These are the sites I will looking at:
Site 1- Galileo- Creating Essential
This site goes over key components of essential questions
for application purposes.
Their points are:
A question that is essential is one that people ask to learn
more about their world. These kinds of questions have
been asked for generations
An essential question should also be deep enough that it
connects to more than one learning discipline, and it
requires critical thinking.
Essential questions should also be explored by a group (like
a class) because answering one together will not only allow
for discovery about the question but also for people to
discover things about each other.
Site 1- Continued (Galileo)
Essential questions connect us to human knowledge of the
past and the present.
The big goal of an essential question is to connect the
known with the unknown, or the other way around. The
more you explore the more you can learn.
Essential questions should not have boundaries. Students
should be able to take them in their own directions to
control their learning process. Imagination and creativity
are key. If a question like this is used properly, it should
allow students to produce answers in more ways then
verbally or written responses. Instead, various projects
could be spawned off of the questions, expanding learning
Site 2- FNO- Trivial Pursuit Etc.
This site does a nice job explaining something I already
hated about education. That is, teachers asking pointless
questions. I dealt with it as a student, and now with my
coworkers. Here are some of the points made.
Questions that ask for useless facts are just that…useless.
Leading questions, where the teacher has already given
hints on the answer or mentioned it, are also worthless.
Most teachers just use these as an excuse to break their
lecture and pretend students are engaged.
Questions that ask for too much information, that students
cannot possibly know, are equally a waste of time.
Site 2- Continued..So What is
Questions that address critical thinking and can be answered
without prior knowledge work best.
A class should be edged in the direction of information but not
Students should be able to interpret facts and data through
If I tell a class “Calvin Coolidge was a quiet man and as president
he tended to turn to his aides and other government figures to
make many decisions”, I can then form a question from that.
Example: What kinds of problems might this present for
Coolidge? Think about the way people generally act.
At that point, I would be looking for responses about people
trying to take advantage of Coolidge in some way. This is
essential questioning off of a topic.
Site 3 – Filling The Tool Box
One thing is clear. There are a lot of tools in the box.
Perhaps too many. Way too many to look over here for
sure. So I am going to highlight a couple from each
part that seemed particularly interesting to me.
The questioning homework was a great idea. Sending
students home every night with a question to answer
building on the next day could be very effective. All of
the other suggestions are great as well. Having to find
the unanswerable questions, or one that takes at least 10
minutes of though etc, are all great ideas.
Tool Box Continued
The five minute question also poses good strategies. As I
mentioned when talking about the last site, many teachers ask
too many simple non thinking questions. Forcing students to
consider deeper questions is a great idea.
The section that discusses asking essential questions of theatre or
musical performers related to evaluating their performance is great.
As a theatre director, I can see much application for this. A lot of
performers would not like it much though!
The other item I found here that stood out were the test taking
strategies. So many students struggle with tests simply because they
do not read the questions right or think about what is being asked.
This would solve that problem if teachers would hammer home
There was clear a wealth of information throughout
these sites, as well as the additional ones I decided not
to review. I think the overall point is, ASK GOOD
QUESTIONS. In a way, having to review all of this
material kind of defeats the purpose it is trying to
shoot for. That is, there is no way anyone going
through all this is going to retain more than a little of
it. There is too much fluff and it is too dense. But I get
the point, and hopefully, people viewing this do as