How to Teach Question Words
Start this lesson in a group on your rug. You will be activating prior knowledge through a quick full group discussion using guiding questions. Kindergarten students love sharing, as you know! Ask students to share how they would phrase questions in a variety of everyday situations. We recommend pairing each of your questions with a guiding image to help focus students’ attention. You can print these out or project on your smartboard. As students use “who, what, where, when, why and how” words during the discussion, record them in large print on your whiteboard or chart paper. This can serve as a reference later in our lesson. Here are some examples of guiding questions you might consider using:
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- Show an image of a playground. Ask students, “What would you say if you wanted to know what time you can go play outside on the playground?”
- Show a picture of the sun in a blue sky. Ask students, “What would you say if you wanted to know why the sky is blue?”
- Show a picture of a fish. Ask students, “What would you say if you wanted to know what type of fish this is?”
- Show a picture of a beautiful waterfall. Ask students, “What would you say if you wanted to know where in the world this waterfall can be found?”
- Show a picture of a car. Ask students, “What would you say if you wanted to know how this car works?”
Do you teach reading?
Viva Phonics is a phonics-based program that includes video flashcards and decodable sentences and stories.
After students have finished sharing, explain that question words help us get the information we need to better understand the world. We are already using question words every single day– now we are going to practice to make sure we know which question words work best for different situations in our lives!
Guided Practice with the Learning Video
Begin your Question Words lesson by sharing the full 3:27 minute “Question Words” video with students. Repetition is key for Kindergarteners, so we will show students the video multiple times throughout this lesson. Once students have received the initial exposure to the video, you’ll be ready to move on to guided practice using the video.
Now it’s time for a second viewing with embedded opportunities for practice with support. Students will practice answering and asking questions throughout the lesson.
Provide each student with a response journal.
- The learning video will automatically pause after each new word and provide students with guided practice prompts.
- Students will be prompted to record a response to the question word that is related to school. You can decide if you want students to write or draw their responses. Verbally share a full question sentence
with students to guide them.Who goes to a school?
What is the most exciting thing about school?
When is it time to wake for school?
Where is our school located?
How do you get to school?
Why is school important?
- Ask students to share their responses with a peer through a “turn & talk.” Each student should verbally share and respond to their questions with their classmate to practice using the question words. This is also the opportunity to ask a buddy a question after they have shared their responses. Through practice students will begin to understand what question words mean and how to use them to communicate more effectively.
Provide sentence frames during the Extension Activity. Allow students to draw their responses during Guided Practice and Independent Work.
After providing responses, ask students to write a sentence starting with each of the question words (who, what, where, when, how, and why) on their response journal.
Activities to Practice Using Question Words
If time allows, get students ready to apply their knowledge, move around the room and interact with classmates!
1. Give each student three index cards.
2. Ask students to brainstorm and write down three full sentence questions they could ask to get to know their classmates better. Refer students to an anchor chart or list of the question words.
Provide examples of full question sentences before students begin working:
What is your favorite animal?
Why do you like the color pink?
What will you do after school today?
Provide sentence stems such as “What is…” and
Who is…” or allow them to write a picture that will help them remember their question.
3. Once students have their three questions, have them stand in two lines facing each other. Instruct students to ask and answer one of each other’s questions.
4. Then, have one line of students step to the right so that they are matched with a new partner. Repeat the “asking and answering” step and then rotate again.
Continue rotating until each student has “asked and answered” with the full line.
Have each student ask YOU a question before the lesson ends. Make sure the six question words are clearly projected, so that students can remind themselves of how to start a question. An anchor chart can be used if Smartboard is no longer on. For struggling students, have a few ideas ready to share with students. You might say to students….
Ask me about my favorite color.
Ask me about my favorite food.
Ask me about my favorite animal.
Ask me about my reason for being a teacher.
Until next time, patience and practice!