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Essential Questions: Opening Doors to Student Understanding

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  30 reviews
This book from the authors of Understanding by Design explores how to design and frame essential questions that prompt students to think deeply and create a more stimulating environment for learning.
Paperback, 119 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (first published January 1st 2013)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  303 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Kris Patrick
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love writing essential questions!!! And yes, they can start with who, when, and what.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an easy read for a PD book. It gets right to the point, is filled with excellent examples of what essential questions are (and are not), and doesn't leave out subjects like foreign language or the arts. All this and without being preachy or overly dramatic about the research (or heavy handed about UbD). The one area where I think it would be helpful to have more specific examples is the end of unit project or assignment that ties back to the essential questions. These are mentioned but o ...more
Rick Silva
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book focuses on a very specific aspect of teaching: The framing and use of essential questions in the classroom. Essential questions are questions that are open-ended, provoke meaningful discussion and inquiry, and can be revisited throughout a unit, a curriculum, or even across disciplines or grade levels.

There are a lot of good ideas and inspiration in this book for creating a more inquiry-based classroom, whether or not you decide to go all-in with essential questions as a central device
jeffrey s. edwards
4.5 stars

Gave me a much better understanding of how teacher questions can drive student inquiry, especially in the PYP framework. Definitely recommended for teachers interested in concept based learning and inquiry.
Natalie Salazar
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Very useful.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finished it a while back...a good reference to go back to time after time. I have used parts of it in my professional learning with staff over the past couple of years.
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty easy and fun read for teaching program I'm in--covers the basic idea that classes could be more effective if based around key themes
Robert Durough, Jr.
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Robert by: Darryl Meekins
Shelves: must-reads
McTighe and Wiggins effectively and succinctly define, explain, and pave the way toward a culture of inquiry that may be applied to virtual any field of learning. Rather than focusing merely on rote memorization and regurgitation of material for exams to be graded based solely on “right or wrong” answers, we aid our students (and one another) by considering larger concerns—what McTighe and Wiggins call Essential Questions, those that require continued thought and inquiry. By encouraging better t ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
This book was provided to all of the teachers in my building for a book study, as the administration (myself included) will be focusing on questioning and essential questions during evaluations in the coming school year. The content of the book is important, and it's filled with excellent examples of essential questions in several content areas.

I personally found the book to be quite dry, but I could tell the authors were attempting to make the subject as interesting as possible with their cont
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick, easy-to-read guide to encouraging student inquiry in the classroom, and designing challenging lessons for that purpose. This book challenges me to press beyond the transmission/recall approach to curriculum, and instead design my lessons around clear, substantive questions that students can continue to contemplate long after school is out. This is the first of my textbooks to offer practical advice on creating meaningful curricula, and deserves a permanent place in my professional libra ...more
Michelle  Hall
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
The authors have filled this book with great examples of what good essential questions look like, and clearly laid out the 7 defining characteristics of good essential questions. This book is a great read for those interested in creating a more dynamic culture of inquiry in their classroom - worth the read.
Ted Mallory
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
A little dry sometimes but eminently practical. This was exactly what I'd been looking for. Inquiry and curiosity are paramount if we are going to actually teach students to think for themselves. This book helps you use them. I am so glad I found it and read it. I wish our entire district was using it for staff development.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
5 stars = It was amazing; that's a pretty high bar, but this book reached it. I'm going to have to buy another copy to share with our principal, because my copy has notes and tabs all over it! I'm looking forward to reading UbD & some of this teams' other work, but I think I will keep coming back to this one.
Jan Michael
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quizzical on how to write understanding questions for exams? Much more increase your students opportunity to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding? This books get into the deep of tackling how to write essential questions that guide not only classroom discussions but forming deeper understanding.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Good: Slim volume clearly achieves it purpose through multiple examples and explanations. Effective organization. Doesn't belabor points. Offers a great entry into essential questions for teachers.

The Bad: This slim volume with its 8.5x11 size is actually unwieldy and difficult to hold. I don't understand the thinking behind making the pages so big.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fairly easy read with many good examples to guide teachers through creating meaningful units of study for and with students. It emphasized the importance of questioning in how we see and read the world.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the discussion since I never feel I nail the EQ in my units. Turns out, I do, but I primarily use topical essential questions, not over-arching essential questions. Good summer review before I start planning for 2016-207.
Shauna Tharp
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is very concise and to the point. It is relevant to educators' work to make instruction meaningful (both using and sometimes despite standards). I've actually read this before and just pulled it back out at a point when I was stuck in a unit for some extra focus motivation.
Carlene Walter
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inquiry
Great book of how to develop an essential questions - the exemplars and non-examples help promote a deeper understanding of topical vs overarching questions.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an easy read full of practical advice that can revitalize our pedagogy and help us see our curriculum in a different light.
Mills College Library
371.37 M1758 2013
David Hunter
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: curriculum, education
This is an accessible companion book to the Understanding by Design textbook. Also contains good advice for implementing essential questions in the classroom and at school.
The essential questions will be useful in our curriculum revisions.
Jason Bednar
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for any teacher wanting to understand and use essential questions in his or her classroom. It's very practical and descriptive.
Sharon Brown
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book gave a starting place to begin crafting my own essential questions.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! I can't wait to use this when developing new units and lessons when incorporating the Common Core. This is a great guide!
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Packed with insight and clarity about the why, the what, and the how to bring learners to understanding in its fullest sense, this is a book worth reading over and over.
Jill Adams
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've read this before but needed the refresher.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Resource

Recommend to educators hoping to engage students in inquiry-based student centered classes. Essential questions will engage and motivate all students.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
An easy read that gives great examples of what EQs are, what they are not, and how to get started writing them to help your lessons meet the rigor required for today's students.
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