Analyzing Questions

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SWBAT analyze text and formulate questions relating to a story

Big Idea

Students learn to focus on details while analyzing text.

Revising Factual Questions

20 minutes

     After much practice with identifying and analyzing types of questions, students are introduced to the next step:  creating their own interpretive questions.  See links of previous lessons:

     There are many ways to revise questions in order to make them interpretive. Even interpretive questions can be strengthened and clarified.  Once students have converted their notes into questions, I encourage them to look it over and follow guidelines to edit and revise prior to beginning shard inquiry.

     First, most students are very comfortable asking factual questions.  I show them how to turn their factual questions into interpretive just by a little tweaking. For example, one student wrote: "Does the fisherman's wife always want more stuff ?".  This was a factual question that can be answered "yes".  However, if we changed it to:  "Why does the fisherman's wife always want more stuff ?", it becomes an interpretive question.  I explain to students that interpretive questions have more than one answer.  So, we tested it out.  One student answered, "because she doesn't like the hut since she said it is too small for both of them."  Another student added, "I think it is because she is bossy, so she likes to order her husband around. She just wants him out of the house, so she keeps sending him away."  Both students answered this question differently and yet both answers can be supported by text.  This meets our criteria for interpretive question.

    At this point, I ask students to convert their factual questions from their notes and tweak it to form interpretive questions.  At the end of this activity, we share our conversions as we gather together to share our ideas.

Revising Evaluative Questions

20 minutes

     Some students have difficulty differentiating between interpretive and evaluative questions.  Both are inferential questions, with different nuances.  Evaluative questions require answers that requires both judgment based on personal experiences, values, or perceptions; and supports from text. Text-based evidence strengthens students' abilities to comprehend text and deepens comprehension. Common Core explicitly creates avenues for students to connect deeply with texts, even as they bring in outside information.  Interpretive questions require text based evidence.  For example, one student wrote: "What would you wish for if you were the fisherman ?" can be changed to:  "Why didn't the fisherman make a wish when he first met the fish?"

    Although evaluative questions are excellent ways to engage students in shared inquiry discussions, it should only be used after students gain experience using interpretive questions. Otherwise, students need to understand the text first through interpretive questions prior to making connections with their own life experiences through evaluative questions.  It is sequential.  

    At this point, we explore their post it questions and Reading journal entries to tweak evaluative questions and revise them into interpretive questions.

Revising Vague Questions

20 minutes

     This is the final stage of revision.  We review all our questions derived from our post it notes to check for vague questions.  For example, one student wrote: " Why is the fisherman's wife so mean?"  The word mean has many connotations.  This question can be clarified by tying it to the character's motives.  Also, students can cite incidents in the story to describe the word "mean".  For example, "Why does the fisherman's wife send him back three times to the fish against his will ?"  I encourage students to use words directly from the text.  When students use their own words and not refer back to the text, they risk changing the meaning of the story and confusing their discussion group members.  

      Students begin to look back into the text and clarify questions that are unclear or confusing.  Once they are satisfied with their questions, we compile them together.  I ask students to select two of their favorite questions and write it down on index cards.  I select and write  three student generated questions on sentence strips and place them in our pocket chart (See Source).   One of the three questions will be selected for our Shared Inquiry discussion at our next lesson.  We table our discussion for the following lesson.