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The Power of Questioning


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Table of Contents

Dedication Foreword-Mark Barnes Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1: Setting the Stage for Inquiry and Self-Exploration Letting Go of Control Creating a Culture of Learning Learning is More than Being Right Empowering Students Through Learning Conversations Chapter 2: Understanding Bloom's Taxonomy When Teaching Questioning Skills What is Bloom's Taxonomy? How can Bloom's Taxonomy be used as a Framework for Teaching Questioning? Chapter 2 Additional Resources Chapter 3: Dissecting Questions How Can We Break Apart Questions for a Deeper Understanding of What is Being Asked? Why Should Students be Able to Dissect Questions to Further Learning? How Can These Skills be Applied to Classes Across Content to Deepen Learning? Chapter 4: Building Questions Conceiving Questions to Map Authentic Learning Opened/Closed Questions for Surveying Material vs. Acquiring Depth of Knowledge Building Questions for Investigative Reporting - Fishbowl Activity Journalism in Context Chapter 5: Applying Questioning Skills to Content Learning Deeper Learning Happens When Students are Questioning Content Using Search Engines to Apply Questioning for Content Socratic Seminars as a Classroom Study Using Google Classroom to Elicit Discussion Chapter 6: Discovering Self Through Questioning The Questions People Ask About Themselves and Their Environments What Do the Questions We Ask Say About Who We Are? How Can We Harness Interest to Engage Students? Using Reflection Questions to Dig Deeper into Ourselves and Learning Chapter 7: Encouraging Continued Exploration and Conversation Where Does the Research Generate? Teaching Students to Question the Sources They Find Chapter 7 Additional Resources Final Thoughts About the Author

About the Author

Starr Sackstein, Nationally Board certified teacher puts students in charge of the learning. Author, blogger and constant learner, Sackstein is invested in creating a world where questions don't have to be answered, they just need to be explored with the understanding that anything is possible.


The Power of Questioning is an important book that I enthusiastically recommend to all teachers. This short and highly readable book tackles one of the most pressing topics related to teaching and learning and is written by a practicing teacher who is simply one of our nation's foremost thinkers on the topic. In this excellent book, Starr Sackstein examines why we need to focus with intention on the questions we ask of students and-more importantly-how we inspire them to become curious learners with a questioning mindset. Starr's book is filled with practical strategies and anecdotes showing how we can transform our practice in this core area of instruction, moving from traditional, rote questions and answers to rigorous, engaging, interactive inquiry. I can think of no book on this topic more compelling than The Power of Questioning nor an author/practitioner more equipped to share her insights with educators wishing to enhance their teaching-and their students' learning-through the use of intentional questioning techniques. This book is a must read for all educators. -- Jeffrey Zoul, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, Deerfield Public Schools District 109, Deerfield, Illinois
In The Power of Questioning, Starr Sackstein has found the answer of how to enhance the teaching experience and set the stage for deeper learning in the classroom. This is a thoughtful read with great practical examples and sharp focus on techniques that can truly change the classroom culture. -- Adam Bellow, founder, eduTecher and eduClipper
Starr has harnessed and synthesized the concept that questions are central to understanding. She shares her own thoughts and stories from other educators with clarity and accompanies them with questions for the reader to consider. With an acceptance of the reality that students will have to maneuver through questions that are not engaging and do not teach on some tests they will be required to take, she is able to lay out her argument in support of questions for learning. A group read among colleagues and the leadership could unearth established beliefs that prevent good questioning from being used in teaching and learning and offer opportunities for teachers to begin to practice and support each other as their use of questioning for learning develops. -- Jill Berkowicz, co-author of " The STEM Shift: A Guide for School Leaders"
In The Power of Questioning, outstanding teacher and blogger Starr Sackstein shows the way for beginning and veteran teachers to use better questioning techniques to get their students all the way to better self-understanding and productive research. She leverages a great explanation of Bloom's taxonomy to show how teachers can better use open-ended questions to explore their external world and engage in metacognition. She does this with real examples from other outstanding teachers in a way that should inspire teachers, principals, and parents alike. Although Starr teaches English and journalism, her advice is also aimed a teachers from other content areas. -- Dr. Doug Green, retired princpal, consultant, blogger
Starr Sackstein has a view of education that is both engaging and holistic, and it's centered in a great deal of heart. In The power of questioning: opening up the world of student inquiry Sackstein shares her extensive expertise in her typical eloquent and practical style. -- Peter DeWitt, EdD, author/consultant, Finding Common Ground blog (Education Week)
Starr Sackstein has pinpointed the single highest leverage move a teacher can make to empower students in their learning, and in this book, provides the practical, classroom tested tools we need to do it. -- Ariel Sacks, middle school English language arts teacher, author of "Whole Novels For the Whole Class"
The Power of Questioning by Starr Sackstein takes a look at the place of questioning in classrooms today from a fresh point of view on promoting student inquiry. The flow of the book leads readers from background knowledge on Bloom's Taxonomy to the art of questioning as a mechanism for student exploration and discovery of content that is clearly understandable. A noteworthy feature of the book, self-reflective questions, are pivotally positioned allowing for pausing to ponder the significance of the material presented. The insertion of positive teacher anecdotes provides insight into classroom practices that strengthen the premise, effective questioning inspires deeper learning and meaning making. The book is thoughtfully presented leading educators to value the practice of questioning as a stepping stone to students' deeper reflection and understanding of knowledge of the world. The Power of Questioning is more than another text on the nuances of questioning. It is a compilation of ideas strengthening the purpose for effective teaching that empowers students to become questioners of their own learning. It is a call to action to create avid and passionate learners who take risks while searching for their identity as curious learners on the road to discovery. If we are to create learners that question then we must understand how to scaffold the steps to lead them there. This book allows teachers to question their practice in order to provide next steps for students to grow as learners. -- Carol Varsalona, ELA consultant, co-moderator of #NYEDChat
For far too long, classrooms have been teacher-centric environments, where education is something done to students and not something students help drive. In this book, Sackstein identifies ways to give the classroom back to the students, through creating a culture of innovation, asking the right types of questions, and utilizing technology as a tool to accelerate authentic learning. Quite often the love of learning is schooled right out of students in a traditional environment, yet Sackstein offers ways to combat the traditional approach and help empower students to ultimately take charge of their own learning. -- Thomas C. Murray, State and District Digital Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education, Center for Digital Learning
Through narrative, example, and reflection, Starr Sackstein provides insight into the power of questioning and building a classroom learning community. After reading, there is no doubt, educators will see the benefits of "letting go", and the benefits are immeasurable. Truly, this is an awesome guide for educators wanting to empower learners. -- Erin Olson, Instructional Technology Consultant

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