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  • Mrs G

Open Ended Questions for Kids

It is amazing how much you can learn about your students if only you ask. Which, is harder than it sounds.

First of all, you are for sure outnumbered. And then, oh yes… there is teaching, planning for teachers, curriculum, attendance, state testing, grades, assessments, and a few other things that tend to fill your days.

All that aside, teaching at its core is about building relationships. I have always gone to great lengths to understand who my students are and what matters to them. My success in the classroom can be tied back to these relationships. These relationships start with a simple concept: open-ended questions for kids are important.

The Foundation for your Relationship

Asking an open-ended question and then listening and I mean really listening, to the response is the magic formula. It says to kids, you matter. I care. As an adult, I don’t assume I know what is important to you. I won’t pretend to know where you come from or what you want in life. But, I am in this with you today. So, let’s make each other a little bit better.

Start Each Day with an Open Ended Question

I start my days by asking students open-ended questions. I use one that I don’t have to respond to right away (see, “being outnumbered”). But, none the less a question that will allow me to have a sneak peek into what my students care about, think about, and aspire to.

I do this through a check-in check-out journal, you can read about it here. This way I don’t have to come up with a question on the spot. It is an organized system that I love. You can download one for free here. If that is not your style, then come up with your own writing prompts for morning work. Or, try making it an exit ticket for lunch. But anyway you do it, please get them talking to you.

List of Open Ended Questions for Kids

  1. How do you make hard choices?

  2. What is one thing you are struggling with this week academically?

  3. What is one success you have had socially?

  4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  5. Who is your best friend and why?

  6. When does someone become an adult and why?

  7. Which qualities do you wish you had and why?

  8. What limits you?

  9. Who is your biggest supporter? How do you know?

  10. Where is your happy place? Describe how it looks and feels.

Open-ended questions for kids develop relationships, encourage writing, and can break down the barrier of getting words onto paper. For struggling writers putting the control in their hands can be groundbreaking. Open-ended questions have changed my classroom management. Mostly, they are the foundation for building my relationships with my students.


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