Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Find Someone and Ask: #SOL15, Day 17

During March I'm participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers. I'm grateful for the dedication Stacey, Betsy, Tara, and the others bring to the challenge each day and for their commitment to visit the blogs of participants. 

I've never been shy about asking questions, about raising my hand in class, about participating in discussions of any kind. Even when traveling, I'm ready for a chat and love meeting new people and learning about them. 

Many students, however, live more reticent lives. Bringing them into the academic conversation isn't always easy, but "FIND SOMEONE AND ASK" changes that dynamic. 

In our ongoing study of British poetry, an early activity that gets kids talking about poetry and reading their poems closely that I use is FSaA. Credit for the activity goes to the brilliant student teacher I had last year, Drue Nagamo. 

Students each have a grid with nine squares. Each square has a question. Each student must get a new respondent for each square. Students must ask their classmates and record the answers. After they finish, we talk. It's an organic discussion that follows no set pattern. 

FIND SOMEONE AND ASK gives students a casual atmosphere for talking about and sharing classic texts.

A caveat: This activity should not be used to transfer textbook questions onto a handout. The questions need to avoid feeling like a worksheet. 

It's not just the teacher's job to ask and answer. As Albert Einstein admonishes us: "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

Go ahead and find someone and ask. You might like the questions and the answers. 

*A more detailed lesson plan is on the Better Lesson dot com website in the Master Teacher Project and can be found in my poetry unit, Unit 10, Lesson 3. 


  1. Glenda, a great idea. Love how the questions are diverse (took a look at the resource you recommended) and how this work leads to the development of community knowledge. Hope to try it out on Thursday.

  2. When I was in the classroom a number of years ago, I did a very similar activity. You are correct, it's casual and most kids love it!

  3. This "find someone and ask" activity is an excellent way to make questioning second-nature for students - love this! I know they had fun with this activity. Asking questions is an essential skill, as you note!!