A loooong while ago I posted about using PQA to teach kids to restate the question in their answers and to help their responses on constructed response questions.   After hearing from teachers from all over, I realized that 1) Many people don’t call it PQA and 2) It’s a struggle for kids all over.

In my state, 3rd grade is the first year that kids take state testing.  A big portion of our English/Language Arts test is reading comprehension, especially open ended questions.  So, I always start the year, from Day 1, requiring my kids to use PQA to restate the question in their written responses.  It also helps the kids to answer the ACTUAL question that’s written.  You know, because sometimes they write something and you wonder where it came from.  Teaching kids in an intervention setting really strengthened my hold on teaching it right from the start and practicing the entire year.

This year, I decided to change up the way I’m going to introduce it to the kids.  I thought it would help kids to see how it works by spending a bit of time focusing on using it in conversation.

I made question cards so the kids could interview each other in partners.  I’m planning on using it the first week of school.  You know, when the kids are supposed to be spending time getting to know each other and you’re getting the I-NEED-TO-START-ACTUALLY-TEACHING-SOMETHING itch.  I think this is a perfect compromise.  You’re introducing a skill that will be used the entire year, and is crucial on state testing, but it feels like the kids are just spending the time getting to know each other and building relationships.

I’m going to introduce it by using the first set of question cards and have them use them in small groups to get to know each other.  The first set of cards includes both the question and the sentence starter for the answer. It’s scaffolded to help guide students into understanding how to put the question in their answers.

Then the cards remove the sentence starters.  I’m going to use the next set in small groups as well, so the students are practicing responding with the question.  Then, I’ll split them up into partners to interview each other.  I provided blank interview sheets as well as interview sheets with questions to help you decide how independent you want your kids to be.  This helps transfer the skill over to writing.

In my previous experiences I’ve also seen first and second grade teachers really focusing on this skill.  However, what I made for third and fourth wouldn’t work as easily with those grades, obviously.  So I changed up the lines to include writing lines to help young learners.  Some sheets are also provided for the very beginning of first grade, or the very end of kindergarten, where students only fill in the answer and then trace the rest.

An important aspect to consider when teaching students to restate the question is the hook that’s going to help them remember.  In my area, we use the acronym PQA.  It stands for Putting the Question in the Answer.  I’ve also seen TTQA (Turn The Question Around) which is basically the same thing.  I’ve recently come across RAPS (Restate, Answer, Prove, Sum it Up), and RACE (Restate, Answer, Cite, Edit) which I really like for older students.  Whichever acronym you prefer, I’ve created FREE posters to help you reference it in your classroom.  The PQA one is at the top of the post.  Just click on any of the images below to go download the set from my TpT store for free.

 

Once the school year is started, and we’ve practiced PQA together, I’ll often throw practice in as independent practice during the day and as homework.  Most often it’s tied to what we’re currently studying, but I also put in stand alone practice to help the kids get used to doing a passage and answering questions in one session.
For my students, we start out the year using this set.  It’s an older product of mine, but I gave it a bit of a facelift.
Constructed Response 2nd cover
The passages and questions all fit onto one page- to help keep it visually appealing for the kids.  I like it because it gives them practice on the skill without making them feel frustrated.
There are 4 free pages in the Preview file.  This lets you get a feel for the set and try them out with your kids.  Just click the images above to head to TpT and then click PREVIEW to download them.
I found over the years that one set was not enough practice.  We ended up finishing up the set early on in the year because I used them so often in the classroom and as homework.  So, I created a second set.  It follows the same format and is also aligned to the 2nd grade standards.
Constructed Response 2nd Set 2 cover
 With the second set, I have enough different passages and questions to practice the entire year.
I also decided to make an easier set (which is why the previous one is now called Step 2).  This set is all half pages.  It’s perfect for the beginning of the year in 2nd grade, and the end of the year in 1st.  The texts are very simple so you’re really able to focus on the skill, even with the most struggling of students.  I even use it with low third graders at the beginning of the year to help them practice the skill without struggling with the text.
Constructed Response 1st

 

With my third graders (and it’s applicable for 4th & 5th too) in the spring we really start working on applying these skills with much more complex texts.  That text complexity is crucial leading into our state testing.  We apply this skill using my African-American Heroes set.  The students learn about important people in our history but really work to answer constructed response and extended response question using textual evidence.  It’s also perfect for Black History Month since it’s just before state testing begins.

 

 

 

You can try out this set by clicking on any of the pictures to head to the product on TpT and downloading the preview file.
How do you work on this skill with your students?