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2015 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

70th ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

March 21–23, 2015, Houston, Tex.

Discover new ideas and practical strategies that deliver real results for students.

 

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Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding

Jay McTighe & Grant Wiggins

Table of Contents

About the Authors  |  Comments

About This Book

What are “essential questions,” and how do they differ from other kinds of questions? What’s so great about them? Why should you design and use essential questions in your classroom? 

Essential questions (EQs) help target standards as you organize curriculum content into coherent units that yield focused and thoughtful learning. In the classroom, EQs are used to stimulate students’ discussions and promote a deeper understanding of the content. 

Whether you are an Understanding by Design (UbD) devotee or are searching for ways to address standards—local or Common Core State Standards—in an engaging way, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins provide practical guidance on how to design, initiate, and embed inquiry-based teaching and learning in your classroom. Offering dozens of examples, the authors explore the usefulness of EQs in all K–12 content areas, including skill-based areas such as math, PE, language instruction, and arts education. As an important element of their backward design approach to designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment, the authors

  • Give a comprehensive explanation of why EQs are so important;
  • Explore seven defining characteristics of EQs;
  • Distinguish between topical and overarching questions and their uses;
  • Outline the rationale for using EQs as the focal point in creating units of study; and
  • Show how to create effective EQs, working from sources including standards, desired understandings, and student misconceptions.

Using essential questions can be challenging—for both teachers and students—and this book provides guidance through practical and proven processes, as well as suggested “response strategies” to encourage student engagement. Finally, you will learn how to create a culture of inquiry so that all members of the educational community—students, teachers, and administrators—benefit from the increased rigor and deepened understanding that emerge when essential questions become a guiding force for learners of all ages.

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Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding

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Book Details

Table of Contents

Related Resources

Product No: 
109004

ISBN-13: 
978-1-4166-1505-7

Availability:
April 2013

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"You need it for your instruction and teachers will love it as well."

—Hilda Weisburg, School Librarian’s Workshop
Reprinted with permission from School Librarian’s Workshop (Aug/Sept 2013).

About the Authors

Jay McTighe, AuthorJAY MCTIGHE brings a wealth of experience developed during a rich and varied career in education. He served as director of the Maryland Assessment Consortium, a state collaboration of school districts working together to develop and share formative performance assessments. Prior to this position, Jay was involved with school improvement projects at the Maryland State Department of Education where he directed the development of the Instructional Framework, a multimedia database on teaching. Jay is well known for his work with thinking skills, having coordinated statewide efforts to develop instructional strategies, curriculum models, and assessment procedures for improving the quality of student thinking. In addition to his work at the state level, Jay has experience at the district level in Prince George’s County, Maryland, as a classroom teacher, resource specialist, and program coordinator. He also directed a state residential enrichment program for gifted and talented students.

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Viven Stewart, AuthorGRANT WIGGINS is president of Authentic Education in Hopewell, New Jersey. He earned his EdD from Harvard University and his BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis. Grant and his colleagues consult with schools, districts, and state and national education departments on a variety of reform matters. He and his colleagues also organize conferences and workshops, and develop print and web resources on key school reform issues.

 

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Keywords 

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teaching

Other Resources by Keyword

questioning techniques | Understanding by Design | curriculum development | instruction | student engagement