Questions and Thinking in Common Core
Part 2: Students as Questioners

Document the Thinking

We must also facilitate ways for students to document their thinking.  Younger students can use a post-it note with a word or phrase to mark a place in the reading where they had a question or noticed something.  (If you have an inexpensive source for sticky note arrows used to mark signature spaces on forms, use these!) Students reading on eReaders may be able to use annotation features. Older students can maintain a reading log or reader's notebook during independent reading and interactive read-alouds.   A Fact-Question-Response chart like this one helps students to organize thinking about the facts they encounter in a text, some questions that those facts raise for them, and how they might respond. (“Maybe...”  “It's possible that...”  “Now I'm thinking that...”  “Could it be that...?”)

A tool like Padlet or Linoit can be used for posting the url of an online article for the whole class or small group to read.  Both tools work across free web-based and app versions. Questions can then be recorded on electronic sticky notes; students can trade online sticky note boards and discuss answers to each others' questions.  Images, video, and documents can be embedded with these tools.  Whole boards can be created around a particular piece of text or of a text set. Remember, too, that “texts” have a broad definition in the Common Core.  Texts can be videos, online articles, and other digital works. As students compare and contrast information or characters across texts, they can share their thinking in one handy, online place. 

Paper-and-pencil graphic organizers are another way for students to keep track of their thinking in an organized way. Many are simply two or three-column notes that allow students to record changes in their thinking over the course of a story or longer text.  Some specifically for reading comprehension, reviewed by TeachersFirst, can be found herehere, or here. This KWLS chart  from a lesson at is a variation of a typical KWL chart.  The “S” column is for “What I Still want to know,” a reminder to us that questions often lead to more questions!




IntroductionDeveloping a MindsetDocument the Thinking
Question-Answer RelationshipsQuestioning the AuthorQuestions to Guide Inquiry