I like this book because the text is within 2nd grade level and it had clear illustrations. We'll be using both the illustrations and text to find answers to the questions (RI.2.1), so it's important that both are clear. Using text features to answer questions (RI.2.5) is a big part of this lesson and it's a great review for the students to pay attention to these as they read and understand what each one brings to the meaning of the writing piece. Finally, this lesson highlights the use of illustrations specifically and how they contribute and clarify a text. (RI.2.7)
If you have not taught lessons about question writing, I encourage you to look at some of the earlier lessons so your students get some practice with writing and answering questions. These lessons include The Whys and Whens of Questioning about Literature, Big Questions About Informational Text, So What Do You Think, Using Evaluative Questions with Literature, and Evaluative Questions-Pick Your Side and Argue.
** When I taught this lesson the 3rd time, I was in a different Science/SS unit. I developed this "Kinds of Questions' worksheet, which is more generic and can be used with any non-fiction topic. I'll use this one from now on, because it's more applicable and requires less writing.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Get students engaged
Common starting point
Give the purpose of the lesson
Evaluative questioning is more difficult for students, but I want them to have some practice with guidance. The Boston Tea Party is a great topic for this, and the viewpoint is clear for the students to see. My goal is to engage them and let them lead some of the questioning and opinions. Helping students to be active participants in their learning supports the level of rigor of the standards in the Common Core. Students who can ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RI.2.1) are facilitating their own learning.
My goal with this group activity is to encourage thinking and active learning about answering questions. I want the students to think about a question before they answer so they determine where they could find the answer. I also want them to become more introspective about answering inferential and evaluative questions and recognize them as such. When students can 'think' as they work ('the answer is not on the page but I know about this topic so I'll write what I know'), they will ultimately become stronger learners.
What did you learn
This was my favorite part of the lesson. The kids are very honest with their answers that the literal questions were easy. Many of them liked the evaluative questions because there was a lot of discussion, although 'agreeing' on a group answer was sometimes a struggle. They really did become more introspective about questioning and we will practice the inferential and evaluative comprehension questions again.
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with learning challenges should be grouped with a partner or be given prompts to choose where to put the questions. Although the discussion with about each kind of questions might be difficult, it is still good to use the vocabulary and great to challenge the students. This is a discussion I had with one of my students with academic challenges. I did prompt him, but he had learned some great basic ideas.