages of each rule
What makes a good QFocus?
It has a clear focus
It is not a question
It provokes and stimulates new lines of thinking
It does not reveal teacher preference or bias
Possible criteria for choosing priority questions
Why open and closed questions?
Because questions can be classified in a million different ways but spending too much time learning how to classify questions takes away focus from the learning that occurs when students ask and analyze their own questions
And the key lesson of this activity is that the construction and phrasing of a question shapes the kind of information you can expect to receive
Does the pronunciation of the words
effect the relationship?
What do trapeziums, trapezoids, and parallelograms have in common?
Why do trapezium and trapezoid have the same first 6 letters?
Is a trapezium a 3D figure?
How could a trapezoid turn into a parallelogram?
Can a trapezoid turn into a parallelogram?
Do they all have something in common?
What do they all have in common?
Writing an essay
Developing a project
Class discussion
Reading a text
Student interest
Most important
Criteria: Most important
Criteria: Class discussion
Criteria: Making a presentation
One group of Mrs. B's students chose this question as being most important for helping them learn about the attributes of two-dimensional figures:

What do trapeziums, trapezoids, and parallelograms have in common?
Why do trapezium and trapezoid have the same first 6 letters?
What is a trapezium?
Beginning of instruction
Middle of instruction
End of instruction
Students ask questions about previous instruction to guide a class discussion or Socratic Seminar
Teacher uses student questions as an assessment to guide future instruction
Students use their questions to shape homework assignments
The teacher references student questions from the beginning of a unit to see how questions are being answered
Students use questions to design final projects
The teacher uses the QFT to review learning that occurred during a unit
The QFT can be used effectively before, during, and after instruction
Reflections can be focused on what the students learned, how the students felt about the process, or how the students' behavior might change as a result of this process.
Questions about feelings
How did you feel about asking your own questions?
What are some advantages and disadvantages of this process?

How might teachers use this process to engage their students in learning?
I'm going to show you how the process works and you're going to practice!
Advantage: you get a very specific answer

Disadvantage: they don't give you a lot of information
Advantage: You get more information

Disadvantage: You might not get the information you need
It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it. ~Jacob Bronowski
Some examples of QFoci from the book:
"Torture can be justified"
"Pollution harms Boston residents"
"Cigarette Smoking"
Different math problems
Text titles
From the New York Times

Libyans Suddenly Cut Short their Strange Pilgrimage to Israel
Mrs. B's students commented:
"I felt smarter because I was asking questions."
"It was fun to work with my team to ask questions."
"I really wanted to learn the answers to my questions."
Because students asking their own questions is part of the Common Core Curriculum and the accompanying shifts in educational practices
Four Essential Rules for Producing Questions
Ask as many questions as you can.
Don’t stop to discuss, judge or answer them.
Write every question down exactly as stated.
Change any statement into a question.
Jay Corrigan
Frederick County Public Schools
Full transcript