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Essential Questions

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Like many of my colleagues, I believe that great learning is often framed around the pursuit of essential questions. So when I stumbled upon dropping knowledge last week, I bookmarked with the intention to share here. I see so many potential uses for kids and teachers. For instance, which of these questions align with your work? Which ones are you or your students willing to share? Browse themes, drag and drop these postcards into your…

Jamie McKenzie touches upon what they aren’t in his text Learning to Question, Learning to WonderĀ (FNO Press, 2005): “Unfortunately, the term is often bandied about with little rigor, definition or clarity so that many pedestrian and insignificant questions slip in under the term simply because they are large, sweeping and grand in some respects. Essential questions are not simply BIG questions covering lots of ground.” This distinction caught my attention for several reasons, but I’m…

I have a deep appreciation for the sort of struggle that sometimes ensues when teachers are asked to construct essential questions. In fact, I still remember my first experience with this. I was fresh out of college and grappling with the uncertainty that arrived upon discovering that the really cool Hamlet “unit” I strung together for my student teaching experience wasn’t going to see me through the next thirty or forty years of practice. My…