I often make reference to my Universal Reading Questions (URQs) which I devised as a way to try and get my history students to interact with their history readings instead of just finding answers to a series of questions from the book. I wanted question one to give me what the students thought was interesting versus what I thought was interesting because sometimes these are wildly different. I recently added the "or important" part for my students who sometimes complained that "nothing was interesting."
Question two was important for me because I often found out in the middle of a class that something I thought all the students knew was in fact something that few if any knew. It helps me to find out their prior knowledge to build upon and to find out misconceptions that may need to be corrected.
Question three is the one that I feel is the most important, to make a connection. History should not be seen as a list of facts and dates, but a story to be told and understood. Without seeing the connections between events students will not be able to see how one action affects another and how things from the past influence their lives today.
So if you are interested, here they are. Feel free to use, or modify them as you see fit. If you can think of ways to improve upon them, let me know as I see them as a living document that is constantly being modified and hopefully improved.
1. List two things from the reading you thought were
interesting or important and why you think so.
Things that strike you as:
2. List two things from the reading that were unclear and/or
that you want to know more about.
-Don’t get it? Let me know, we’ll find the answer.
-Got it? Do you want to know more about?
-There is always more to know! (Pleas Be Specific)
3. Can you think of a similar situation (from the past or
something more current)?
What is the relevance of something from the reading to today’s world, your life, or the lives of your friends & family?
-This can be from history -From other classes
-Events at school -Something at home
-From your experiences
-Or from pop culture such as TV/YouTube/movies