Questions about Questions: NCSS and UbD

Name: Thompson, Kelsie

Topic: ID

Citation: Wiggins, G. (2014, December 8). Questions about Questions: NCSS and UbD. Granted, and… ~ thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins. Retrieved August 5, 2020, from

Background: This post comes from a blog entitled Granted, and… ~ thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins. I discovered it while exploring various web pages about the C3 Framework – an instructional approach founded on inquiry to promote college, career, and civic life readiness for students – as it was mentioned as a helpful resource for those who want to learn more about designing and implementing inquiry in social studies well. The inquiry design model is fundamental to the C3 Framework, as is collaboration and experimentation by educators who want to try this approach out for themselves. I became familiar with the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards during my undergraduate pedagogy and history courses, as well as the importance of creating good questions, so I am eager to share this helpful resource!

Summary: In a nutshell, this blog post exists to help educators navigate the process of designing meaningful essential/compelling and supporting questions as they and their students prepare to embark on an inquiry journey. In this post, Grant Wiggins, co-author of Understanding by Design, explains the differences and similarities between the language used by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), which published the C3 Framework for Social Studies, and his own book in defining these types of questions. In doing so, Wiggins offers valuable insight into the traits and functions of good supporting and compelling/essential questions, as well as the process for creating them. Wiggins uses a variety of examples to demonstrate this process to the reader, which includes discussing the challenges that can arise and how to match the wording of each question to its intended purpose.

Evaluation: I found this post to be very insightful, thoughtful, practical, and overall well worth my time to read. There is clarity, detail, and vitality, making this a fascinating and highly readable piece. It is evident that Wiggins has extensive firsthand experience with writing questions, has clearly studied this topic closely, and bases this post on other credible, reputable sources, which lets me know that I can rely on this information. I strongly believe that asking good questions transforms learning and is a trait of a lifelong learner, so I think this post and the C3 Framework in general contribute well to those ends. I feel inspired to use this post to create my own reference sheet for question-making, and it is my hope that my fellow educators on here will benefit from learning more about writing good questions, too.

Build a School in the Cloud TED talk

Mackey, Megan


Mitra, S. (2013). Build a school in the cloud. Retrieved from

A Ted talk form the winner of the 2013 TED prize. He talks of his experience giving students computers  and their self-motivation, curiosity, and success learning. He talks of his wish was to create a school in the cloud through SOLEs (self organized learning environments).

An intriguing idea but how successful was this? There is a blog post about him bringing the first learning lab in the US to Harlem in 2015.  Not much is to be discovered online. Even their own website doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2016. A documentary was recently released in England. Is it still in practice? Perhaps the larger educational system of the US is just too much to tackle?


10-Minute Teacher Podcast: 5 Ideas to Experience Inquiry in Your Classroom

Isbister, Kathy


Davis, V. (Producer & Host). (2018, September 14). 10-Minute Teacher http://podcast (Episode 360: 5 ideas to experience inquiry in your classroom). Retrieved from

Summary: I recently found this podcast from a list of recommendations from the Edutopia blog, and I have become an active listener. In this episode, host Vicki Davis interviews Kimberly Mitchell, author of the book Experience inquiry: 5 powerful strategies, 50 practical experiences. Tips involved sharing curiosity with students by telling them what you are interested in learning more about, and encouraging students to develop open rather than closed questions (where open questions invite more thoughtful responses). One of the questions Mitchell has found especially useful is, “How do you know that?” This encourages students to share their sources and examine how they come to conclusions. It is important to note that the host discloses this was a sponsored episode and she did receive some form of compensation, but I have found her work to be credible and I felt the ideas discussed were aimed at supporting teachers rather than selling books.

Evaluation: I found this to be an engaging discussion with practical suggestions that will be easy to implement. Both host and guest are interested in supporting student learning by helping students remain curious. Curious learners have more questions, which I have found to be the basis of inquiry. The quality of questions a learner has reflects their interest in a subject, and the search for thoughtful answers encourages them to continue on their personal quests for knowledge.


Memory Care at Your Library

Aubree Burkholder
Brautigam, F. (2016, September). Memory Care at Your Library. Retrieved, from
This article outlines the importance of library programming for the community. The programs that are focused on primarily are those that are designed to help those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and their families/caregivers to feel less isolated. Programs such as the Memory Project in Waukesha Counties, Wisconsin have enjoyed a great participation rate and successfully helped form new bonds within the community.


I enjoyed this article because I myself have known family and friends who have suffered with Alzheimer’s disease and I saw firsthand how difficult it was for their families. I feel that programs like the Memory Café are great resources for caregivers and sufferers alike to not feel so isolated when dealing with this devastating disease.

What Makes a Literacy?

Miller, Olivia


Bergson-Michelson, T. and Serof, J. (2016). What makes a literacy? Knowledge Quest 44(5).
This essay clearly and concisely defines “literacy” in a way the explains all the contemporary uses of “literacy” that have been springing up in educational contexts: digital literacy, civic literacy, financial literacy, etc. Answers the question: are these emerging skill sets the province of school librarians? With a resounding YES. Defines literacy and fundamentally a sense-making process; traditional literacy (as in, learning to read and write) transforms symbols on a page into consumable content and information. Other kinds of literacy similarly transform the unknown into sensible components. Students are struggling with sense-making in new contexts; school librarians can help. This includes learning to ask the right kinds of question as a learning process skill that can be applied everywhere. New situations, subjects, and technologies are not impossible to tackle if students know how and what kinds of questions to ask.
This essay is very short; I felt its conciseness actually helped its articulateness. Literacy is a huge topic that branches out into many different kinds of things. This helped me step back and understand it before diving into to more particular details and sub-topics like 21st Century Skills and Digital Literacy. It also contains references to scholars and other essays that become more specific under the Literacy umbrella. A strong piece with many paths to other readings and references.