Our free monthly newsletter features educational resources, upcoming learning opportunities (such as webinars, events, and online courses), practical tips, new ideas, and other news. Sign up to receive the newsletter and other occasional updates from RQI.
Here’s a text-only version of our July 2021 newsletter:
QFT resources for the new school year
Don’t look now, but a new school year is around the corner.
As RQI’s Sarah Westbrook said, starting the year with questions can help set “the tone for curiosity and collaboration for the rest of the year” and “build positivity, energy, and relationships among a brand new group of kids.”
In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find key resources for using the Question Formulation Technique, including some new tools to help with timing QFT lessons, determining “next steps,” and using the QFT with primary sources.
You can get all these resources for free at our website. We hope they’re helpful. Let’s begin with our top five:
- The QFT on One Slide: A quick, handy tool for running the QFT.
- QFT Powerpoint Template: Just add a Question Focus and you’re ready to do a QFT session.
- Steps of the QFT and Video Guide: A closer look at the QFT with four instructional videos.
- An Introduction to Question Focus Design: Finding the right QFocus can be a challenge. Use this short worksheet to design one.
- Lesson Planning Workbook: This eight-page workbook walks you through the creation of a lesson plan.
Next steps with student questions
Your students have produced a list of great questions and prioritized a few that are truly amazing. Now what? There are many options. You could design an exit ticket, use questions as a writing prompt, or even plan an entire project-based learning experience. This article has some ideas, and here’s a new worksheet with even more:
Timing a QFT lesson
The Question Formulation Technique can be used as anything from a quick exercise at the beginning of a class to a longer activity that takes a whole period. You can adjust the timing to fit your needs. It’s also an activity teachers (and students) can keep in their “back pocket” and use spontaneously. Here’s a new timing guide for doing the QFT in 10 minutes or 40 minutes.
Questioning primary sources
Primary sources have unique power to captivate students, and teaching students to ask questions about them is a way to make those primary sources come alive. We’ll be running our online course, Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Primary Source Questions, again this fall. Here are some other resources for working with questions and primary sources.
Finding resources on RQI’s website
We have more than 460 resources on our website — all of them free. We have lesson-planning tools, expert advice, videos, grade-level and subject-specific ideas, materials in 11 languages, and more. Here’s a five-minute video that describes where to find them.
Virtual QFT kits
If you want to use the QFT in a virtual setting, here are some “kits” to get you started. These include guides, templates, and webinars for using Padlet or Google Forms to facilitate the QFT with students.
What we’re reading
Here are a few stories that caught our eye this past month:
- How Movement and Gestures Can Improve Student Learning — KQED MindShift
- Optimizing Digital Learning for the New School Year — Education Week
- Restoring Justice: Exploring an Alternative to Crime and Punishment — Harvard Magazine
- New Collection Online: World War II Rumor Project — Teaching with the Library of Congress
- Aspiring Teachers Get New Help Paying For College — KQED MindShift
- New Study Shows Dogs Don’t Return the Favor After Strangers Feed Them — Smithsonian Magazine
- Unlocking the Secrets of the World’s Oldest Computer — BBC
A number of you made donations last month. Thank you. Your support helps bring resources to teachers and schools — enhancing students’ ability and confidence to ask their own questions, think critically about the world around them, and participate in democracy. Your donations make a difference.
Thank you for your support and friendship.