Good Questions

(also posted at THE LEAD LEARNER, staff blog of Kyoto International School)

Before making a transition to snack, or outside play, or lunch, we gather the children on the mat. We ask them to ask us GOOD question about 'something' (usually the first thing that pops into our heads, clouds, alligators, mountains, etc). When they ask a GOOD question, they can go.

So, what is a GOOD question? And how does an 5 year old know what a GOOD question is?

To support this, we are using this visual metaphor:

Culture of Thinking
A small fish question is a question that you already know the answer to (or one that doesn't really make sense)

A medium fish question is a question that you can probably figure out if you think about it

A big fish question is a question that you don't know the answer to, but you really want to

We have noticed in the several weeks we have started doing this quick little daily activity:

  • the questions are becoming progressively more BIG FISH oriented
  • the children are proud when they ask a good question, and they notice themselves the difference
  • they occasionally self correct their own questions
  • there is a longer pause from the moment the question is asked, to the hand going up
  • they discuss their questions after (during snack)
  • HOW questions are more accessible (and easier to formulate) than WHY questions
  • using a W5 questioning strategy helps get at deeper questioning skills


  1. This is great as is is relating to inquiry and kids asking questions to learn about the world around them. I love how they make the questions deeper.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Flotsam and exploring imaginative questions through literacy

George Polya and Mathematical Problem Solving

The Shape of a Unit.