Strategy Name: Question Cube

Strategy Citation: This is variation of Cubing—p.204 in A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies. It is also a strategy used in Patricia Cunningham’s Four Blocks program.

Strategy Description: Students use a cube with either questions or question starters on each side (depending on whether the strategy is used as a review or as a prereading activity). Students answer or write questions from each side of the cube.

Description/Name of the class in which you used the strategy: I used this strategy to review the story we had read during my 3rd grade shared reading lesson.

Rationale: My students this week have been very antsy and this strategy allows them to move around a bit. It is something fun. They are much more focused when they don’t know which question they have to answer so they pay attention to the reading.

Procedure: 1. I read the story Plantzilla to the class. I used it as an opportunity to model making inferences.
2. I got out my question cube (which is an inflatable cube with story element questions on it).
3. I explained to students the rules—only I would throw the cube and when they caught the ball I would ask them one of the questions on the cube. You may have them answer the question on the cube that is facing up when they catch it or that their thumb is on when they catch it. I wanted a little more control over the activity this time around.
4. I tossed the cube to each student and had them answer one of the six questions. The questions were:
a. What was the setting?
b. Who were the main characters?
c. What happened in the story?
d. What was the title and who was the author?
e. How did it end?
f. What was your favorite part?
5. After all students had answered questions we reflected on the activity went and whether we should do it this way or different way the next time we do it—they thought it went well and they would do it again this way.

Reflection:

  • How did it go? It went very well. Students were engaged in listening during the story and were engaged during the activity because they wanted to be able to answer the questions.
  • Describe the experience from your student's view. Did this literacy strategy reach diverse learners? What learning styles responded well to this strategy? Did you have students engaged that previously weren't? What learning styles seemed to like it least? Everyone was engaged. Visual and kinesthetic learners were addressed because the story had illustrations and the cube was tossed to them.

  • What changes would you make if you use the strategy again?
Not very many as the activity went very well.
• Make suggestions for using this strategy in other content areas.
This could be used in any subject area as a review for a test. Instead of having story element questions on the cube, you can write your own questions to review Science, Social Studies, or Math material. Also, this activity could be used to review vocabulary. Also, it could be used as a prereading strategy—with question starters like who, what, where, why, when, and how. This would be especially useful when studying history and can be used in conjunction with other strategies.

  • References
Cunningham, P., Hall, D. & Sigmon, C. (2000). The Teacher's Guide to the Four Blocks: A Multimethod, Multilevel Framework for Grades 1-3. Greensboro: Carson-Dellosa.


Stephens, E. & Brown, J. (2005). A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies: 125 Practical Reading and Writing Ideas. Norwood: Christopher-Gordon Publishing, Inc.