RefinED Character is an educational consulting company specializing in social emotional development for preK-12 and collegiate communities.
Question Box- Inviting Student Voice
Posted by Scott Heydt on Friday, December 6, 2013
Under: Classroom Strategies
I remember finding it stuffed in a cabinet among some rarely used curricular materials when I moved into the classroom during my first year of teaching fifth grade. A simple, cardboard box marked with the word "Questions?" in bold, black print. Turns out, this box was meant for collecting those delicate questions that often pop into fifth grade brains when participating in the annual human growth and development talk. It got me thinking--if we're inviting questions about a sensitive but critical topic like human growth and development once per year, why aren't we inviting student voice like this all the time?
And so, Mr. Heydt's Question Box was born. Nothing flashy. Just an orange, Nike shoebox with "Questions?" written all over it and a slit in the top.
In the beginning of the school year, I would introduce the Question Box at our first class meeting. I would also thoroughly discuss the Question box slips, how they were used, and where they could be found (see
page for a copy of the form).
The box was meant for anonymous notes, private invitations to discuss an issue, or student classroom concerns. These were read by me, then acted upon in some way, every few days. Students knew I would check, and so students respected it as a useful tool. Sure, there was the occasional "tattle", but overall, it became a way for my students to say, "This is my classroom, and I have a voice."
Give your students a voice. After all, that shoebox is just taking up closet space.
In what ways do you invite student voice into your classroom?
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