Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children's Thinking
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Janis Strasser Lisa Mufson Bresson
About the Book
Questions are powerful tools, especially in the classroom. Asking rich, thoughtful questions can spark young children’s natural curiosity and illuminate a whole new world of possibility and insight. But what are “big” questions, and how do they encourage children to think deeply? With this intentional approach—rooted in Bloom’s Taxonomy—teachers working with children ages 3 through 6 will discover how to meet children at their individual developmental levels and stretch their thinking. Featuring contributions from respected names in the field, this book
Offers a foundation for using high-level questions in preschool and kindergarten interest areas
Provides tips for getting started and examples of questions at each of the six levels of questioning
Explores the use of high-level questions during daily classroom routines and in a variety of contexts
Recommends picture books that support the use of high-level questions
Includes an extensive resource section for teachers and families
With the guidance in this book as a cornerstone in your day-to-day teaching practices, learn how to be more intentional in your teaching, scaffold children’s learning, and promote deeper understanding.
Table of Contents
This section includes sample content from inside the book (PDF).
Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Model for This Book
Using This Book
What Are High-Level Questions and How Do They
Support Young Children’s Thinking?
Step Up Your Questioning Techniques
Part 1: Using Questions in Classroom Interest Areas
Chapter 1: Dramatic Play Area
Chapter 2 : Block Area
Cindy Gennarelli and Mary DeBlasio
Chapter 4: A Makerspace in the Science Area
Part 2: Using Questions During Other Parts of the Daily Routine
Chapter 7: Class Meetings
Chapter 9: Exploring and Making Music
Chapter 10: Large Motor Activities
Chapter 11: Outdoors
Part 3: More Learning Opportunities with Questions
Chapter 13: Supporting Emotional Development During the First Months of School
Chapter 14: Kickstarting the School Year: Exploring Change Through Long-Term Studies
Chapter 15: Using Featured Materials
Chapter 16: Multiday Explorations
Chapter 17: Supporting Children’s Understanding About Diversity
Chapter 18: Making the Most of Classroom Displays
Chapter 19: Documenting Children’s Learning
There’s a Question for That!
Anytime, Anywhere Questions
Questions to Ask About Your Child’s Day
Questions to Ask During Mealtimes
Questions to Ask About Bedtime Stories
Inspiring Higher-Level Thinking in Young Children - NAEYC hosted a webinar with the authors of one of NAEYC’s bestselling books, Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children's Thinking. This webinar explores how asking rich, thoughtful questions that meet children at their individual developmental levels—an approach grounded in Bloom’s Taxonomy— extends children’s thinking in the classroom and beyond.
Big Questions in the Great Outdoors - In this article, Mr. Joe has set the stage for ongoing learning opportunities by creating a weekly routine that focuses on the children’s in-depth study of Todd, the adopted oak tree. (Young Children, November 2018)
Conversations with Children! Questions that Spark Conversations and Deepen Understanding - This is the third article in the TYC series about asking children several different types of questions and inviting meaningful conversations. (Teaching Young Children, October/November 2018)
Conversations with Children! Asking Questions That Stretch Children’s Thinking - This is the fifth and final article in this TYC series about asking questions that support rich conversations. (Teaching Young Children, February/March 2019)
Hello Book Club: NAEYC Members Discuss Big Questions for Young Minds by Janis Strasser and Lisa Mufson Bresson - This thread is the second iteration of Hello's online book club. Members were invited to read and discuss the book, Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking.
Looking for more resources on Higher-Level Thinking? Visit our topic page to browse our collection of articles on the topic.
Enrich Your Curriculum: Purchase the Modules!
Higher Order Thinking: Big Questions for Young Minds
The HOT: Big Questions online module provides practical strategies for preschool teachers to use to enhance higher order thinking skills and deepen learning for children in the classroom. Based on the book, this hour-long, self-paced online module includes a webinar segment by authors Janis Strasser and Lisa Mufson Bresson, as well as real classroom scenarios and interactive knowledge checks. Register today to learn more about the different types of questions that engage children, and how they can be used in different activities throughout the day.
Higher Order Thinking: Creativity Module
The HOT: Creativity online module will engage your creativity and explore how technology can be incorporated into creative classroom experiences. This 1-hour, interactive and self-paced module focuses on the inherent value in open ended art experiences, how technology can be incorporated into creative classroom experiences, how HOT (higher order thinking) skills can be facilitated through teacher interaction, and more.
Higher Order Thinking: Tinkering Module
The HOT: Tinkering online module provides teachers with facilitation strategies to promote children's higher order thinking skills and develop a deeper understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the preschool classroom. This 1-hour module is self-paced and can be paused and resumed at any time. Come to an understanding of the difference between making, tinkering and engineering while learning a customizable format to develop your own design challenges to do with preschool children.
Topics: Child Development , Cognitive , Higher Level Thinking, Brain Science , Curriculum, Assessment, Classroom Management , Curriculum Development , Subject Areas , Literacy
Janis Strasser, EdD, is a teacher educator and coordinator of the MEd in Curriculum and Learning Early Childhood concentration at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. She has worked in the field of early childhood for more than 40 years.
Lisa Mufson Bresson
Lisa Mufson Bresson, MEd, is an early childhood author and consultant with Beyond Boundaries LLC. She is a former Program Manager for Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s statewide QRIS for early childhood programs. Previously she taught in urban public preschool settings for 13 years.
Finally, a resource to help teachers develop and ask questions that encourage children to think, imagine, and generate ideas! Strasser and Bresson show how to build on what children know by asking questions that support rather than derail their play and exploration. This gem of a book should be in every classroom.
—Beth Graue, Sorenson Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Listening, questioning, and learning are essential ingredients to good decision making. This contribution by Strasser and Bresson will help ensure that educators won’t wait until children are in high school before asking them high-level, thought-provoking questions.
—Vincent J. Costanza, Superintendent in Residence, Teaching Strategies, LLC
As a teacher with more than 15 years of experience in early childhood education, I found this book to be practical, inclusive, and culturally relevant. I highly recommend Big Questions to educators who are looking for a resource that bridges the gap between theory and practice.
—Dawn M. Durham, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Passaic, NJ