Essential QuestionsA Review of Selected ResourcesAmanda McKayCED 505.20Fall 2011
www.Galileo.orgCreating Essential QuestionsSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site explains that we get some of our I had never really thoughtmost basic understanding of concepts by about the imagination being atrying to answer Essential Questions. large part of Essential Questioning. I definitelyThese kinds of questions have been expect my students to useasked since we started asking questions theirs when I give a newabout how things work around us. They Essential Question, but Ihelp us make connections between all guess I never really put theparts of our lives and help us to share our connection together.knowledge with others. EssentialQuestions also “engage the imagination”so that when we dive into the unknown,we come up with new explanations andideas.
http://www.fno.org/feb01/pl.htmlFrom Trivial Pursuit to Essential Questions andStandards-Based LearningSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site showed what happens when a This site makes a lot of mention about essential questionsnon-essential question is asked…students relating to communication artsstrive to answer with that one piece of and history. There was noknowledge that will answer the question. mention of science and how theyBut there are better questions that can be are useful in that area of study where the standards that weasked to provoke more “insight” on a topic require kids to retain usuallyrather than just information that will be have a specific answer. Mayberecited back on an assessment. The this is why I have such troublemethod Understanding by Design uses writing EQ’s for things like writing chemical equations…EQ’s as a main focus when planning aunit.
http://www.fno.org/sept96/questions.htmlSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site is like a walk through a I had not really thought about the underlying questions that studentsstudent project aimed at trying to would have to ask. The way this isanswer an essential question. It points explained in the example it soundsout that students will likely not find all like it would work out great andof the answers on the internet and will students would get great results. There has been absolutely no talk ofneed to use each other and their the teacher’s role in this though;families and friends in order to gain all what happens to the students thatof the perspective that they need. don’t do their fair share of the work?The steps that this author outlines are The ones that are not motivated by thought provoking questions…Ito first give students an essential teacher the average high schoolquestion, then let them identify some student here, so I see all kindsunderlying questions, and then to use including the ones that WANT to do athis information to hypothesize/ predict good job and those that you have to pull kicking and screaming to do athe answer. good job.
http://www.fno.org/toolbox.htmlFilling the Tool BoxSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…There are 15 strategies described on I never really realized what a good thing I was doing by teaching mythis site that range from how to begin a students to always ask questions andunit with questioning to, test taking it is okay to not be successful thestrategies using questioning, to how to first time. I encourage my studentshave a classroom environment that to get as far as they can on each problem of a homework assignmentpromotes questioning. The examples even if they can’t finish it. I alsogiven with each are very helpful in encourage them to volunteer theirmaking sense of the strategy and answers while checking homeworkapplying it to your own content. The even if they don’t thing it’s right because we often learn best from ourmain point here is that questions are mistakes. It is very difficult to getthe “tools” in our “toolbox” in the them to open up to this idea ofpursuit of understanding and good putting yourself out there, but weproblem-solving. create a safe atmosphere for it and the skill grows throughout the year.
http://www.fno.org/nov97/toolkit.htmlA Questioning ToolkitSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site describes 17 types of What I learned from this site is that it is important to let students ask ALLquestioning that teachers could use questions and treat them all as goodwith their instruction. It seems that questions. Even the one’s that aremany of these types of questions asked in order to derail the teacherwould be necessary in order to answer can be turned into something that promotes learning. I have observedone overarching Essential Question. many teachers dismiss questions thatSome of the questions help organize are not directly relevant to the topicbefore starting out on a search, while at hand. I, on the other hand, enjoyothers help along the way. Even taking all of their questions and turning them into learning…which“irrelevant” and “divergent” questions irritates students to no endcan lead students to good places and sometimes, but they come to expectshould be explored. it from me.
http://www.fno.org/parenting/outline.htmlParenting for the Age of InformationSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site gives parents a great This is quite a change from the way that many of my student’s parentsresource for working with their children were raised. They were taught thatthat are maybe learning in a different their parents and teachers had all ofway than they did. Children today will the answers and they were to justneed to deal with a fast-changing learn them. These days though, teachers try to get students tosociety and need to be able to question and make their own choicesproblem-solve quickly. Parents are so that they are ready for society,encouraged to promote being but many parents do not understandinventive, questioning, using puzzles, that. This feeling sometimes comes out as “the teacher is not doingand making choices. They will need to his/her job” when the students arebe able to adjust quickly as adults and responsible for their own knowledgeit is a parent’s responsibility to get their by questioning and investigating…it’schild ready. hard work and it’s supposed to be, but sometimes students and parents don’t get that.
http://web001.greece.k12.ny.us/academics.cfm?subpage=923Themes & Essential QuestionsSummary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site provides essential questions Essential questions seem much easier to write for the communication artswritten for a certain theme and grade and social sciences. There have notlevel. They are all open-ended and been any examples in the sites that Icould be used for one unit of study up have explored so far on essentialto an entire year. All of the questions questions in science, which is what I am most interested in.in the documents attached to this pageseem to relate to human nature. Theyare not content or subject areaspecific.
http://www.marshall.k12.ky.us/cd/High%20School/Science/chemistry/HighSchoolchemistry_orq.htmHigh School Chemistry Curriculum (Marshall SD)Summary of this site… Something that I learned/was revealed…This site is a summary of the high I learned some more creative ways to present the essential questions in myschool Chemistry curriculum in the own classroom. My district hasMarshall School District in Kentucky. encouraged the use of essentialThe content standards, essential questions for several years, however,questions, terms, activities, and our training on them was not content specific and I think some of us stillassessments were all available. Most struggle with them. This curriculumof the essential questions were guide gave me some good ideas ofimaginative and thought provoking, but what to do with some of my currentrequired knowledge of chemistry to topics.attempt an answer.