If you attended my workshop on QAR Strategies for Differentiating Questions at iFLT this past summer or its condensed counterpart at AFLA just a few weekends ago, you will be happy to see this post! If you didn’t, I hope that you will be happy to have found it once you’ve read through it.
QAR (Question-Answer Relationships) is a strategy developed by Taffy Rafael to help students respond accurately to reading comprehension questions. (I was introduced to QAR in a reading strategies workshop by Carol Gaab in 2011.) In addition to the originally intended purpose for QAR, there are many intangible benefits to learning and using QAR in the classroom. It is wise for teachers to consider QAR when planning assessments, class activities, and discussions!
I introduce QAR to my students in Unit 12 of Spanish 1; toward the beginning of the second quarter (click here to see my Spanish 1 curriculum map). I begin by having them write questions in the target language based on the class story in that unit (the story is about a kleptomaniac). Then, I work through a Keynote presentation with them that provides them with an overview of each QAR type in English and a sample text and questions in Spanish. The presentation that I use is included in this QAR resource pack (it’s free, of course!). Once they’ve learned the four QAR types, we go back and categorize each of the 10 questions that they wrote about the story and discuss the answers. Finally, I provide them with a new text and ask them to write questions for each of the four QAR types, and then they share and discuss them with the class.
Once students have learned QAR, I use them regularly in my classes so that students keep them at the forefront of their minds! Almost any activity can be adapted to explicitly practice QAR, and here are four that I have used in the past and a brief explanation of how to use them to explicitly practice QAR:
- Communicative QAR (students must write one question of each QAR type to ask to classmates)
- Grab and Go (adapted from Jason Fritze; shared with me by Michele Whaley–students must cycle through the QAR types as they write their questions)
- Jeopardy Q&A (students must develop questions of a specific QAR type that elicit the answer provided)
- Story Fan N Pick (Have students write questions for each QAR type, then compile their questions to create a set of 12 questions to use in groups)
If you are interested in learning more about QAR and how to use it in the classroom, contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a workshop or webinar.
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