Monday, September 29, 2014

Musical Questions - Kinesthetic Activity in the English/Language Arts Classroom!

The popular game, Musical Chairs, is the inspiration for my new instructional approach, Musical Questions.

Musical Chairs is a mainstay in elementary classrooms and at parties. With that knowledge, I decided to bring a version of the game into my middle school English/Language Arts classroom as a way to incorporate more movement. 

Participants love the sound of the music as well as the excitement of determining who will be lucky enough to claim a seat when the music ceases.  In Musical Chairs, everyone is engaged.  I knew that I could transfer that engagement into my classroom by being a little creative.

I altered Musical Chairs into a fun, engaging instructional strategy that I call Musical Questions.  This tool is used to facilitate comprehension questions and discussions.

Here are the rules:
  • The teacher poses a rich (higher-order) question to the students after reading a section of a novel or some other type of reading material.
  • The teacher allows for wait time/processing time.
  • The question is posted on the Smartboard via PowerPoint or Prezi with appropriate images to bring the question to life.
  • Students are asked to stand with their novel or other source. Student will use the text as evidence when discussing the question.
  • While the music is playing, students are migrating around the classroom while discussing the question on the board with a variety of classmates.
  • When the music stops, students must sit in the nearest desk.  Since students will exchange seats, they must take their source material with them in order to continue reading.
  • The student who is the last one to sit down must answer the question for the class as well as facilitate the conversation by choosing two other students to respond.
  • After the three responses are shared, students continue reading the text.
  • The process can be repeated as many times as you would like.
  • It is my recommendation that students engage with different students after each question in an effort to expand collaboration.
I have been utilizing the Musical Questions Method as I read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer with my 6th Graders, and we all love the process because now answering comprehension questions has become a game.  Students are able to move and converse while enjoying the book.