6 Q’s about the news

The Learning Network, part of  The New York Times’ Education section,is a wonderful source of teaching ideas and information.  I’ve blogged about their “Poetry Pairing” columns “which consists of a poem and a short introduction to it by Ted Kooser, a former United States poet laureate and a piece from The Times that in some way echoes, extends or challenges the words and themes of the poem.”  I’ve used some of these pairings in my language arts classes and am slowly collecting and assembling some pairings of my own that are sixth grade specific.
I stumbled upon another, equally wonderful, section this week: 6 Q’s About The News  
The premise is quite simple:


Answer the six basic news questions–who, what, where, when, why and how–about a timely or interesting news story.

This framework is used to address a new article and is posted daily.  Today’s questions were based on an article on satellites:  Russian Official Suggests Weapon Caused Exploration Spacecraft’s Failure, and looked like this:
WHAT is the Phobos-Grunt?
WHY might the Russian spacecraft be falling?
WHO questioned the circumstances of the falling spacecraft?
WHERE might radar signals that could have damaged the spacecraft have originated?
WHEN do scientists expect the spacecraft to fall?
HOW did this lead to vague allegations against the United States

Reading over this particular section made me think about how my students struggle with their current events articles – we’re still learning how to read non-fiction closely and identify the most important bits of information.  Sometimes, my kids “summarize” the least important points in their article and miss the key ideas entirely.  Looking at these questions made me think of approaching current events in a different way. How much more closely would my kids have to read their articles if they also had to frame questions based on the article?
Before our next current events rounds, I think we will use some of the NYTs 6Q’s About The News to learn how to go about doing this.  Perhaps the title of our project will be 6 Q’s About My News – my students would have to come up with 6 questions in addition to their summary.  I’m hoping that this added twist leads to closer reading…and a better understanding about the main ideas in their current event articles of choice.


4 thoughts on “6 Q’s about the news

  1. Yes, I agree, Tara, The Learning Network is awesome-so many wonderful ideas & resources. It might be fun to work there! I like your idea of creating the questions. Perhaps it will help students get to the 'meat' of the articles in their summaries if they cover the whole article with 5 w's & h? It's worth trying.

  2. This sounds interesting. My 7th grader just asked for a subscription to TIME magazine, and he's getting interested in the world's news; this sort of thing helps him figure out what he's reading.

  3. For Poetry Friday:Hi, Tara! I'm in California and can't get to my computer until Friday afternoon,(I will get back to you with the specific URL after it posts) so: Thank you for hosting today, Tara! TeachingAuthors' contribution for Poetry Friday is an interview with author/illustrator Barney Saltzberg, including his advice about rhyming and his poem about bullying: http://www.TeachingAuthors.com Thanks for hosting today! I loved your post last Friday about Joyce Sidman's The World According to Dog. She is such a fine, fine poet. *sigh*~ April

  4. I think 6Qs is a great idea to get kids thinking more about what they read. As always, my brain wants to turn it into a game or competition. (Sorry, it's what I do.) You could have students or teams answer each others' questions for points. Or choose your favorite 6Qs, and the kids' who have provided them "win."

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