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    Fat Questions
    By Julianne

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    I love that - Fat vs. Skinny questions. I would start by having a discussion with your group about the "W's" of questioning. You probably already have done this. We can ask "who", "what", "when", "where", to gain factual information. These are skinny questions. Fat questions almost always start with "how" or "why". They look for reasons, motives, ideas and suggestions. You can give your students a simple example by reading a short passage from a book and answering the first four questions. Then try to create a question that uses how or why. Help the students choose something that points to the motivation of the characters or to alternatives they might have chosen. With this example in front of them they may be better able to choose better questions when they do their classroom presentations. You might even ban questions that start with who, what, where and when for a while. You can also introduce the "Do you think...Why?" question. You ask a group, "Do you think Tom Sawyer should have kept all the money from the cave for himself? Why? This format allows for a short reply, then requires reasoning to back up the answer.

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