Teaching Curiosity and Encouraging Inquiry- Read Aloud

Hi everyone!

After a long break, which included a brief medical leave (I'm fine) and a new blog design (YAY!), I'm here to share a new (to me) picture book that I recently found that's great for sparking discussion with your students! I'm always looking for ways to get my students thinking and to develop their curiosity. I want them to inquire into the world around them and ask questions, but is there ever a time when a student can ask too many questions?

Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All  by Peter Catalanotto is a hilarious story of an overly-eager inquirer who has an insatiable appetite for questions, Question Boy. The author's voice reflects a super-hero themed tone, and accordingly, all the community helpers in Question Boy's neighborhood look and act like super heroes, until they face Question Boy- his perpetual questions are just too much to take! (I apologize in advance for all of these not-so-fabulous iphone pics!)

He's never satisfied with the answers he gets, so Question Boy gets a bit frustrated until...

One day he meets his match, Little Miss Know-It-All who seems to have the answers for every question ever asked.

As you might imagine, they go back and forth until they have a sort of face-off that leaves both of them speechless.

I won't give away how the story ends just yet.....

I love this book for three reasons:

  1. It's very funny and makes for a jaw-dropping read aloud (you know, when your students get SO into a book, they all go into a "book coma", eyes bugged out and mouths gaping?!? Tell me that happens in your classroom as well!?)
  2. The two main characters model very specific attitudes.
  3. There are pros and cons to both such attitudes. 

Let's look at Question Boy; I love how inquisitive he is and how he perseveres through his developing understanding. If you teach at a PYP school, he's a great model for the learner profile attributes of thinker and inquirer. He also models the attitudes of enthusiasm and curiosity. Obviously, these are positive things, however, Question Boy over does it just a bit. I think it's healthy to teach students to wonder and ask questions, but it's also important that they know there are times when they might not be able to find the answer, or maybe, there isn't an answer at all.

Little Miss Know-It-All is quite knowledgeable, but a little too overconfident. No one really like a know-it-all! I have a couple in my class this year, and we've had to have a few conversations about humility and respect for others. Similar to Mean Jean from The Recess Queen, kids benefit from being "on the outside looking in" to evaluate models of inappropriate behavior to help them really see how unattractive it is. The lesson here is, while it'd great to be knowledgeable, it shouldn't lead to feelings of superiority, and certainly not at anyone else's expense.

SPOILER ALERT!..... the ending of the book....

shows the two demonstrating tolerance for one another. Without having to discuss it, both Question Boy and Little Miss Know-It-All realize that they can be friends.

I know that this is meant to be a fun book that makes light of kids' personalities, especially around ages 4 or 5, which is something we teachers and parents can relate to, but when I picked this book up, I also thought about how I could use it in my classroom to get my students thinking about their attitudes and behaviors. After the spring break, I'll be sharing this book with my class and looking forward to the discussion it brings.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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