Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines The Crickets - Section 3: Brainstorming Questions For Investigation


I have been working hard this year on teaching my students how to be thoughtful in formulating questions. I have taught them how to ask questions and evaluate them in terms of thin or thick questions. A thin question does not require as much thinking as a thick question.

I have taught them how to evaluate questions and have asked them to think about how to combine sentences if we found ourselves asking similar questions. 

Now I want to see with this activity how well they move along in asking thoughtful questions about an insect they are interested in learning more about.

What do their questions show? 

  • Grasshopper Questions: This student pushed himself and instead of just asking one question per category he asked two. In looking at his questions, I think he did a good job of balancing the thin and thick questions. I am curious to know who are the grasshoppers' relatives? He took a thin question and made it a deeper question because he will need to do some digging to answer it. He was consistent with using his questions marks at the end.
  • Next, in the sample Questions About Ladybugs, the student repeats herself under the categories of who and what. I didn't have a chance to catch this and bring it to her attention during the brainstorming time, but I will. I find her questions about when do ladybugs sleep and how they get their color very interesting. I feel this shows she is thinking a little deeper about her insect. And for someone who was having a difficult time remembering to use a question mark, at least, in this instance, she is being consistent.
  • My next student, who had Questions About Monarchs, told me she did not have to write the W questions because they were already written on the paper. And so they are. In reading her questions, I believe she does a good job of balancing the thin and thick questions. And, she is taking initiative about how to best use the paper.
  • Lastly, the sample on Termite Questions shows me that this student is curious about different things. First, she asks, what country found them? I am going to ask for clarification about what she means by this. She repeats herself under the category of why and what because both questions ask about the termites eating wood. She wants to know about the history of termites. While she needs to work on revising her questions, I feel there is much thinking work there in how she is formulating the questions.

My students are not going to have the opportunity to answer all the questions they formulated, that was not my goal. I had them ask various questions because I wanted to continue practicing developing questions. They benefit from this practice. I am glad to see how well they have done in asking thoughtful questions.

  Writing Across the Disciplines: Brainstorming Questions
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The Crickets

Unit 5: Charlotte's Web: A Chapter Book Study
Lesson 19 of 27

Objective: SWBAT ask and answer questions about key details in a literary text and in an informational text.

Big Idea: A variety of insects live and thrive on Earth. On the farm, the crickets sing a sad song informing its residents that summer is ending.

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