No Questions?

A colleague and I introduced a project to our classes today. It’s a somewhat complicated project involving linking to and responding to newspaper articles and other students’ opinions. I thought the explanation this morning, complete with projected examples and checking for understanding, went well. I actually felt even a little pleased when there were only a couple questions.

Once our classes returned to our respective classrooms, a student raised his hand and asked, “So what exactly are we doing for the project?” Two others chimed in, “Yeah, we don’t get it either.”

*deep breath as I considered slamming my head against the table*

“I’m happy to go over it, but I’m curious why you didn’t ask that question when we asked for questions.”

He said, “You guys seemed really into the explanation, and I didn’t want you to think I didn’t get it.” The student beside him said, “I didn’t feel like I knew enough to ask a question.”

“So, why did you ask now?”

“You usually take our questions seriously, even the silly ones,” he said earnestly.

So, I broke the assignment into as small as components as I could (Do you understand finding a newspaper article? Do you understand finding a newspaper article about the Middle East? Do you understand finding a newspaper article about the Middle East and linking to it in a blog post? etc). At any sign of hesitation, I stopped and we talked through the requirements.

A good reminder that no questions isn’t necessarily worth patting yourself on the back.

question

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5 thoughts on “No Questions?

  1. I thought it was interesting that your student said “You guys seemed really into the explanation.” It’s amazing what students can read in teachers. You have obviously spent time building relationships –you’re students felt safe enough to ask, even after the fact. Aggravating, sometimes, but good too.

  2. Yeah, that comment kinda took my breath. The presentation of the project was a bit more “formal” than my class usually is, so I wonder if he wasn’t sensing that, too.

  3. Not diigo. I wish, but maybe a bit complicated for sixth graders at this point. Students are choosing two articles on the Middle East and an opinion piece and writing a summary and response for each article on their blog. Then students are writing a reaction to two other students’ responses. They’re posting those on their blogs, but also linking to the other student’s post, so the reaction will show up as a pingback. We’re doing it that way so that all the work will show up in a feed of the tag for the project. If they just commented on each others’ posts, that wouldn’t be the case. For older kids, I’d say go with diigo.

  4. Love this post. I too find myself frustrated when this occurs, and it occurs often. The way that your students voiced their reasons why makes sense in the context of how students are programmed to think and respond in the typical class setting. I will remember this post when it frustrates me next time and try to come up with new approaches and solutions.

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