ASK: The Wall

09-05-19vietnam1Today we have a panel of Vietnam veterans answering students’ questions. Students prepared using the ASK process. They read the book, The Wall, then journaled and wrote questions, then picked their best questions.

Last week we had high school students for the Lest We Forget program. The veterans commented this morning that middle school students haven’t learned to be politically correct yet and they find that refreshing.

  • 09-05-19vietnam2Did you ever lose hope? Answer: Never! If we got discouraged, we just worked harder.
  • What kind of conditions did you face on the battlefield?
  • If you could meet a Revolutionary War solider what would you tell him?
  • What was your rank in the army?
  • What was the scariest thing that happened while you were there?
  • If you could go back and do something different, what would you do?
  • What kinds of food did you eat?
  • 09-05-19vietnam3Do you have any tips of what to do in boot camp?
  • What kind of medals did you get?
  • What did you do for fun while you were in Vietnam?
  • What were your sleeping arrangements?
  • How long were you there and how long were you supposed to be there?

We connected to 10 schools and the veterans answered 84 09-05-19vietnam4 copyquestions in 4 sessions. Students from Allendale Middle School made a wonderful sign to thank the veterans at the end of the session. They really appreciated it!

This was our last ASK program for the school year. We’ve had a great selection of books, authors, and specialists for the students to interview. Now it’s time to plan for next year. For you, too! This is an easy ASK program to do, and builds a good relationship with your community. I encourage you to try it!

0 replies on “ASK: The Wall”

  1. I need to learn more about ASK, and am intrigued by the focus on developing student questions. What are your thoughts on screening student questions beforehand? I heard you say that the veterans appreciated the fact that the students weren’t yet politically correct, which I assume to mean that their questions were genuine, real, from the heart, and without a strong ‘filter’.

    Would any type of censorship of questions steal a measure of authenticity to this type of activity? My gut reaction is that, for the most part, keep the questions but filter out anything grossly inappropriate. Then again, where that line is drawn might be different for different people and clearly these veterans appreciated the candid questions.

    Your thoughts on whether questions are censored or filtered beforehand, and who should be screening them? The students themselves? Their teacher? The VC coordinator? The guest presenter? All of the above? None of the above?

    • Hi Danny,

      The ASK program has the filtering process built into it. I have never heard an inappropriate question in all the years of doing ASK. (We learned it from Macomb.)

      This website shows the process developed by university professor Raymond Kettel. You can see that the students go through several layers of processing their questions until the best are at the top.

      Our authors for the TWICE ASK programs always say how impressed they are with the students’ questions because of following this process.

      One of our veterans wanted to script the session – get all the questions ahead of time, put them in chronological order of the war. But to me this loses the serendipity and freshness of a live, anything-can-happen videoconference. Then you may as well just record it once and give them a DVD. I would rather the teachers guide the students & bring out the questions related to what they are studying in their class. You can really tell that some classes are focusing on different aspects by their questions. That’s the beauty of it, in my opinion.

      Does that help clarify?

      By the way, I tried to write down a bit about how to run the ASK program here. You might find that helpful too.

      • Good point on differentiating power of videoconferencing and live interactions vs. a DVD or scripted production.

        I think Christina or Rich (Kigluait Educational Adventures) blogged about why we should use videoconferencing a while back and it did focus on the interactive nature of the technology.

        This is why one should understand the technologies and which to use when . Not all technologies fit all tasks.

  2. Danny, I can’t testify to how much my teachers screen the questions, but we have had such high-quality questions generated by students in our ASK programs.

    One student did ask Rusty about his wife and how much money he made in one of our Weather With Rusty sessions, but Rusty handled it beautifully. The student actually pulled a fast one during that connection. The teacher told me later that that was NOT the question originally planned. 🙂

    Another aspect is that our teachers do such a good job that we were participating in an author videoconference (not an ASK program) and our school was so well prepared with questions that they got to ask because the other schools had not prepared.

    I think it comes down to preparing the students as you would for a guest coming into the room or taking them on a field/study trip.

    I do try to pay close attention when I am moderating so that I can assist or facilitate if something might happen. With the veterans, I also set the tone for the connection as we begin and our teachers have been absolutely fabulous also.

    The ASK Program is wonderful! Am so grateful that Arnie shared it with Janine who shared it with everyone else!

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