Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School Questions for Innovative Families to Ask Their Children

Over at the Technology Teacher blog Mrs. V shares how she took Will Richardson’s blog post about his children starting at a new school a step further. Will (one of my favorite bloggers!) shares that he has high hopes for an authentic education for his childmeaningful POSTERren at their new school stating that he wanted to be sure to ask his kids more interesting questions than the usual “How was school today?” or “What did you do at school today?”Learn about world POSTER

After reading his suggestions, Mrs. V did what Technology Teachers do. She took his idea and added a little innovation by turning the questions into posters.

Every innovative educator should be sharing questions like these with their student's families and these posters really bring the questions to life.

Working with POSTERHere are some more ideas for questions from Will:
-->What did you teach others?
-->What unanswered questions are you struggling with?
-->How did you change the world in some small (or big) way?
-->What’s something your teachers learned today?
-->What did you share with the world?

I recommend schools come up with their own additional questions and consider making posters with students. Perhaps this is even some sort of contest. These can be shared on the parent/family page of their website or wiki and be printed out and used as reminders for family talk. I am sure innovative parents and other family members could think of some great ways to capture student answers using a traditional journal, or perhaps a blog, or video collection of answers or maybe even status updates on Facebook or Twitter with a special tag for this topic.

What are your questions? What are your ideas around using these questions?


  1. Thanks for the mention of my blog post.

    You have some excellent ideas to take this a step further. I really like the contest idea and sharing with parents.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. I just loved this article and its message. I work in the education field and I sometimes wonder how often parents even ask the simple questions..."What did you do at school today?" or "What did you learn about today?". These five questions really push our kids to be active learners. Teachers are always prompting students to think and go beyond what they feel comfortable with. If parents do the same thing, even if only asking one simple question, then the children will only benefit from the conversation and engagement. I will definitely start to come up with more questions like these and ask the parents of my students to ask them.

    Thanks for the great article!

  3. Lisa, I've been collecting these for a little while now... it's a great thought-exercise, and even more rewarding to put into practice...

    Did you all talk about the real world today?
    Who did you eat with?
    What was the funniest part of your day today?
    What was the most challenging part of your day?
    Did someone in your class change their mind about something today?
    What do you wish you could stop doing?
    What do you wish you could do more of?
    How do you think your reputation is shaping up?
    It sounds like you... (reflect back to them to see if you've got it right... deep listening is POWERFUL)

    Thanks for breathing a little life to this idea, Lisa!

  4. Wow, am just noticing now that this post is from 2009... dang, Lisa, you are a serious thought-leader! :-D

  5. This is a great article posing some interesting questions. Developing the Language of learning both in the classroom and the home allows us as educators to extend the classroom into the home.

    We have recently held talks with our parents about what they perceive a learning focused school to be. We were lucky to have this session led by Martin Skelton (@martlearning) who designed a program called ‘Looking for Learning’. To train teachers, children and parents to ‘look’ for learning in all that they do is at the forefront to establishing a learning focused school.

    We encourage our teachers to ask themselves daily –
    What did your students learn today?
    Is that learning knowledge, skills or understanding?

    Can you imagine the possibilities if both teachers and parents were singing from the same ‘learning songsheet’. By all means suggest questions for parents to use, but take it one step further and educate parents how to ask these questions and take their children’s learning further at home.

    Thanks for the article; it provided great food for thought!