Lesson: Understanding questions on a test

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to rephrase a question in order to understand what details they should locate in a text.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Readers, we have spent the past three days finding out what good readers do to answer identify detail questions.  Today, we will narrow our focus to what good test-takers do while answering questions.  We will use what we already know about answering identify detail questions to re-write questions in our own words.  This test-taking strategy will help us to answer questions in the best way possible.


Teach (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They are expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson. Test-takers it is so important that we understand what a question is asking us before we begin to search for answers.  Sometimes when I read a question, I read too quickly and don’t think about what I’m looking for in the text.  A way to help with this problem is to put each question in your own words to make sure you are looking for the right information. Let’s look at a few questions.


Teacher places questions for the story, Roly-Poly Pill Bugs on the overhead.  Teacher reads aloud the first question.  I think this question is asking me about why pill bugs are sometimes called roly-poly.  I will re-write that question in the space below to make sure I understand.  Teacher re-writes question in own words on the overhead. Now I know when I read the article exactly what I will be looking for.


The second question asks where I will least likely find a pill bug.  This could be a tricky question because it says “least likely”.  This makes me think I am looking for a place that pill bugs would not live or would not like to be.  Watch me as I re-phrase this question.  Teacher writes “a pill bug will not be found here” on the overhead. 


Now you try.  Teacher reads aloud the third question.  Turn and tell your partner how you would rewrite this question.  Students turn and talk and teacher calls on a student to share out.  Teacher writes the students response on the overhead.  Repeat this process with the last three questions, correcting misconceptions when needed.


I think you are all ready to try this out on your own.  When you return to your seats you will read the questions for a different article.  Remember to think about what the question is asking you and pay close attention to key words in the question.  Off you go.


Active Engagement (15-20 mins): Students should return to their seats and re-write the questions for an assigned reading.  The attached document includes a sample format with questions and a place for students to write their re-phrased questions.  The important part of this exercise is that the document used must match the document used to model the strategy.  Teacher should circulate during this time to conference with struggling students.


Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher should collect independent work.  This can be used to determine which students mastered the skill.  It is the decision of the teacher to score mastery based on questions answered correctly or on questions re-phrased correctly.  I focus more on mastery of the skill that was taught rather than finding the correct answer.  Hopefully, most students who correctly re-write the questions also select the correct answers.  I also have students share out their answers after collecting the papers for immediate feedback. 


Reflection: Test passages are often difficult for students to comprehend because they are much more complex than the reading levels of many individuals.  However, providing this strategy as a way to check their own understanding of the question is a good place to begin when teaching students test taking strategies because it forces students to stop and think before rushing to find the answer. 

Lesson Resources

Pill Bugs Article and Questions   
Trap Door Article Part 1.pdf  
Trap Door Article Part 2.pdf  
Trap Door Questions.doc  


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