2A Voice from the FieldTeacher Talks About Essential Standards
3GoalsWhat is an essential question?How do I write effective ones?
4An Essential Question is One that lies at the heart of a subject or a curriculum & promotes inquiry & uncoverage of a subject.
5Essential Questions Have no simple “right” answer Provoke & sustain inquiryAddress conceptual or philosophical foundationsRaise other important questionsNaturally & appropriately recurStimulate vital, ongoing rethinking
6Examples What is a true friend? To what extent does art reflect culture or shape it?Is everything quantifiable?To what extent is DNA destiny?In what ways is algebra real and in what ways is it unreal?To what extent is US history a history of progress?
7Examples Must heroes be flawless? Who is entitled to own what? Is the subjunctive necessary?What makes writing worth reading?Does practice makes perfect?What is healthy eating? Healthy living?
8What makes a question “essential”? Recurs throughout all our livesRefers to core ideas & inquiries within a disciplineHelps students effectively inquire and make sense of important but complex ideas, knowledge, know-howEngages a specific & diverse set of learners
9Intent, not language, is the key: Why we pose the questionHow students are to tackle itWhat learning activities & assessments we expect
10Types of Essential Questions Overarching: Frame courses and programs of study around truly big ideasTopical: Are unit specific but still promote inquiryGOOD TEACHING USES BOTH!
11Overarching Essential Questions More general, more broadPoint beyond specific topics or skillsPromote transfer of understanding
12Examples of Overarching EQ Can a fictional story be “true”?How do a region’s geography, climate, and natural resources affect the way people live and work?How does technological change influence people’s lives? Society?How does what we measure influence how we measure?
13Examples of Overarching EQ How do we classify the things around us?Do artists have a responsibility to their audience? To society?How does language shape culture?Is pain necessary for progress in athletics?
14Topical Essential Questions Unit specific - used to guide individual unitsPromote inquiryResist simple answersRequire explanation & justification
15Examples of Topical EQHow might Congress have better protected minority rights in the 1950s & 1960s?Should we require DNA samples from every convicted criminal?Is Holden Caulfield a “phony”?
16Examples of Topical EQ What is the value of place value? What is electricity?How do we hit with greatest power without losing control?
17THEY CANNOT BE THE FOUNDATION OF OUR CURRICULAR DESIGN. Leading QuestionsMeant to culminate in a fact or completely settled conclusionNo sustained inquiry or argument intended or necessaryUnderscores an important point we want students to noteWe need these, too, BUT...THEY CANNOT BE THE FOUNDATION OF OUR CURRICULAR DESIGN.
18Where to start? Determine the “big ideas” Common Core and Essential StandardsCourse texts/Resources
19What are Big Ideas?Core concepts, principles, theories, & processes that should serve as the focal point of curricula, instruction & assessment.
20Big Ideas Are important and enduring Are not obvious May be prone to misunderstandingPrioritize contentAre transferableAre the building material of understandingsManifest in various ways within disciplinesAct as “conceptual velcro”
21Finding Big Ideas Clarify Content Priorities Worth being familiar with Important to know and doBig ideas & Enduring Understandings
22Finding Big Ideas Unpack the NCSCS (CC/ES) Circle key nouns, adjectives, & verbsDraft implied or stated big ideas based on those key words.Critically analyze the course textWork “backward” to determine what big ideas and/or EQ the text addresses
23Big Ideas can be Concepts Themes Issues/Debates Problems/Challenges ProcessesTheoriesParadoxesAssumptions/Perspectives
24From Big Idea to EQ Identifying EQ & Understandings Start with Big IdeaAnswer questions related to Big IdeaGenerate EQ & desired understandings
25Topic or Content Standard Making the ConnectionBig IdeaTopic or Content StandardUnderstandingEssential Question
26ExampleStandard: The learner will be able to read, respond to, and critique historically and culturally significant works of literature in order to understand their importance and relationship to past and present cultures.Overarching EQ: Does literature primarily reflect culture or shape it?Topical EQ: What does Romeo & Juliet teach us about Shakespeare’s view of destiny? How does it compare to yours?
27Where to get more information Other training sessions--may be department, planning period in-service, Curriculum DepotUnderstanding by Design by Jay McTighe & Grant Wiggins