Essential Questions for my Walls #julychallenge Post 16

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4.  Translate learning goals into meaningful, interesting questions and challenges.

What if we thought about our teaching in terms of exploring open-ended questions that are interesting and meaningful to our students? What if we put “essential” questions on the board at the beginning of units and lessons, discussed with our students why they are important and meaningful, and then referred to them throughout the unit?

Is an excerpt from this post.  Along with posts from Anna and Kate, I know this is an area of needed growth in my planning.

For several days, I’ve been bugged by the lack of interesting bulletin boards in my classroom.  It bothers me that I am satisfied with sticking a motivational poster or favorite quote up for the entire year. I want something interactive, that has potential to impact student learning. 

Apparently my frustration in a tweet got into @druinok’s mind as well.  There have been some good discussions and even great ideas as a result of her post, yet it didn’t seem to be what I was looking for.

The excerpt above was it!  Why not have an essential questions board?  As we begin a unit, post to share our EQs, offer post-its for students to add to the board as we progress, revisit throughout the unit and again as a springboard for reflection as we end.

I believe this is one idea that will meet all of my goals.  It also supports a thinking environment from this #makthinkvis post.  I am looking forward to sharing more on the progression of this idea.

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3 responses »

  1. Your post is great timing for me, Pam. I’ve been working through the same thought process this summer. Just finished mapping year-long curriculum, writing essential questions, big ideas, and skills for each unit. I have a Promethean board with a regular whiteboard on each side. My plan this year is to use one whiteboard for each class I teach (Alg 1 and Alg 2). Start each new unit with its essential questions posted and keep referring to them as we work through the unit. Then post the big ideas (answers to the essential questions) as they’re discovered. Will also post the skills list for the unit (“I can” statements). Essentially, I’ll have one whiteboard per subject that will mirror my unit plan, but it will be smack dab in front of each student each day so that we can keep the big picture in mind–connecting math to the real world–as we go. I like your idea to offer sticky notes to kids for posting their own essential questions. Great idea that I’ll steal! 🙂

    • Sounds like our front of room layout is very similar. I have 3 preps in the fall, so I am trying to work that out in my mind. I give each student their own copy of unit organizer for INBs, so they can self-assess and track their progress. Having EQs posted, referring to them, adding Big Ideas as they come up will have an impact. I have just realized as I type, why not add a spot for personal – social goal setting on my organizer for each student to set, write and reflect.

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