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Getting Your Students to Think

Are you guilty of asking your students too many close-ended questions?  These are the types of questions with one correct answer.  I have to admit that sometimes I find myself getting stuck asking too many of these types of questions.  While they do have a place in learning, we definitely need to make sure that we are asking many more open-ended questions to our students.
So, what’s the difference between a close-ended question and an open-ended one?
Close-ended questions have one simple answer.  This could be a “yes” or “no” answer, or a one word or one sentence answer.
Examples of close-ended questions:
What is your favorite food?
Who was the first president?
What is the problem in the story?
Open-ended questions have a more in-depth answer.  They require the student to think and reflect on their answer.
Examples of open-ended questions:
What are some ways that you think the main character will solve the problem?
Why do you think George Washington made a good president?
What are some simple ways to make sure you are encouraging higher level thinking in your classroom?
Every morning during Morning Meeting, we have a discussion question.  These questions do not have “yes” or “no” answers.  They get my students thinking first thing in the morning.
 This is one of my favorite activities each day.  It is amazing the discussions that these have led to.  I also love that I learn SO much about my students during this time.
I have two sets of 100 questions, if you would like to check them out.
I also just created this Read & Respond packet to incorporate that higher level of thinking into my students writing.
This packet includes short stories followed by an open-ended question for students to write.  You can check these out by clicking on the picture below.
Take time this next week to really reflect on the types of questions you are asking your students.

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