Monday, April 4, 2011

Creative Questioning

I have enjoyed spending a little time in each of my daughters' third grade classrooms and getting to know their students. I usually spend a few minutes reading "Would You Rather" questions out of a fun children's book by Heimberg and Gomberg. Would you rather be able to answer any teacher's question when called on, but only if you used a phony French accent OR be able to solve any math problem, but only while barefoot? Kids love these silly questions. It's also a fun way to get them to use their noggins to imagine and to creatively think. We also spend a few minutes with silly knock-knock jokes. I'm not sure, but I might enjoy those more than the kids, but I think it's fun for everyone.

Here are some fun ideas for stretching your child’s thought process by thinking outside the box and asking them to use their sense in an unusual way.

• Have children close their eyes (or blindfold them) and then guess what you have placed in their hands – a piece of foam rubber, a small rock, a feather and favorite toy, etc.

• Ask them to change things to make them the way they would like them to be. For example, What would taste better if it were sweeter? What would be nicer if it were smaller? What would be more fun if it were faster? What would be better if it were quieter? What would be more exciting if it went backwards?

• To encourage their creative thinking skills, ask children a questions which requires a variety of answers – What are some uses of water? What floats in water? How does water help us? What always stays underwater? What gets bigger in water? What are the different colors that water can be? Other concepts to use are fire, sand, cars, smoke, ice, etc.

• Ask “What would happen?”questions. What would happen if all the trees in the world were blue? What would happen if all the cars were gone? What would happen if everybody wore the same clothes? What would happen if you could fly? What would happen if no one cleaned the house?

• “In-how-many-different-ways” questions can also be fun: In how many different ways could a spoon be used? In how many different ways could a button be used? In how many different ways could a string be used? In how many different ways can we sit in a chair?

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