Creating a Classroom Questioning Toolkit

Give the activity/lesson/project a title here
Time Frame:
from 1 hour to years...
Developing student capacity to craft, manipulate and reframe questions for stronger learning
Create a Classroom Questioning Toolkit
  1. Gather/Brainstorm: Set a period of time (3 days? 1 week? 3 weeks?) when you will collect every student question (best done on post-it notes; 1 question per note)
  2. After collection period is done, ask students how they might sort & categorize their questions based on type/style of question (students label categories).
  3. Whole group share of current thinking
  4. Examine how others suggest classifying questions
    • McKenzie’s Questioning Toolkit
      • Be sure to have students take note of the content included in this site
        • How is the information organized?
        • What is included within each category of question?
        • Where do the links take you?
        • What forms of media are included? why might that be?
        • What do you find helpful?
        • What might you change or include?
    • Question Starters
    • Blooms
    • Socrative
    • Others...

  5. Creating Categories
    • Ask students to consider categories and question types included in other models (this can be done through a jigsaw activity, online forum, class discussion, etc.)
    • Discuss the potential benefits of organizing our thinking around things we don’t know or have questions about and how that might influence the classification or categorizing of questions
    • Give students opportunity to regroup questions and/or rename categories based on their current thinking.
    • Ask students to share any changes to their categories or questions from their first thinking in step 2
    • As a class, reach a consensus on the categories and question types you will use to create your own Questioning Toolkit (don’t be afraid to engage them in productive discourse around category labels and/or question types).
  6. Dwelling in the Opportunity
    • Let students sit with the category headings and question types for about a week, adding any additional questions that surface through the course of various lessons and activities to established categories.
  7. Sketch Your Toolkit
    • As a class, discuss any tweaks, adjustments or modifications that need to be made to their categories and/or question types given their current thinking
    • Review discussion notes from step 4
    • Decide on a structure for your toolkit and how it will be organized to include identified components (tables, stems, concept maps, links to examples, etc.)
  8. Grow Your Toolkit - Once students feel confident in their structure, encourage them to add additional questions, question types and questioning stems over the course of various lessons, units, activities, etc.
    • Have students categorize the questions at the end of a section/chapter according to the question starters
    • Have students read a section from a textbook (or a web page) and write their own questions based on the question starters - also a form of test prep
    • Have students categorize the types of questions you ask before they answer them
    • At the start of a new unit, have students brainstorm a wide variety of questions (maybe use a KWL/H chart) and categorize them by question type
    • Tape several different TV interviews. Have the students analyze the interviewers questions and then have the students conduct their own interviews
    • Note Taking / Research
    • Commenting/Feedback
    • Filling the Toolbox


Use the Embed Widget tool to add a Discussion Area widget. Bump the number to 100. This will take the comments from the discussion tab and add them to the bottom of the page. This will encourage teacher reflection and modification.