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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Workshop Wednesday (Restate the Question!)

I am linking up with my amazing bloggy buddy, Jivey, for her Workshop Wednesday:)  
She has a new topic each week!

This week's topic is favorite writing mini lesson.

One of the first lessons I teach at the beginning of the year is how to restate the question when answering a question.  The students have not had practice with this skill prior to 4th grade and we start with simple questions like this:

It takes some practice for students to master this concept and they really hate dislike it at first.  Once they get used to it, they don't even remember the days when they would answer a question like this:

Question:  What did Princess Charlotte do to show that she wanted to be part of the British royal family?  Why was this difficult for her?  Use text details.
Answer Without Restating: She played "God Save the King".  Because she didn't speak English.

Answer With Restating:  Princess Charlotte showed that she wanted to be part of the British royal family by learning to play "God Save the King" on her harpsichord and sing along with the words.  This was difficult for her because she didn't speak English and she learned to sing the words in English.

Why is restating the question a skill I require of my students?  
1.  An accurate statement lets the reader or listener know what we are writing or talking about.
2.  An accurate statement helps us remain clear on what we are writing or talking about.

In other words, students must slow down and answer the question that is being asked.  It is more difficult (although, not impossible!) to NOT answer the question when it is restated.

I found this worksheet available to print for practice.

Click here for an interactive game for students to practice restating the question in a simple format.
This is a screenshot of a page in the game.
Students drag words to the box to restate the question.

Do you have your students restate the question?
I always stress, "Don't start your response with a pronoun!"
Check back with Jivey for more great writing lessons:)


  1. Next year, I am doing this. I can't tell you how many times I get "because blah blah" for an answer to a why question. It makes me crazy!!! Thanks for linking up!

  2. OMG! This is my personal battle EVERY year. I hate when I get "because blah, blah, blah." as an answer. I love your practice. I MUST do this at the beginning of the year next year.


  3. Restating is a really important skill. It makes me crazy to read "no because" and "yes because."


  4. This is a very important skill for our students. Thanks for sharing. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. We work on this skill weekly. I have them restate questions based on what they are reading. It takes forever for my kiddos to be able to restate the question without me reminding them/helping them.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  6. I just did a lesson on this (which turned out to be an informal observation), on how to do a reader response...making sure the question is in the answer is the FIRST things we talked about!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  7. I am so glad I saw your post! We call this "TTQA" -- Turn The Question Around. Kids have to remove the question words from the question and use the rest of the question to begin their answer. We practice it A LOT at the beginning of the year and after awhile, all I have to say is "TTQA" and they know what that means. All tests are required to be answered TTQA or they have to be fixed. I even overheard our fifth grade teachers saying the same thing to their classes so it seems to be sticking. Great ideas! Have a great rest of your week!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  8. This is a huge focus for our grade 3 testing - but it is also a huge battle - it feels like some kids will never do it no matter how many examples we do together. Thanks for adding to my strategies for teaching this skill.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  9. I totally need to do more of this! I'm so bad about not requiring them to restate. I'm just happy when they answer the questions, but I do think it's a very valuable skill! I'm pinning this. (And since you have nothing else going on, can you remind me to do it next year????) ;O)

    Collaboration Cuties

  10. This is definitely something that my kids need too. I never thought about making a game out of it. I will be using this at the beginning of next year. Thanks for sharing.

    Teacher of Scholars

  11. I would also like the reminder! haha I like starting with smaller sentences. I think I'll make a poster of the two statements for restating a question. (I'll send it to you when I create it!) Thanks for sharing!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  12. Believe it or not, my 6th graders can NEVER restate the questions at the beginning of the year so we have to work on that A LOT! I use the RAPS method-Restate, Answer, Proof from the text, Summarize as a guide.

    I Run Read Teach

  13. I teach this in my 4th grade classroom and we use the term TTQA - Turn The Question Around. I must agree with you in saying this is not one of my favorite things to teach, but it is so important!

    Foreman Teaches

  14. I love the idea of teaching this at the beginning of the year. All students struggle with this.

    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Balancing the Backpack