Use of Questionnaires in Readings

Diane made a comment today that sparkles:

…I stopped using questionnaires because I couldn’t figure a way to use them naturally. Perhaps if I were writing a reading for them….

Like Diane, I find it difficult to use the questionnaires naturally (the perfect word to describe what happens) and also Leigh Anne indicated that we could spend a lot of time, too much, on them anyway, and always at risk of going out of bounds.

So what Diane said is something we should remember. After stories, when we create the readings from them as per Step 3 of TPRS, we can just grab some questionnaires and embed some details about the kids into those readings. It would shock them, and shocking reading is compelling reading.

This is one of those fine jewels of an idea that we often forget so that is why I am making it into a separate article so thanks Diane for this idea.



10 thoughts on “Use of Questionnaires in Readings”

  1. Like Diane, I found that when I tried to use the questionnaires it was too forced. So now, when I have new students, I give them two questionnaires to fill out. One is just the boring information I need – age, telephone numbers, address, etc. The other has some goofy questions that might be useful. How old would you like to be? What famous person would you like to eat dinner with? If you won a million dollars, what would you buy that would surprise your friends? What is the worst film you ever saw? Then, I can pull those out as needed during the year.

    When I asked “Who is your favorite actor/actress/singer/group?” many kids seemed reluctant to answer, as if they were revealing too much to someone they didn’t know well enough to trust. Or claimed they didn’t have one. Has any one else had this reaction?

    1. Yes on the questions about celebrities Judy – very much so. It is as if there are parts of their lives they don’t want to let us in on in class. It goes straight to Bob Patrick’s most recent point here about kids’ perception of how they are perceived by others in the classroom:

      By the way Judy I just got a report from Martin about the conference and will post it here later today. Many of us will enjoy reading about the first ever European TPRS/CI conference and you and your team of Lynette (coming to teach in Denver!) and Teri and Alike is to be congratulated.

      Here is a link for those who haven’t heard about the Agen conference:

    2. What I have noticed is that kids don’t necessarily want to admit who they like in front of everyone. They may like Justin Bieber, but when they find out all the boys in the class and some of the girls hate him, they change their minds about sharing their enthusiasm. (Of course some want to like what everyone else doesn’t and some are so at ease with whatever their choice that they don’t care). This always seems like society in mini version to me.

      1. And that waffling from them can mess up the flow of the class. It’s that awareness of the possibility of being judged that Bob Patrick brought to us a few weeks ago. Such a complex topic. When that sort of confusion sets in, I move things along. One of the big benefits of CWB is being able to move quickly to the next card before their teen egos start to derail the CI with English.

  2. Judy – I love your questions!!!
    Can we all brainstorm now some more great ones like that? Because like you all said, some kids clam up over some simple straight forward questions!

    If you were a rockstar, what would your name be? What instrument would you play?
    If you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?
    If you could be the boss of ANYTHING (a country, a business, a school) what would it be?

  3. I get great answers on the questionnaires because I tell kids they can make the answers up. Some kids will still play it straight, and leave items blank if they are too personal. Others, though, make up some really goofy stuff, which gives me rich material from which to work.

    And Ben, you are so right about the reading: throw in the name of someone’s pet or brother, or set the story at his place of employment, and the story takes off like a rocket. Not just for the kid who the story is about, but for the whole class.

  4. I always use kids in my readings. If I forget to write them in, when we are reading the story– which will be a minor-details-revised version of what was asked in class– I will throw in some PQA regarding a kid. I find that starting on Day 1 we start developing/learning details about the kids (I couldn’t care less if they are true, only that the kids like them) and these can basically at will be tossed into the mix.

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