Little Richard was a rock n’ roll pioneer who recently passed on. He inspired the Beatles. They were pretty cool. This is my favourite Little Richard song:
Slippin’ and a Slidin’
Readers may come across questions that seem open-ended and difficult to answer. We call these Tough Questions. These Tough Questions are asked by an author through dialogue between characters or by sharing the character’s inner thoughts with the reader.
Sometimes the questions are asked obviously, for example a main character asks aloud, “I wonder what will happen now?”.
Sometimes they are presented as a choice to be made. For example, “I could either stay here and nothing would change or I could get on this bus and see what happens..”.
No matter how the Tough Questions are presented, their purpose is to signal that we need to stop and wonder. We need to wonder about the inner struggles of the character and perhaps reflect on our own inner struggles.
When we connect with the material in this way, by wondering about possible solutions to Tough Questions, we are able to better understand the story and empathize with the characters.
Here is an example from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In this example, the narrator asks a Tough Question in a unique way. They use reverse psychology. They ask NOT ask a specific question. Do not be tricked! This signals to the reader that there is a Tough Question they should stop and consider.
“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.”
As good readers, we should stop and consider,
“Why might the Grinch, or anyone, hate Christmas?” Maybe they had a bad experience with Christmas in the past, maybe they misunderstand Christmas, … there are many possible explanations.
Near the end of the book, the Grinch asks another tough question. He asks himself how the Whos of Whoville can be celebrating Christmas with out presents, without trees, without decorations… He asks himself, “What does Christmas mean?”
As good readers, we are empathizing with these situations and wondering. The important part is that you can identify the Tough Questions being asked and can consider why there is a conflict and what are possible solutions or answers.
Try to identify the Tough Question being asked from from Disney’s Mulan. (2m36s) When you watch consider: What is the Tough Question she is asking herself? What is the conflict she is experiencing? What does asking this question teach us about who Mulan is?
Her big question is: When will my reflection show who I am inside? Mulan feels conflicted because the way she is living isn’t true to who she feels she is. She doesn’t want to disappoint her family, but she also doesn’t want to disappoint herself. Her conflict shows that she values both her family and her own desires. We can predict that she will have to make a choice between the two.
Here’s another example of a Tough Question (2min). Although not obviously asked aloud, we can see that the conversation between the boy and his imaginary reflection is the result of a serious question he is actually asking himself.
As you watch, consider what is the Tough Question he is asking himself?
Just because you notice a question is asked does not mean that it is a Tough Question.
For example, take the question, “What’s for supper?”. This is NOT a Tough Question. It can be answered simply. Maybe the answer is broccoli soup with a little cheddar. It does not cause us to think deeply. This is a simple question.
“Why am I allowing myself to be dressed up in this ridiculous broccoli floret costume when I said I didn’t want to be?” This is an example of a tough question that encourages wondering.
Let’s see if you can tell the difference. Do you think the RugRat below is asking a simple question or a Tough Question?
If you thought it was a Tough Question, you were right. And if you started to automatically wonder what might be a reasonable reply to his question, then my friend you are fabulous!
Below is a clip where we can consider some Tough Questions. You will be asked to answer the form below to demonstrate your understanding of Tough Questions.
Your brain acts as function all the time! It takes in information (INPUT) from its environment and makes decisions (OUTPUT). Yeah, just like a computer!
You can not spell function with out the word FUN right? So here we go.
Watch the following video and complete the text box below:
Question #1: How many dots will be in the fourth grouping ?
Question #2: How many dots will be in the fifth grouping?
Here are details about how we communicate functions in math language:
I am a teacher and that was a t-chart. I know it confuses so here are a couple pictures that should help: