One of the best ways to see if a students has understanding of a specific topic is to have him/her ask questions. Asking questions is a higher order thinking skill that allows knowledge of the topic, along with questioning skills to make the questions meaningful. Sure – most kids can probably ask the Who, What, When, Where, Why questions. But how do you get them to ask questions like “Explain how you found the main idea.” or “Can you compare your answer to another problem we’ve done?” This is where it can get challenging.
At my school we’re each given a specific skill, based on our needs, to focus on as a teacher for the year. Mine was getting my students to ask questions during lessons. So to help with that I came up with the idea of having the question words that I wanted to the students to use out for them to see. Of course we all know mustaches are all the rage right now, so how could I pass up the opportunity to use them in my new questioning bulletin board? So ta-da! My new bulletin board!
There are a lot of different ways I use the board. On each mustache is a question word that I’m wanting the kids to use. The one on the yellow piece of paper in the middle is the ‘question word of the week’. This gives us a chance to focus on one specific word a week and how to use that word to ask meaningful questions. If a student asks a question using the question word of the week – they get a small prize. They’re allowed to use any of them.
At the bottom of the bulletin board you’ll see some of Melonheadz ADORABLE mustache kidz! LOVE THEM! Each kid has a talk bubble with a question starter on it. This gives those kids who need a little extra help coming up with a way to start their question some guidance.
The mustaches are just push pinned on for easy movement around the board.
I encourage the students to ask questions any time during a lesson, but there are two specific times when I focus on it. For each lesson, I always model the concept of what we’re learning. When I’m done modeling, I USED to stand up and ask the student “What did you see me do?” The students would then repeat back to me important steps they saw during my modeling. I’ve changed that up now. Instead I say, “Ask me a question about what you saw me do.” You should see them! All of their heads turn to the bulletin board to search for a question word to use! They ask such meaningful questions that allows me to then go back to what I modeled and teach!
The other time I really focus on the questioning is during the student to student interaction part of the lesson. Whether the grouping method is partners, small group, or whole group – questioning is important. Having the students ask questions to one another strengthens their understanding. To help make it more ‘hands on’ I created smaller mustaches that the students could hold up to their mouth (at a distance of course) to help ask each other questions! Check them out!
I copied the exact same questioning words from my bulletin board onto these smaller mustaches. I made multiple sets for whenever we are working in small groups. These have become such a unique and important tool in our class. The types and levels of questions my kids are asking is unbelievable!
Sometimes, after I model in a lesson – I’ll pull a mustache out of a cup at random and make a student ask me a question about the lesson using the word on the mustache. It keeps them on their toes and they love it! Yes, those darn little mustaches were a pain to cut out – but so well worth it!!
I’ve put together the materials you need to create the bulletin board and small mustaches in a free packet on TPT. I hope you find it useful! Just click on the pic below to download.
How do you get your kids to ask questions in class?