The betterQs blog: A new #MTBoS adventure

For the past few years, I’ve been (sometimes daily, sometimes sporadically) posting on the one good thing blog. Last year I did it every single day. Often times it was a short post, especially in tough days where it was hard to find some little nugget. But what I loved was that it made me reflect consciously on joy and goodness, and pay attention to it. [1]

This year I want to spend some time thinking about how to question well. More specifically, thinking intentionally about what questioning looks like (and how it can be improved) in my classroom — both on my end and on my students’ end. I thought I would blog about it throughout the year, and figured it would be fun to blog with others. @rdkpickle had the same idea! So we figured it was a good idea, and set up a collaborative blog. All this is to say:

Check out the blog! Add it to your feedly or googlereaderreplacement. You’ll get posts by many people delivered right to your door.

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But more importantly…You are warmly and heartily welcome to join us, and become an author. The blog just started and we’d love to get as many voices and experiences going on the ground floor.

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Read a few posts. Browse a bit. It’s only a few days old, so there isn’t too much to gander at! And consider joining us. (If you want, there’s a tab at the top of the blog that tells you how to join, or just click here. We’ll add you as an official author!)

“But Sam,” you say, “I don’t have time to write every day…”

Silly goose, I respond! You can write however frequently works for you. Once a week? Once a month? Three times a year? The point is to take some time — however much of it — to think about questioning in your classroom.

“But Sam,” you say, “I don’t have a lot to write about…”

Silly turkey, I shoot back! I think it would be cool if you even wrote down a single question that you really loved asking because it provoked discussion. No need to deeply analyze it if you don’t want! Maybe a teacher reading the blog will read that question and think: “YAS! THIS IS EXACTLY THE QUESTION I NEEDED!” And if there were a lot of people just throwing down their good thought-provoking questions, we would soon have an amazing repository.

“But Sam,” you say, “I have a blog of my own! Why don’t I just post it there?”

Silly quail, I reply! You can post anything to do with questioning both on your own blog, and on this blog. No rule against that! In fact, I did that for my first post on the betterQs blog. And that way, someone reading the betterQs blog might get to know you and your own blog!

“But Sam,” you say, “I’m still scared… I don’t want to sign up and then not do it.”

Silly emu, I say. Why not take a baby step and just commit yourself to writing one or two things? Just keep a lookout in your school about how you question, or try to script a good question and see how it goes in your classroom, or rewrite a test question and explain how you rewrote it and why… Baby emu steps. And just see how it goes! You just might think: hey, questioning is something I want to pay just a bit more attention to!

Or, silly emu, don’t worry about signing up! As I wrote a couple years ago: “You should never feel guilty engaging with the community in ways that make sense to you. We’re all coming at teaching from such different places in our careers, such different backgrounds, and such different environments. We all need and want different things.” In other words, you do you.

[1] I also love the fact that because I’ve been using the blog semi-regularly, I can see an archive of so many good things of my own (in addition to seeing everyone else’s good things). On down days, it really helps me remember I’m not as bad as my brain tries to convince me I am.

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4 comments

  1. Sam, thank you for the links. I love to read your reflections even though I teach middle school math, I always find some nugget of wisdom to think about. The pressure from above (admin) is getting unbearable and I need a lift. It seems it is not about our students anymore and more about treating our students as things to manipulate. I am heartsick. When I express this to others, they say with surprise You really do care about students! Reading your blog and others is the only thing that centers me.

    1. Oh, that makes me so sad. I’m glad that you have this online community to help you remember what it all should be about. I love this community specifically for that — it reminds me of what’s really important, and how hard it is to do what’s important, but how good it *can* be. If you want, I found that posting regularly on the “one good thing” blog (linked in post) was helpful to me when I felt like I was getting asked to do too much and just feeling down about teaching… It helped me keep an eye out for the good, even if it only lasted for a microsecond. If you are interested, I’d definitely encourage you to write short reminders of the good moments on the *one good thing* blog… either daily or weekly… It might help keep you focused on the positive!!! (If you do want to sign up, there’s a form linked to at the top of the blog where you can say “ME! I WANT TO DO THIS!”)

      1. Yes, I did sign up! I never knew such a blog existed or I would have used it long ago. Sometimes it helps to talk to others who understand the pressures and the joys of teaching. Thank you for replying and most importantly for your understanding! I wish you a good week.

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