Creating Big Ideas and Essential Questions

As we have seen in class, it is important to start planning to teach by creating big ideas and essential questions.

In Understanding by Design, McTighe and Wiggins have created a framework for the planning of curricula in a powerful and effective manner. They start by having the teacher determine what's important/to determine priorities. To do this, this encourage teachers to create Big Ideas (which I have been calling "what is fundamental") and Essential Questions (which I have been calling "provocative questions"), as a means of establishing what is fundamentally important to what you are teaching. 

As an example, take a look at the work that Alexander and Jessy did:

They are clearly talking about English-y things (especially writing and reading, as I see it), but they have also clearly prioritized diverse perspectives as what is fundamentally important. So, regardless of what they teach, they will do so, likely, through this lens. This focus will shape their choices of activities for their students as well as the rest of their teaching.

As many of you discussed in class, this is not so much about answering a question but is much more about opening a discussion. And being provocative and evocative is pretty good too.

Your next task, for Tuesday's class, is to create a stable set of fundamental things about your content area, and to create one or two provocative questions as well. As you saw in today's class, this work takes lots of thinking and revision, so please allow time with your groups to do so.

Here is the work you and your groups have done so far:



TCH 215 Spring 2020

TCH 215 Spring 2020

Welcome to the online home for TCH 215.

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