Creating Text-Dependent Questions for Close Analytic Reading
Grade ___6____ Unit __3__ Week ___5__
This template is to be used to support alignment of our existing curricular resources to the Common Core State Standards.
NOTES ON PROCESS
An effective set of text dependent questions delves systematically into a text, to guide students in extracting the key meanings or ideas found there. The questions typically begin by exploring specific words, details, and arguments, and then move on to examine the impact of those specifics on the text as a whole. Along the way, the questioning targets academic vocabulary and specific sentence structures as critical focus points for gaining comprehension.
While there is no set process for generating a complete and coherent body of text dependent questions for a text, this planning process is a good guide that can serve to generate a core series of questions for close reading of any given text.
To really understand a complex text, the reader will have to read it more than once, to make sense of what the author is saying and to glean the details at both the explicit and implicit levels.
First and foremost, close reading demands a willingness to return to the text to read part or even all of it more than once, ultimately instilling important habits of mind in approaching text.
In working with CA Treasures as a tool to teach to the Common Core State Standards:
LOOK AT WHAT THE T.E. and EL RESOURCE BOOK ALREADY HAVE FOR READING THE SELECTION. They may already have some effective questions and recommendations that you can use and supplement. Or, you may wish to take a different approach.
The goal is to maximize student engagement with the learning in the text, as a pathway to mastering the Common Core State Standards. NOTES ON PLANNING STEPS
Step 1: Identify the Core Understandings and Key Ideas of the Text
As in any good backward mapping process, teachers should start by identifying the key insights they want students to understand from the text. Keeping in mind the major points to be made is crucial for crafting an overarching set of successful questions.
This step is also critical for creating an appropriate task to check for understanding.
Step 2: Target Vocabulary Locate the most powerful words in the text that are connected to the key ideas and understandings. Craft questions that draw students’ attention to these specifics so they can become aware of these connections. Vocabulary selected for focus should be academic words and high-utility words that are abstract and likely to be encountered in future reading and studies.
Needs of English Learners, SELs and SWDs should be a major focus in planning, e.g., contrastive analysis, vocabulary strategy practice, cognate connections, tiering vocabulary, clarifying common multiple-meaning words, vocabulary choices for particular registers, etc.
Step 3: Syntax & Text Structures - Tackle Tough Sections of the Text Find the sections of the text that will present the greatest difficulty, and craft questions that support students in mastering these sections. These could be sections with difficult syntax or text structure, use of the passive voice, particularly dense information, tricky transitions, or places that offer a variety of possible inferences. This is another opportunity to engage contrastive analysis strategies, e.g., L1-L2 phrasing, analyzing passive & active voice structures, translation from home language(s) to school and academic language, contexts for use of particular registers, etc.
Step 4: Create Coherent Sequences of Text Dependent Questions – Start Small to Build Confidence
The opening questions should help orient students to the text, and be specific enough to answer so students gain confidence. The sequence of questions should not be random but should build toward more coherent understanding and analysis to ensure that students learn to stay focused on the text to bring them to a gradual understanding of its meaning. Think of ways to maximize student engagement.
Step 5: Identify the Standards That Will Be Addressed in the Whole Lesson Take stock of what standards are being addressed in the series of questions and decide if any other standards are suited to being a focus. Form additional questions to exercise those standards.
Step 6: Create a Task to Check for Understanding
Develop a task around the key ideas or understandings identified earlier that:
Reflects mastery of one or more of the key objectives of the lesson, involves writing, and is structured to be completed by students independently.
Grade ___6____ Unit __3__ Week __5___
Step 1: Identify the Core Understandings & Key Ideas of Text
Step 1 – Identify Core Understandings and Key Ideas of Text
Honus and Me by Dan Gutman Illustrated by Ron Mazellan
Original TE Big Question for Unit (Unit planning page 240/241):
What values are important to your culture?
Enhanced Big Question (if applicable):
How do values represent what people believe and guide the way people live?
Selection Concept(s) - Each selection builds to a larger understanding of the Big Question.
How does this selection connect to the Big Question?
Cultures have values and beliefs that guide behavior and the way they live their lives.
CCSS Focus Standard(s) ______________ What CCSS literacy standard(s) will you be addressing with this re-read of the selection?
RL6.1, RL6.3, RL6.4,
Selection Question - Connect the CCSS Focus Standard to the Selection Concept(s) in the form of a question: How does the main character’s response to a moral dilemma reflect his core values and beliefs?
“You’ll get ‘em next time, slugger.” Page 343, ‘em is used as a colloquial expression. It is characteristic of a casual phrase, and is substituted for the word ‘them’.
“Ugh!” she replied, holding her nose. Page 344, the interjection ‘ugh’ is used to express a strong emotion.
“It’s just that Amanda Young is kinda weird.” Page 347, colloquial expression ‘kinda’ used for kind of to express ordinary, realistic speech patterns.
“There was this fella named Pete Browning.” Page 349, colloquial expression ‘fella’ used for fellow to express ordinary, realistic speech patterns.
“It was dark, filthy, and it looked like a junkyard.” Page 351, ‘like a junkyard’ is a simile used to express the messy attic.
Author uses incomplete sentences throughout the fictional story to create a mood of commonplace, informal, everyday speech patterns. Examples on pages 344, 351, 355
Step 4: Create Coherent Sequences of Text-Dependent Questions
Money, and the lack of it, is an issue in this realistic fictional piece. What is evidenced in the text to support this?
On page 344 the text says explicitly,
“Money was always a problem. When I was a little kid my folks used to argue a lot about it. Dad always seemed to have a rough time landing a job. When he found one, he never seemed to be able to hold on to it very long.” On page 344, the text describes Joey’s belief that if his parents had more money they wouldn’t have split up. He also wished he had a million dollars, or “even a half a million would have been nice.”
What does the author want the reader to infer about Joey’s attitude about money?
Joey feels that life would be better if money were not an issue. His parents would still be together, and his mother wouldn’t have to work so hard. He would be able to spend more on his baseball card collection, and not use the cards to prolong the life of his shoes. He also wouldn’t have to do odd jobs for the elderly lady, Amanda Young, next door.
How does the text describe Joey’s feelings about Amanda Young?
On page 347 the author using first person narrative writes, “It’s just that Amanda Young is kinda weird.” He goes on to describe that she never smiles, “She seems really sad, as if somebody did something terrible to her a long time ago and she never got over it.” Even though other kids think she is a witch, Joey explains, ”I think she’s just a lonely old lady. I feel a little sorry for her.”
How and why does Joey change his perception of Amanda?
Miss Young and Joey have a conversation about baseball. She says that, “I used to root for the Pirates when I was a girl. Well, one Pirate anyway.” She tells Joey about poring over the newspaper to follow the Pirates, and the manager who invented flip-up sunglasses outfielders wear. She also describes for Joey how the baseball bat was invented right there in his hometown of Louisville. All of this has Joey say, “For the first time, she had my interest.”
Miss Young goes on to hand Joey an old torn photo of a baseball player. She explains emotionally that, “I was supposed to hold onto this half of the picture until we say each other again. I waited and waited. But he never came back.” Joey notes she says this with tears in her eyes.
What does the author want the reader to infer about Amanda?
Her emotional response tells the reader that Miss Young had strong feelings for the baseball player in the photo. She states that she waited for him, and he never came back. Perhaps that is why she never married.
Joey’s job at Amanda’s house is to clean out the attic. When he sees the attic, he regrets accepting the job. What figurative language does the author use to describe the setting? Why is it appropriate?
On page 351, the author describes the attic, “ It was dark, filthy, and it looked like a junkyard.” Like a junkyard is a simile that describes how messy the attic is.
The author uses the literary device of foreshadowing on page 351. What is foreshadowed? What does it indicate?
On page 351, Joey picks up a single piece of cardboard and the author writes, “I felt a strange tingling sensation.”
Given all the background on Joey’s passion for baseball cards, Miss Young’s interest in baseball, and the description of the item he picks out of a stack of papers, the reader is left to imagine this is a valuable baseball card that causes the tingling sensation.
When Joey finds the valuable baseball card in Miss Young’s attic, he is faced with a dilemma. What is it?
Joey knows the card is worth “thousands of dollars”. He says that all his problems are now solved. “Or so I thought.” His feelings of overwhelming joy, happiness, and that nobody could “touch me, hurt me or tell me what to do” (page 354) gives over to, “A bad feeling. The baseball card wasn’t mine to take, really. It was Miss Young’s card. If anybody deserved to get rich from it, it was her. She had been nice enough to pay double for cleaning out her attic, and I had stolen her fortune.”
But his thoughts go back to why he should keep the card. “She told me to throw all the stuff away. If I hadn’t found the card, she wouldn’t have found it. It would have ended up buried in a landfill someplace, worth nothing to anyone.” Joey feels mixed up, but admits, “Deep inside I knew the right thing would be to give Miss Young back her baseball card.”
In the last line the author seems to indicate that Joey will not necessarily do the right thing.
Based on what the author has presented about Joey’s values and his character, what can you infer about Joey keeping the card, or giving it back to Miss Young?
Joey feels that money is the cause of many of the problems in his life. Extra money could solve his parents’ unhappy marriage, could allow his mother to not work so hard, and allow him to buy new shoes when needed. But, on page 347, the author writes that Joey “feels a little sorry” for Miss Young. His mother is a positive influence in his life. The illustrations on page 342 and 346 support this. Also, the way they greet each other when the mom comes home from work indicates a warm and positive relationship. The fact that Joey accepts the jobs his mother arranges for him, and that he shares his earnings with her also shows that they respect and are supportive of each other. All of this tells the reader that Joey and his mother have a home that has strong values. If Joey brought home thousands of dollars from the sale of the card, his mother would most definitely want to know where the money came from. All that is presented in the text about Joey and his mother’s life style doesn’t support her allowing Joey and herself to keep this new-founded wealth. Their values of good, honest work will most likely guide their behavior.
Step 5: Standards Addressed in the Whole Lesson
A single lesson can cover multiple standards
Step 5 – Identify Standards Being Addressed in Lesson
RL6.1, RL6.3, RL6.4,
W6.3 a-e, W6.4, W6.5, W6.6
SL6.1a-d, SL6.3, SL6.4,
L6.1a-e, L6.2a-b, L6.3a-b, L6.4a-d, L6.5a, L6.6
Step 6: Create a Task to Check for Understanding Describe task and steps students will take to achieve them.
Step 6 – Task to Check for Understanding
Prompt = Teacher instructions to students:
The author has chosen to leave the dilemma Joey faces in Honus and Meopen ended, with no resolution of the problem clearly described. Based on what the author has presented about the characters, the setting and the plot, write an ending as best you see fit. This completion should be organized around several clear ideas and plausible possibilities that build on Joey’s situation. Maintain the author’s first person narration.
Task & Steps:
Write a first person narrative completion for Honus and Me using descriptive details and well-structured plausible sequences of events
Maintain the author’s first person narration and the existing plot, setting and characters
Use narrative techniques of dialogue, pacing, and description to develop the events and/or characters
Use transition words, phrases and clauses to describe sequence shifts from time or setting
Use descriptive details and sensory language to convey characters’ experiences or feelings
Provide a conclusion that follows from the text’s selection.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
With support and guidance from peers and adults strengthen the writing through the editing process
Use word processing skills to produce and publish
Additional Tasks – (optional)Ex: to supplement or build toward culminating task; provide additional depth, complexity, novelty or acceleration for advanced students; make content connections; etc.
Notes to Teacher Ex: Which sections of text to focus on for particular teaching points; considerations for grouping; content connections, supplemental resources or links
Student Engagement – What format or strategies will give students the opportunities to actively engage with the learning?
Use post-its to chunk or to break up the text into smaller sections, which makes the character development more easily understood.
Use post-its to number the paragraphs, making it easier to cite and refer to the text.
Have students be responsible to create Right There and Think and Search questions from the QAR protocol. Allowing time to formulate and write questions and responses to ask classmates allow the plot and character development to be processed.