Question of the Day- 5 Ways to Use Conversation StartersApr 23, 2020
I had a morning routine (that didn't include the Question of the Day for students) that I followed with my class and it’s so predictable that my support staff could run it without me there. Here is what it looks like this-
“Alexa, start my day” (Yes, we have an Alexa in our classroom. It’s awesome!)
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar”
Talk and Tell (for basic communication and to model follow-up questions- and I LOVE this resource for a visual)
General reminders (like fire drills procedures and the next time the therapy dog will be visiting)
Change into work uniform (my young adult students work in the morning)
Leave for mini-lessons
By December, I found that I had a few minutes of time between #5 and #6 that I needed to fill because my students had established routines and were quicker completing each task. I had to fill those annoying 4-6 minutes because I couldn’t send the students to mini lessons early as I really wanted them to follow their own device alarms independently (got to get that data), so I had to do something!
I searched around for Questions of the Day on TPT and while there were some options for high school/transition age, no single resource met my needs. So, I started creating!
As a teacher who thrives on consistency and routine, I needed the questions to be both topical and thematic. I started a Google doc and wrote down 20-something different topics that my students and I focus on in our school day (think restaurant etiquette, hygiene, and feelings). I choose to sprinkle in some light questions as well (think fun and This or That), mainly because I would want to start the school year with get-to-know-you type questions where there were no wrong answers for the students who were new to me and my classroom.
How did I come up with the questions you ask? A large percentage of the questions are based on my actual experiences as a transition teacher, therefore you know they will be applicable to your life skills classroom.
I wanted the questions to be a mix of ‘I want to get to know you better’ and ‘let’s talk about how you would and should handle that situation.’ I’ve shortened that long winded description to- personal and situational questions.
Since my morning routine runs Monday through Friday, I needed the questions to be grouped in 5’s- so a topic could last a full week.
Lastly, I wanted some flexibility with how my students and I choose a question to answer. I wanted to have a basket on my desk where a student could pull a question from it each morning, but I also wanted the ability to throw the cards in my community bag and head out to a sit-down restaurant. Thus, I wanted/need an individual question slip version and a 5 questions on 1 card version (think task card size-there is even a mark on the cards for a hole punch- because I like my cards to line up nicely on a ring).
So, I created both!
The questions are the same and offer flexibility with the order of the topics and with how student- involved you want the resource to be.
Since I like my resource to be multi-purpose, I plan to use the Question of the Day in different ways.
The 5 OTHER Ways:
Substitute Activity- If you have a substitute teacher and know that there will be some down time, give them a few questions and have them ask each student. Or, encourage the substitute to ask the questions one-to-one during unstructured (like lunch) time.
Lunchtime Conversation Starters- Post 1 or more of these questions during lunch time or at the end of cooking class when everyone is enjoying their meal. Get the conversation going amongst the students!
Writing Prompts- Use the questions as a writing prompt, especially if they are working on emailing. Students could send the question to a peer to answer or write up their answer and email it to you! (want consumer math reading passages with writing prompts?)
Assessment Questions- Teaching your students about Personal Information, Group Safety, or Asking for Help, then use these 5 questions as a form of assessment (responses can be verbal, written, or multiple choice. *Multiple choice answers not included)
Gather IEP Baseline Data- If you are assessing how a student would handle a situation, use these questions to gather Present Level of Performance data. (Even while writing this resource I triggered my own brain with new goal ideas!)
Bonus- Student Choice and Responsibility- Give your student the choice between a variety of questions (using the individual slips) and then have them announce the question to the class OR put a student in charge of hanging a new question (using the individual slips) each morning!
The final product includes 200 questions because I wanted to have options and enough questions to last me through a school year and ESY, 2 options for printing, and covers 30+ topics relevant to high school and transition age students.
I really hope you find this resource to be just want you need to get to know your students better, offers a catalyst for discussing how to handle situations, and is appropriate for your high school and transition age students!
Click HERE to grab your Question of the Day for students resource!