?Kids Who Ask a Million Questions?

There are many types of students who come through the art room each year. One type of student I have encountered over the years is the excessive question asker. Does that line look right? How do you think I’m doing? Where do I turn this in?

Now lets be clear on the characteristics of this type of student.

Excessive Question Asker Characteristics 

This student…

  1. asks a lot of questions about every step of a project. Even if there are written & drawn reminders easily accessible. They have to talk to you (the teacher) about each step again before they can move forward.
  2. asks a lot of questions even though they are bright and (most of the time) understand the concepts without extended explanation.
  3. is most likely not disrespectful or disruptive to the class. They know the art room procedures and can work effectively within the environment.

Of course no two students are the same so there are lots of variations in what you might observe from the excessive question asker in your art room.

Solution

A colleague shared the idea of using a ticket system to help regulate students who are prone to excessive questioning. It’s pretty simple. The student gives the teacher one ticket and then can ask one question. When their tickets are gone for the class period they can’t ask you anymore questions about the project.

Now this could sound harsh or absolute but it helps force students to look at other information resources in the art room. So instead of taking the easy way out of coming to the teacher or looking for constant adult confirmation they will need to seek alternatives. You will notice that they pick up their heads and look at the board. They will survey the students working around them to compare their progress. They will ask classmates questions. These are all great strategies for kids to keep in the classroom loop. Plus they learn to discern which questions are really worth their time to ask.

I typically start with three question tickets per class. You can adjust the amount of tickets per class up or down to fit your students educational needs. The goal is to eventually wean the student off the ticket system. As students improve and learn to prioritize their questions you can decrease the amount of tickets per class.

Below is a PDF of printable Question Tickets that you can use in your art room. Just print, cut and laminate to reuse over and over.

Click here to download: Question Tickets

As a funny end note, I once had a student ask, “Mrs. Andrlik can I ask you a question about the question tickets?”  At that point they had no tickets left and half a class period to go. It’s so hard for some students at the start. I just laughed and let them ask their question even without a ticket.

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Hillary Andrlik

Hillary has been teaching art in the Chicago area since 2002 and was named Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year in 2012 by the Illinois Art Education Association. She received her art education degree from Illinois State University and masters from National Louis University. She is the co-founder and co-author of The Teaching Palette, a blog authored by art educators for art educators, and the digital editor for Illinois Art Education Association. Hillary's teaching strategies and lessons have been featured in numerous media, including School Arts magazine, and she has made several presentations on art education and technology in front of the Illinois Art Education Association and the National Art Education Association. Follow her on Twitter @hilland

5 Comments

  • I have the “Ask Three Before Me” rule. If a student comes up to ask me a question, I always ask, “Did you ask three?” If they haven’t, then they go ask three classmates, and they rarely return, but if they have, I know that they have a real problem they need help with. I like the ticket idea too.

  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    April 1, 2012

    Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee

    Great point on the “Ask Three Before Me” rule. I use that rule too for my students who come up and ask the occasional and/or extremely obvious question. The question ticket is probably best suited for the extreme chronic questioner. It’s definitely not a system you would be using with a whole class but a very select group. This year, I use it with 5 kids out my total roster of 450 students. Thanks for reminding me of the “Ask Three” rule.

  • April 6, 2012

    Damon

    I’m sure it’s not funny to the teacher constantly tormented by a million questions, and I think this is a very creative and likely a good solution. That said, something about this problem and solution are both hilarious to me! Again, probably not funny in real life, but sounds like the set up for a good episode of Recess.

    Jimmy: “Oh no. I only have 2 more tickets. Teacher, should I ask how many pencils we’re allowed to use or how many pieces of paper?”
    Teacher: “Jimmy, you’re not allowed to use your tickets to ask meta-questions.”
    Jimmy: “But I have to know!”

    I wonder if there would develop an underground black market of kids trading tickets? ;-)

  • April 20, 2012

    Karen O'Hanlon

    This seems like a great strategy for getting kids to think about their questions and perhaps devote a little more time to finding answers without always relying on adults. I taught elementary age children for 20 years before moving up to work with college students. And you know what? There are so many college age students who want to take the easiest course and just ask a ton of questions of college personnel–even when the information is in their email or on a web page (and they have had training about how to use university resources). I wish they had the same opportunity your students have to learn independence.

  • Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee
    May 2, 2012

    Hillary Andrlik + Theresa McGee

    Damon you might be on to something with the underground black market for tickets. Fortunately, my students who ask all these questions don’t have that cunning-work around the system way of thinking. That’s probably one of the reasons why they ask so many questions to begin with. But just in case maybe I should start adding their initials to the tickets. ;)

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