Question of the Day is one of my favorite kindergarten routines. (But it is great for preschool and preK, too.) Your students will love answering the questions and finding out more about their friends. And you will love watching them practice their emerging reading and writing skills without realizing it! (If you already know how to use Question of the Day, but are looking for ways to display and organize the questions, I have suggestions for that, too! Or, check out these ideas for incorporating an attendance question on Seesaw.)
What is Question of the Day?
Question of the Day is a daily question posed to children. You can display a written question and have your students answer the it as they enter the room each day. With early learners, make your questions follow the same pattern for several days and add picture cues. This makes the questions easier for students to read independently.
How does Question of the Day help students?
Question of the Day helps students with reading, writing and math.
When you use repetitive questions (generally with basic high frequency words), your students will learn to read the questions pretty easily. The pattern, sight words, and picture cues are just the support they need to be independent with the task. Because the students see the same sight words for several days in a row, they add these words to their reading vocabulary more easily. Since students are curious about how their friends respond, they also have a purpose for learning to read their classmates’ names in the responses.
Questions of the day allow students to read high-frequency words in a purposeful way.
To encourage name writing practice, you can have your students sign-in under their response. This provides purposeful name-writing practice every day. Once your students are experts at writing their first names, mix it up by having them sign in with last names or initials. You will love watching their handwriting progress from the beginning to end of the year. (Some days, you might want to sit near the question to prompt for proper letter formation, as an added bonus.)
Signing in under the question of the day provides purposeful name writing practice
Students sign in with their initials
Question of the Day can support math in several ways. For instance, your students can count the number of responses to the question and compare which response had the most/least answers. The student helper can writs the number on each side of the chart, even adding the < or > symbols.
If you use a pocket chart to display the questions and response, the students’ names cards can be lined up to create a graph, introducing graphing skills in a concrete and meaningful way. When the cards are lined up, students can easily answer questions like “Which response had more/less?” and “How many more/less?”
What Kinds of Questions Should I Use?
This depends in part on the age of your students and your academic goals for the questions. No matter the age, it is fun to connect the questions to things you are learning about: get-to-know you at the beginning of the year, seasons, holidays, etc.
For younger students, you will want very simple and repetitive questions that might focus on things like preferred colors (“Do you like red?”) or letters in their names (“Do you have J or j in your name?”). To create independence you might focus on yes/no questions. This is a great way to reinforce these basic concepts (such as letters and colors) as part of your daily routine.
In kindergarten you might like a bit more variety in the questions, at least once they know the routine. You can add questions that are not simply yes/no (“Do you like to swing or run?”). At this point, some questions might even have three responses (“Do you like whole apples, sliced apples, or applesauce?”) Provide purposeful exposure to high-frequency words by matching the words in your questions to the words in the books your kids are reading.
If you are using the question of the day to allow students to share oral responses, questions with 2-3 choices might be too limiting. For oral responses, open-ended questions are much more appropriate. For instance, when studying the fall harvest, you might ask students, “How do you like to eat apples?” or “What kinds of vegetables do you like?”
Open-ended questions can be written in the morning message, displayed on a board, or displayed on the Smart Board. These are easy to incorporate into a morning meeting routine – students can share their responses as they greet one another or they can be used as a whole group sharing question.
When Do Students Answer the Question of the Day?
Teachers use these graphing questions at various times during the day. You can use it as a way for your students to check in and do attendance, so it’s one of their morning jobs. (See my post about soft starts to the day to see how I handle morning jobs.) Your students can then discuss the responses during our morning meeting.
Question of the Day can also be a great start to the math lesson. Students can respond to the question earlier in the day or as they transition to math. Or you can simply revisit the responses during math to practice counting, comparing and graphing.
No matter when you choose to incorporate Question of the Day into your daily routines, I think you will find it to be a rich and rewarding activity for students. If you are looking for more ideas about displaying and organizing the questions, check out Part 2 of my Question of the Day series. If you want to use this routine but don’t have time to create the questions, visit my store. I have hundreds of pre-made questions available!
New to distance learning and teaching? Find out how to use the Question of the Day on Seesaw, too.
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