Over winter break my literacy team and I spent an entire afternoon (Yes! One whole afternoon!) creating an essential question for our upcoming realistic fiction unit. I went into this meeting thinking each unit has one essential question, and that is what we created. One question incorporating reading, writing, skills, etc. Exhausted after many hours, here was our question:
*How do writers purposefully create and design a meaningful plot that invites their readers to envision and infer?
We weren't completely sold on it, as we felt like it focused just on writing. Although, one has to be able to do this in reading in order to transfer it into their writing. But, shortly after break we did some thinking about Michelle's Friday spent on essential questions. When learning about the different types of overarching and topical questions, I became more confused. I realized that my upcoming unit was missing some crucial essential questions-even after all of our hard work. Units of study should have two to five essential questions created for different reasons was my big learning.
So, I kept our initial question, but I added a few others. One of the questions I asked was what makes a good character. We used these questions to guide both our reading and writing study.
After our unit was complete, students reflected on their work by choosing one of the questions and responding. This was the most beneficial reflection I have done in terms of what content students take away. Usually, I'm not extremely satisfied with students' reflections when I ask the basic questions: what did you learn, what did you do well, what do you want to improve on. In the future, I plan on using the guiding questions as part of our reflection for every unit. It was extremely informative! It's amazing what kids do when they too know what they are trying to learn/achieve.
Here are the links to our blogs where students reflected.
3rd Grade-What makes a good character?
3rd Grade-How do authors create a plot that invites readers to envision and infer?
4th Grade-What makes a good character?
4th Grade- How do authors create a plot that invites readers to envision and infer?