What is a Question of the Day?
A question of the day is an activity that can be used to teach young children how to collect and organize data in a graphic representation as well as teach them to analyze the data.
Why should I have a Question of the Day?
From a mathematical standpoint, using a question of the day can help your students understand and use mathematical language such as more than, less than, equal, and the same. Question of the day can also support literacy development because the students are learning to recognize their names in print, understand that print has meaning, track the print in the sentence, and use picture cues to help them understand the text.
What kinds of questions should I ask?
In preschool and kindergarten the questions you ask should be very simple yes or no questions that can be easily illustrated with only one picture. For example, in the picture above the question reads “Do you like rainbows?” followed by a picture of a rainbow. This is a very simple, straight forward question that is easily illustrated with one picture. If the question is not easily illustrated with a picture, such as “Do you have a brother?” and the picture shows a boy the students will not be able to properly understand the question and become confused.
How does it work?
I used a magnetic easel to display my question of the day, but you could easily use an oil drip pan or a pocket chart. First, I created name cards for each student complete with pictures. Since my question of the day is on a magnetic board I attached magnetic tape to the back of each name card. I write the questions on sentence strips with a marker and attach them to the top of the graph with magnets or tape. I lay the student name cards out on a table near the door to the classroom. As students enter the classroom they locate their name card and go over to the question of the day chart. They “read” the question by touching each word in the sentence and use the picture at the end to help. There are two columns to choose from, yes and no. The yes column is illustrated with a picture of a smiley face with thumbs up and the no column is illustrated with a frowny face with thumbs down. Next, the students place their name card in the appropriate column. At the very bottom of the chart there are two magnetic pockets, these hold the name cards of absent students. This activity also serves as our attendance system, I can quickly look and see which name cards have not been claimed and mark those students absent.
Wait, we’re not done yet!
Now that we have collected and organized our data on our chart it’s time to analyze the data; this is an important piece of the graphing activity that is often overlooked. We collect and organize our data first thing every morning, but we don’t analyze it right away, we do that during math time. This allows the students to be thinking about the graph and making observations and predictions on their own. During math time we gather around the chart and together we count the numbers of students in each column and write the numbers at the bottom. Then I ask specific questions regarding the data using mathematical language such as “Which column has the most votes? Which column has the least amount of votes? How many more votes does the yes column have than the no column?”
Where do you find the questions?
Perhaps the most difficult part of having a question of the day is coming up with the questions, it can be challenging. I have created two pages of printable pictures for you below that you can use when creating your questions. I try to think of questions that relate to the season or theme we are learning about. Food is also a good topic and pictures are easy to find.
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