Thursday, November 08, 2012

What letter always comes after "Q"?

So we are driving in the car, taking my kids home from school (daycare), and my 4 year old is telling me about the letter of the week: Q. He is describing how the letter q is simply a circle with a small line going through part of it. He then tells me words that he is learning that begin with the letter q: Queen and quilt were the examples he told. I figured that I would ask him a question that has been asked many times in the world of pre-k and elementary education to student who are learning to read, write, and spell...What letter ALWAYS comes after the letter "q"?

His response got me thinking about the questions we ask in school, the preconceived answers that we expect, and how we react when ne'er the twain shall meet.

When I was in the classroom, I tried to ask questions that challenged my students to think and evaluate options...even on my multiple choice questions. Students called them trick questions when they got them incorrect, but I always gave students a chance to appeal a question by explaining their thinking and why their answer/response was better than mine. While I only granted 2 appeals, students did try to explain their reasoning and they were given a chance to reflect on their answers.

Nowadays, I would hope that teachers in the classroom would avoid asking questions that can merely be googled and require students to demonstrate their thinking by creating a product/project that does not have a final product in mind, but a clear set of expectations at the onset. Many times, I see teachers asking questions and having a predetermined answer in their head and when a student does not provide it, the student is told that they are wrong. What does this do to the student? How does this help the student improve, learn, grow?

So I ask the question to you...what letter always comes after q?

Instead of telling my son that he was wrong, I am thankful that praised him for his thinking.

He answered "R".

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