Preparing To Ask Questions

3 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT collaborate to create common questions to ask a like group of people and practice asking and answering interview questions using complete sentences. (Staff at our school.)

Big Idea

Interviewers must know what to ask and how to ask it.

Get Ready

15 minutes

This is the second day of a unit about writing biographies. We will start by reviewing the common questions we collected from published biographies.  Then we will add to the list. Finally, we will practice asking the interview questions.

I gather students to the rug. I have yesterday’s list of questions in view.  

Remember, our class is going to write biographies about the staff at school. People coming into our school often don’t know anything about the people who work here with you. When we complete the biographies about the adults in our school, we will display them in the entrance. You will be providing valuable information to students, parents and visitors to our school.  Yesterday we ­­­looked at published biographers and noticed what information they included in their work.

Today our task will be to create our own list of questions we will ask the people here at school that we will be writing about and practice asking questions.

Yesterday we ended the lesson by choral reading the list of questions, so I am not spending much time on that. I tell the students that it would be more efficient if we group questions up into categories. Inquiry based questioning is great, but just giving students information they need to proceed is also very valuable. Therefore I don’t have them “discover” and name the categories, I TELL them what I see in the list of questions.

I write Vital Statistics on the board, and bullet birthdate and birthplace, hometown, siblings, married, children. I cross off those questions from our list. I add the following categories.

·        Childhood

·        Things to remember

·        Life now

·        Your job

·        Favorite things

·        Accomplishments


When I run out of questions the students collected from yesterday, I project the form I developed and ask them to help me read it.   I will tell the students I wrote the questions we discovered down, and added to them. I will be honest about how I “thought up” what questions to ask. I googled interview questions and picked ones I thought were interesting. I actually made sure I had enough questions so each of my students could ask one! I tell the students we are going to practice the questions on the form. I have a form cut up with strips of questions.

Get Set

15 minutes

I ask the students to sit in a  in a circle on the carpet. See my resource for doing that quickly!  I will draw student names to ask the questions randomly. Students may ask anyone in the circle the question on the slip. Some of the questions will not apply, but the “answerer” must use a complete sentence to answer (e.g. "I am not married.")  Standard 2.1.a requires students to follow agreed rules for discussion, and practicing asking and answering in a group situation is a great training ground for that. The surprising answers were a treat!  I also modeled and helped students rephrase answers into complete sentences or to include details.(SL2.6)




Go to Work

20 minutes

I will pass out the form and let them know they will get to ask me questions. This time they need to go in order the questions are on the form. They ALL must write my answers down.  They will have varying levels of ability with this task, but since it is collaborative, all efforts will be acceptable.  Blank areas will not.  Since all students are responsible for writing down the answers, I just use my roster to choose students to ask the questions.

This is a practice run to "gather information to answer a question," a W.2.8 standard.


5 minutes

After the last question has been asked - honestly, I didn't care if the whole form about me was filled out, I just wanted them to have practice writing down answers -  I went on to the searching for an answer to clarify. As soon as I saw that they had the process of listening to another student ask a question and writing down my answer I gave them the next direction.

Now boys and girls we are going to review the information you now have about ME! Read the answers. Highlight with crayon an answer that surprised you or you think people will want to know about. Save your interview sheet for tomorrow. Come to the rug.

When the students settle on the rug, I ask them to tell a neighbor what answer they highlighted. What did they want to know more about? Then I ask them to give me a thumbs up, or sideways to grade if we accomplished our task:

Today our task was to create our own list of questions we will ask the people here at school that we will be writing about and practice asking questions.   Did we do that?