Monday, December 9, 2013

Have You Ever Heard of Robert May?

As a teacher I believe that asking questions is a skill that all students need to be able to do. How many times have you said, “I didn’t know enough, to know what questions to ask”?  

One of the things I try to share with my students is the love of learning.  I love research, I am always learning things that surprise me.  I have been pairing pictures with the Question Formulation Technique developed by the Right Question Institute .  I love the book “Make Just One Change”.

I have been featuring authors of children’s literature.  I decided I would feature Robert May - author of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as my mystery photo.  As I began looking for pictures of the author, I came across the picture I wanted to use in a post by Nate Bloom.    

As I read his post I learned about the author of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and other Jewish writers who penned contemporary holiday music and stories.  The juxtaposition provides a tantalizing layer to these literary treasures.
I took the picture, put it in a powerpoint slide.  Broke it into quadrants - placed four text boxes filled with different colors over the picture.  Animated each square to reveal part of the picture each time I clicked.  The kids developed questions they wanted to know about the picture.  The rules are: write down every question as the person says it.  You can not judge the questions, or stop and discuss or answer them.  Each time I revealed part of the square the kids asked more questions.

I left the section with Rudolph’s head for the last piece to be uncovered.  My students are getting better at asking deeper questions.  This week we will explore May’s biographical information.  I wonder what questions they will have after reading about Robert May?

Like every good Paul Harvey fan - "And now you know the rest of the story."