Transform Your Classroom with the Power of Question of the Day
The Question of the Day is the classroom tool I didn’t know I needed. My friend and colleague, a retired reading special, recommended them to me years ago. I saw her use them in her space and thought it was cool, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into my own practice or if it was necessary.
She developed a HUGE amount of questions over the years for use in many different classroom settings, student groupings, and grade levels. I’ve compiled them all into one big massive list. You can print these and use them as a book of questions to pull from each day. Or better yet, have a student select the question and write it each day.
I have started posting them at the front of the room on a corner of the board each morning. This produced immediate interest and most kids were excited to respond. I leave the question up for the entire day. As an extra incentive, I give a piece of candy to those who choose to respond.This has helped with buy-in from some kids who are “too cool for school.” Here’s an example of what it looked like one year in my room:
Most kids are really into it. I have an advisory group that comes dashing in each mentor day and wants to answer the question. I’ve already learned some really cool things about kids that I didn’t know before.
For ESOL, this is A GREAT starting place for language development. Not only can you get to know your students in a more personal way, but “Question of the Day” asks them to read and respond daily in a way that is interesting to them. Sometimes that initial buy-in is all you need to get more long-term buy-in overall. I’ve included this in my English Language Development Unit 1 as part of the core practices that I implement each year with my classes to encourage literacy and engagement.
5 Great Uses for Question of the Day
- As a Bellringer, DoNow or Warm-up
- To encourage daily quick writing or building writing strategies
- As a discussion prompt for students to get to know one another
- To build a strong classroom community
- Thematically to go deeper during specific units of study
I am considering expanding this practice to part of their daily journal writing, but I’m liking the way that it is working right now. I may try to get a larger whiteboard that I can fully dedicate the “Question of the Day” for future years.
In short, I’m hooked and you will be too if you try it!
Question of the Day tips from a reading specialist…
My favorite use of Question of the Day was when I had a classroom with a large wall covered in whiteboard paint. I wrote a question on the board and students responded to it when they arrived. This served as a “do now” for the early arrivers and gave me time to set up between classes as needed. The responses stayed up all day so students viewed what people in other classes had to say.
In later years, I no longer had the big board but I did have a reputation for having candy. I suddenly had students I’d never met before dropping by. This seemed like a great opportunity to get to know students who would never be in my small reading classes. I used a Question of the Day. I wrote the question on a small white board. Students had to give an answer to get a piece of candy. It made for a busy time between classes but I got to know a lot of students!
Use Question of the Day for Writing. For students at a basic level, use the daily question to practice the “Turn the question around” strategy. For this, the student reads the question (What is your favorite color?) and uses the question to generate a response (My favorite color is blue.). Use the questions for quick writes for daily writing practice. Then use quick writes for developing longer pieces of writing. Keeping short answers in a writer’s notebook gives students ideas to look back on to develop into longer pieces of writing.
Discussing the Question of the Day can help acquaint students. This can be done in a structured manner, including a review of what makes a good discussion. It could also be done informally when they are seeing each other’s responses. You could have students form two lines, facing each other, and discuss the questions presented with the person across from them. Have one line move and give another question. Use questions with a specific responses as a 4-Corners type activity. There students group with others who have the same responses. You can also do this with yes/no and “Would you rather…” responses.
Choose questions randomly or in a structured manner. I often used the drawing questions on Friday to change things up. I usually had a reading question at least once a week. Many responses can be extended by adding “why?” or “explain your answer” to them.
You can purchase this on my Tpt, the image is linked below.