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Generating Effective Discussion Questions In addition to answering the bookmark questions, some teachers may find it worthwhile to have

students generate their own questions to enrich discussions. This helps students develop critical thinking skills and provides for more open-ended discussion. It is suggested that each student prepare one additional discussion question for the first meeting, two for the second, and so on. In order for students to understand what makes an effective discussion question, the following lesson may be used. Discussion Question Concept Attainment Lesson Reproduce the following table onto a transparency.

Yes

No

How might the main character in What is the main characters the story react if she hadnt name? known the details about the fight? Why might the narrator choose to to turn himself in even though he could have gotten away with the crime. What did Laura say to her mother when she talked to her on the phone?

How will the main characters Why does Jimmy claim to be mother cope with the fact that her afraid of heights? son has rebelled against the familys wishes? What would you do if you were in the main characters position? When can the main character leave the hospital?

Explain to students that you will present them with a series of questions. The questions will have some things in common but some of the questions are Yes examples and some are No examples. Ask students to think about the difference between the two types of questions. Reveal one pair of questions at a time. For the first couple, ask students to think about the difference between the two. They may jot down some thoughts on a piece of paper. By the third set, have students share their thoughts with a partner and

invite students to share their ideas. Then reveal the fourth set and ask students if they can add any more ideas about the difference between the two. You can then provide students with some of the following testers. Ask them if these are Yes or No examples, by giving a thumbs-up to indicate yes and thumbsdown to indicate no.

Testers

When would it be acceptable for the main character to resort to violence?

Where did Yusef find the hidden key?

How would the villain justify his actions?

How can Kristina redeem herself?

What is Jakes explanation for burning down the convenience store?

How would you describe the authors attitude toward the subject matter?
Students should begin to understand that the Yes examples are more complex questions that do not necessarily have simple answers. They require students to combine knowledge of the text with their own life experience and prior knowledge in order to formulate responses. These are questions that deal with the higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy. A graphic organizer that may also help students generate these questions is a Q-chart:

Q-Chart
questions

is

did

can

will

would

might should

How Why When

Where What Who

Low level questions red Higher level questions yellow Highest level questions - green