Question Jar

  • Situation

    I am a regular education science teacher that has a student with autism in my class. He communicates very little and will not participate in most class activities. I’m looking for some ideas of how to get him to participate more meaningfully in class routines.

  • Summary

    Often students with significant disabilities are included in regular education settings yet, do not seem to be a part of the class. Try to think of some different ways that ALL kids can participate as part of your natural classroom routine. For example, using a “Question Jar” as a means to increase student participation is an easy strategy for hesitant “hand raisers” or students who have trouble communicating and interacting during class discussions. A question jar can provide opportunities for a few students to draw from the jar and “ask” the teacher a question or “prompt” further discussion. If a student can communicate, they can read the question/statement aloud. If a student is hesitant or cannot verbally communicate, they can pick out of the jar and give the “question” to the teacher to read and respond accordingly. This is a simple strategy that can be developed for the entire class but gives a student with a disability the opportunity to participate meaningfully in a typical class routine.

  • Definition

    A question jar is a jar or can that contains a variety of pre-written questions or prompts for the teacher to help reluctant or language impaired students participate in teacher led lessons.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    container with appropriate questions

  • Process

    1. Label a glass jar or coffee can with “Question Jar”.

    2. Create a variety of questions or prompts that would lead to a meaningful discussion on a class topic or answering of a question related to the lesson.

    3. Questions can vary such as “What is the most important concept about this topic?” or “Who would like to re-teach something from today’s lecture?” or even statement such as “Call on 2 of us to role play something from today’s lesson.” “Tell us how we should focus our studying for test.”

    4. Make sure the questions or statements are age appropriate and pick those that can have application across lessons.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    This resource was authored by Watson Institute Special Education Consultant, Lisa Plastino, M.Ed.

    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.