EQs: Off the Walls and Onto the Desks

This year, essential questions are the big deal at my school.  Administrators expect to see them prominently posted whenever they come in to the room.  Recently I found myself the “substitute” in a 9th grade English class while the teacher was out on a short medical leave.  I loved the chance to get back in the classroom and teach one of my favorite texts, Romeo & Juliet.  Her room, however, was her classroom–her posters all over the walls, her messages all over the board, her stuff everywhere.  I didn’t know how long she was going to be out, so I was hesitant to erase something that may be important, but wanted to post the essential questions for the unit I planned.  But where?

Lately inspiration always seems to strike me in the middle of the night.  I wouldn’t mind if it would leave me alone and let me go back to sleep, but too many nights I find myself awake at the computer working away.  This was no different.  Around 2am I awoke and thought of those little table signs like they use to advertise desserts or specials at restaurants!  Her desks were arranged in tables, why couldn’t I post the essential question in one of those plastic frames?

So, at 2am, I started designing my table tent-essential questions!  I had two questions for the unit: Why does Shakespeare Matter? and What is Love?

EQs_ Off the Wall and Onto the Desk

I designed 5×7 slides in PowerPoint and then collected related quotes from Shakespeare for the back side of the frame.  I printed them on colored card stock.  Luckily, I had the frames already from a school fundraising dinner (available at Staples for $2.40).  I was very pleased with the way it turned out.  I wouldn’t do it every time, but the novelty certainly made the essential questions more prominent in the students’ minds and our discussions—they weren’t just posted on the board, but were actually a part of our learning.

What creative ways have you used to display essential questions or unit objectives?

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