How to Teach Question Words
Start this lesson whole group or small group. You will be activating prior knowledge through a quick full group discussion by using yourself as an example. Kindergarten students love sharing, as you know, but they also love hearing you talk about yourself!
After you talk about yourself, students will use “who, what, where, when, why, and how” words to talk about themselves. You can use the learning video below to guide you. Instructions for that part are further down below.
Tell your students that the point of using questions words is to get more information! Now they will learn more information about you.
Print out the question word files and use the cards to guide you in talking about yourself.
Who are you? I am a teacher.
What did you do today? I came to work/school.
When did you do it? I arrived at 7:00 in the morning.
Where did you do it? I teach here in (insert city, state).
Why did you do it? Because you come to see me every day.
How did you do it? I drove my car.
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The video pauses automatically to allow time for discussion.
Begin your Question Words lesson by sharing the full 3:27 minute “Question Words” video with students. Repetition is key for Kindergarteners, so we will show students the video multiple times throughout this lesson. Once students have received the initial exposure to the video, you’ll be ready to move on to guided practice using the video.
Now it’s time for a second viewing with embedded opportunities for practice with support. Students will practice answering and asking questions throughout the lesson.
Provide each student with a response journal that includes the question words activity sheet.
- The learning video will automatically pause after each new word and provide students with guided practice prompts.
- Students will be prompted to record a response to the question word that is related to school. You can decide if you want students to write or draw their responses. Verbally share a full question sentence
with students to guide them.
Who goes to school?
What is the most exciting thing about school?
When is it time to wake for school?
Where is our school located?
How do you get to school?
Why is school important?
- Ask students to share their responses with a peer through a “turn & talk.” Each student should verbally share and respond to their questions with their classmate to practice using the question words. This is also the opportunity to ask a buddy a question after they have shared their responses. Through practice, students will begin to understand what question words mean and how to use them to communicate more effectively.
Provide sentence frames during the Extension Activity. Allow students to draw their responses during Guided Practice and Independent Work.
After providing responses, ask students to write a sentence starting with each of the question words (who, what, where, when, how, and why) on their response journal.
Activities to Practice Using Question Words
If time allows, get students ready to apply their knowledge, move around the room, and interact with classmates!
1. Give each student three index cards.
2. Ask students to brainstorm and write down three sentence questions they could ask to get to know their classmates better. You may have to provide question stems, or refer students to an anchor chart and list of the question words.
Provide examples of full question sentences before students begin working:
What is your favorite animal?
Why do you like the color pink?
What will you do after school today?
Provide sentence stems such as “What is…” and
Who is…” or allow them to write a picture that will help them remember their question.
3. Once students have their three questions, have them stand in two lines facing each other. Instruct students to ask and answer one of each other’s questions.
4. Then, have one line of students step to the right so that they are matched with a new partner. Repeat the “asking and answering” step and then rotate again.
Continue rotating until each student has “asked and answered” with the full line.
Have each student ask YOU a question before the lesson ends. Make sure the six question words are clearly projected so that students can remind themselves of how to start a question. An anchor chart can be used if Smartboard is no longer on. For struggling students, have a few ideas ready to share with students. You might say to students….
Ask me about my favorite color.
Ask me about my favorite food.
Ask me about my favorite animal.
Ask me about my reason for being a teacher.
Until next time, patience and practice!