What’s Essential?

What’s Essential?

By now, you should an idea about who you will be working with (or if you want to work alone, which I strongly discourage) and an idea for your project. Make sure you reference this rubric throughout the project. You are always welcome to look at past student examples to guide your project.

Let’s talk about critical thinking and problem solving.


We talked about the NETS on Monday, but let’s review so we’re all on the same page. What questions do you still have about these standards? What is problem solving and critical thinking?

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

a. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
d. Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

What’s Essential?

The first element of your project is to create an essential question (or questions) to guide the project. Let’s look at this What’s Essential Prezi to learn about essential questions and see some examples.

For the rest of class time, work with your partner or group to create some potential essential questions to guide your adventure.

  • Write the question that will be investigated. It could be an essential question, but this isn’t required. (You may have more than one.)
  • Parents and students should know what the adventure is about based on this question.

What is a Good Hook? (If you have time, your group may want to start on this next part)

Think about lessons in school that really hooked you in, or made you want to engage in the lesson. The task and hook work hand in hand to focus the students on the learner outcomes. Designing the task and hook is a balancing act between providing the students with a direction and purpose, but not directing them with steps to follow or a menu of choices. The hook is just what it sounds like. It is a way to compel the students to want or need to know and learn the content the teacher has included in the project.

Some questions to think about:

  • Who owns the problem presented?
  • How does this problem relate to the student?
  • Does the task or problem pass the “so what” test?
  • Do the students have input as to how the task is approached?
  • Are there multiple solutions for the task?
  • Does the problem seem authentic for the student?
  • From (http://ed.fnal.gov/lincon/act/el/ml_taskhook.shtml)

For Friday

  • We will be working from home (or you are welcome to meet with your group in the lab) Friday. I will have a blog post explaining the next part of the project. Please make sure to check the post as I will be out of town.
  • If you want to create a Google Site, you can start this with your partner or group. This is not required at this point, but keep a few things in mind if you do:
    • Make sure the title of your site reflects the nature of your adventure.
    • Share permissions within your site with your partner or group. You will want to make sure everyone is set as an owner so that they can make edits. Here’s a video to help you choose the correct settings.
    • Make sure your navigation bar reflects the sections in the rubric: Author Introduction, Inquire, Hook, Organize, Explore, Show What you Know, Finding a Career, and Parent Teacher Letter. (We talked about how to change the order of the navigation bar last week – here’s a tutorial if you forgot.)

Project Schedule (Looking Ahead)

11/2 – Hooking Students (The Anticipatory Set) – from home

11/5 – Creating a Graphic Organizer for Students

11/7 – Creating Exploration Activities for Students

11/9 – Creating ways for Students to Show What They Know

11/12 – Helping Students Find a Career/Parent-Teacher Letter

11/14 – Author Introduction Videos

11/16 – Workday for your group to finalize the Learning Adventure

11/19 – 11/23 – Thanksgiving Holiday

11/26 – 11/30 – Learning Adventures Showcase (Final Group Presentations) – I love this week!!! Plan to bring food!!!