Guest-Led Discussion: Text-Dependent Questions

Hello Colleagues,

Welcome to our guests, Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist, national coaches from OCTAE's Implementing CCR Standards project!

Lori and Kate will lead the College and Career Readiness CoP in a discussion of text-dependent questions beginning Monday, May 16!

We hope you will join us for this week-long discussion that explores the importance of text-dependent questions in adult education. Learn how to create them! Together Lori and Kate will share practical information about the role that text-dependent questions play in promoting CCR Key Advance 2—reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text. They will walk us through a step-by-step process that they use to create text-dependent questions, using a complex text sample. Then they will share the text-dependent questions that they created for that particular text.

To close out the week Kate and Lori will provide us with an opportunity to create text-dependent questions. Working with a different text sample, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at creating questions that the adult learners you work with will find worth answering.

Lori and Kate will be available, all week long to present information, share their expertise, assist community members and answer questions about the significance of text-dependent questions.

We are looking forward to a wonderfully rich discussion this week!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, College and Career Readiness CoP

Comments

We’re excited to join you in this week-long activity on text-dependent questions!

Our goal this week is to help you better understand and use text-dependent questions in your adult education classrooms and programs:

Post 2 Subject: Why Is Drawing Evidence from Texts so Important to Students?

Post 3 Subject: Exactly What Are Text-Dependent Questions?

Post 4 Subject: Guidelines to Creating Text-Dependent Questions

Post 5 Subject: Sample Text-Dependent Questions for the Monk Text

Post 6 Subject: Now It’s Your Turn to Create Questions with Another Text!

Post 7 Subject: Sharing the Questions We Created for Freedom Walkers

Post 8 Subject: Additional Resources on Text-Dependent Questions

Please feel free to post any questions or comments you might have – we welcome your participation!

Talk tomorrow, Lori and Kate

 

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

In this post we will set the groundwork for the rest of the week by highlighting the importance of the second instructional advance of the College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards:

 

Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational.

 

In particular, we will study the role of text-dependent questions in gathering evidence from what students are reading and researching.

The ability to gather evidence from text and to answer text-dependent questions is critical for college and career readiness. As Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney (n.d.) of the University of Chicago Writing Program report:

“In just about any profession [students] pursue, [they] will do research, think about what [they] find, make decisions about complex matters, and then explain those decisions—usually in writing—to others who have a stake in [their] decisions being sound ones.”

That's why the CCR standards strongly focus on students gathering evidence, knowledge, and insight from what they read.  Indeed, nearly all of the Reading Standards in each level require students to analyze aspects of a text; accordingly, aligned curriculum materials should have a similar percentage of text-dependent questions.

Powerful text-dependent questions are valuable and worth answering. They are questions that can include, but always go beyond, recall. They activate students’ abilities to focus carefully on complex texts, collect the evidence needed to support their claims and conclusions, and become better readers.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow we’ll go into greater detail about what text-dependent questions are and are not.

 

See you then,

Lori and Kate

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

 

(Source cited: Williams, J. M., & McEnerney, L. (n.d.). Writing in college: A short guide to college writing. Retrieved from http://writingprogram.uchicago.edu/resources/collegewriting/index.htm)

Lori, thanks for your post today. I grasp and support " the role of text-dependent questions in gathering evidence from what students are reading and researching." I will look forward to tomorrow's discussion on how to do that.

In my rural, isolated region, where most Adult Ed instructors are just now learning about CCR standards, I would like to see a focus on how instructors can easily match what they are doing or planning  to accomplish with CCRS. I think that most providers in this vast region have no idea of how the standards are grouped, and, much, less, on how they can be used to help them instead of just imposing another task to their over-demanding schedules.

Thanks for supporting this discussion! Leecy

Hi Leecy, this is a great request and one we can reflect on more throughout the week.  I encourage others to chime in with their thoughts on this subject. I had one immediate thought. One thing I realized as a teacher becoming familiar with the standards was that they do closely match important literacy goals I held for my students and was trying to achieve in my classroom.  An activity that helped me make this realization was an activity called "Name the Standards." Working with the anchor standards in the four areas of reading, writing, language, and speaking  and listening, participants review each anchor and have to give the standard a "nickname" of 5 words or less.  It is a great way to process the standards and consider the heart of what they are asking students to do.  My professional development colleagues and I have used this activity with teachers in PA and it is a great introduction to the standards.  The activity is available on the LINCS site as part of the resource entitled, "College and Career Readiness Standards:  The Instructional Advances in English Language Arts/Literacy, Units 1-4.  It is part of Unit 1.  I encourage you to download the materials and try it out with teachers. 
 

I agree with Lori - the resources available on LINCS to support professional learning on the College and Career Readiness Standards are vey valuable. Along with the 'Naming the Standards' exercise Lori mentions above, you might find Unit 2 very helpful to helping instructors match their classroom practices and resources to the expectations in the CCR Standards. This second unit focuses on selecting complex texts for use in adult education classrooms. and might address the concern you raise about imposing another task on educators (found on LINCS here). I hope this week's discussion and the resource collection", College and Career Readiness Standards:  The Instructional Advances in English Language Arts/Literacy, Units 1-4" are helpful to you and your colleagues!

Kate and Lori, I appreciate being pointed in the right direction and will certainly share your comments and practices with folks here in CO who will conduct trainings  in June. Thanks for the good suggestions for making things fun and engaging in the process of practicing CCRS skills. I'll stay tuned. Leecy

Hi, all,

Leecy's idea of having nicknames for the Anchor Standards is a great one.  I benefited from doing this and stole from CASAS queen, Linda Taylor, the following nicknames fro the Reading Standards

  • R1:  cite evidence, infer
  • R2:  main idea; summarize
  • R3:  analyze text development and interaction
  • R4:  meaning of words and phrases (vocabulary)
  • R5:  text structrue
  • R6:  author's point of view
  • R7:  diverse media and formats
  • R8:  analyze and evaluate arguments
  • R9:  compare 2 or more texts
  • R10:text complexity and independent reading

Hope this helps!  (Now, onto the Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language (and Reading Foundations) Strands...!

Dave

 

 

Welcome back! Today’s posts will explore what text-dependent questions are and are not. 

As the name suggests, a text-dependent question specifically asks a question that can only be answered by referring explicitly back to the text being read.  It does not rely on any particular background information nor depend on students having other experiences or knowledge. Rather, it privileges the text itself and what students can extract from what is before them. 

For example, in a close analytic reading of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” the following would be examples of good text-dependent questions:

  • What can we know about “our fathers” from sentence two?  Who are “our fathers”?
  • What is the cause that the “brave men… who struggled here” were fighting in support of?
  • In paragraph 3, what is the impact of Lincoln’s use of repetition: “… we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground.”?  Why would he choose to use this repetition?
  • What does Lincoln want the listeners of his speech to do in the future?
  • Given the context that Lincoln sets in his speech, why would he ask the listeners to do this now?

The following are not text-dependent questions:

  • Why did the North fight the Civil War?
  • Have you ever been to a funeral or grave site?
  • Lincoln says that the nation is dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Why is equality an important value to promote?

Can you tell why?

The overarching problem with these three questions is that they require no familiarity at all with Lincoln’s speech in order to answer them. They seek to elicit a personal or general response and do not move students closer to understanding the text of the “Gettysburg Address.”

Good text-specific questions will often focus on specific words, phrases and sentences to ensure careful comprehension of the text.  They help students:

  • See something worthwhile that they would not have seen on a more cursory reading
  • Gain proficiency with academic vocabulary and syntax.
  • Probe each argument in persuasive text, each idea in informational text, and demonstrate how these build to a whole.

Now that we’ve provided an overview of text dependent questions, we’ll move onto an explanation of how to develop them. 

Thanks,

Kate and Lori

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

 

(Note: Information from this post was adapted from Text-Dependent Questions: What Are They?” http://achievethecore.org/page/46/complete-guide-to-creating-text-dependent-questions)

I think I understand how important and even how to craft TDQs at the more advanced levels of instruction (high intermediate and advanced.).  However, deciding on good TDQs at the beginning levels of ESL instruction is extremely challenging.  Would it be possible to post a beginning level text (420 Lexile or less) and show examples of how to do this for beginning level ESL students.  Maybe this is going to happen later in the week, but I'm just making a request.  I really appreciate this chance to learn more about TDQs.  Thank you.  

Sylvia, 

Great question! The key is to let the text guide the creation of the questions. Check out today's last post - all about creating text-dependent questions. We will go through a couple of examples this week - I hope some of these are helpful for you! In the meantime, have you checked-out the resources on LINCS, in the 'Resources by Topic' for the CCR Standards? You can find them linked here. This resource list includes links to websites with lessons at a variety of levels, some of which may provide just what you are looking for. Keep the great questions coming!

Kate

Hi Sylvia,

In Minnesota, we are also thinking hard about how all this relates to ESL, particularly lower levels of ESL.  A couple of thoughts:

- with students who have low reading levels, we can also use visual or oral texts to help students dig deep into a text and answer text dependent questions.  This allows students who are still working on basic reading skills to practice higher level thinking and responses.  For example, they might respond to a painting or photograph, "How do you think the person feels?" by saying "She looks sad."  And the teacher can then prompt them to show 'evidence' - "What makes you say that?".  Alternatively, a short text can be read aloud to students, or TDQs can be formed around a listening passage/conversation on audio.

- brand new resources created for ESL teachers may be helpful to the group: The new LINCS collection on Meeting the Needs of Today's English Learner. There is an Issue Brief (just a few pages), and also a more in depth Companion Learning Resource.   https://lincs.ed.gov/programs/eslpro/meeting-the-language-needs-of-todays-english-language-learner . In that larger resource, see pages 18-22 for discussion on Text Complexity and Employing Evidence.

Best,

Patsy Egan Vinogradov

ATLAS, Hamline University

www.atlasABE.org

Thanks so much, Patsy, Betsy, Susan, Marianne, Sarah, and Catherine, for creating (and guiding us to) the new LINCS collection resources on Meeting the Needs of Today’s English Learner Issue Brief Introduction: The Case for Increased Rigor in Adult English Language Instruction, and its Companion Learner Resource.

These gems look to be invaluable contributions to the field in terms of expanding our understanding of rigorous adult ELA instruction, academic language, complex text, text-dependent questions, citation of evidence, and building of content knowledge both in theory and in practice.

I look forward to applying what I learn from them.

Ronna  

Thanks for your important question about how to pose text-dependent questions when teaching low level English learners, Sylvia. And thanks, Patsy, for weighing in on the issue and for pointing out that "text" can include photos, audio and video, as well as printed materials. Thanks as well for sharing the link to these valuable resources. Patsy and Betsy Parrish have done a phenomenal job providing those of us who teach English learners with practical strategies and examples to enhance the rigor of instruction for English learners at all levels. So, if you teach ESL, you will definitely want to check out these wonderful resources.

Since I teach beginning ESL [i.e., a mix of low and high beginners], I have been thinking about these issues a lot. How can I enhance the rigor of my instruction for learners at this level? How can I engage learners in answering questions worth asking? I thought I would share an example and invite our guest discussion leaders, Lori and Kate, as well as the members of this CoP to offer comments. I welcome eveyone's critique because I am trying to hone my skills!

The following low level reading text comes from our great colleagues at Bow Valley College in Canada. You can find the complete set of beautifully illustrated (with clear photos on each page) ESL Literacy Readers, including some that are at lower levels here. According to the Lexile Analyzer, the story below is at lexile level (LL) 240.  I prefer to avoid grade level equivalency with adults, but grade levels are familiar to most teachers, so to give everyone an idea what 240 LL is, first grade goes up to 300 LL.

A Problem at Work

Abdi has a job.

He has a job at a warehouse.

Abdi works hard at the warehouse.

Abdi hurts his back.

His back hurts all week.

Abdi talks to the manager.

He talks about his back.

The manager tells Abdi to rest.

He needs to see a doctor.

The doctor tells Abdi to rest his back.

He needs to rest for two weeks.

The doctor writes a note.

Abdi gives the note to his manager.

Source: Bow Valley College, ESL Literacy Readers

Here are the questions I came up with for this story. I also provided students with sentence starters to support them with the language. I introduced the word evidence and asked them to show the evidence for their answers in the story.

1. Where does Abdi work? Abdi works at a . . .

2. Why did Abdi go to the doctor? Abdi went to the doctor because . . .

3. What does “rest” mean in this story? In this story, rest means . . . 

4. Why do the manager and the doctor tell Abdi to rest his back?  They tell Abdi to rest his back because  . . .

5. Why does the doctor give Abdi a note? The doctor gives Abdi a note because . . .

Your comments are welcome!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, College and Career Standards and Adult English Language Learners CoPs

Great question, Sylvia, and helpful resources, everyone!

I have thought about this, too.  Some have mentioned this, but to extend....I like the idea of using Picture-as-Text Dependent questions as a scaffold to Text (only) Dependent Questions.  Patsy gave a good example of this.  Too, we can help students with Wh-/H- questions, (Where, Who, Why, How many/much...) in relation to pictures that will prepare them for the same questions in texts.  For example, if the teacher wants to have students find the answer in looking at a picture ("Where is the child?"), students must point to or circle the answer to "cite" the evidence.  Or, if the teacher asks why the person in the picture is sad, students must, again, point to or circle the evidence.  This task can be scaffolded, too, through the support of partner and team activities, such as Kagan's Numbered Heads Together, in which students coach each other in getting the answer after the teacher poses it, and then one student from each group of four (such as all the "3s") has to show or say the answer.

This is a simple example, but it creates a stair step approach to learning higher level skills for students with minimal language.  

Dave

I am excited to see the conversation about texts and text-dependent questions for beginning ESL learners.  I think the suggestions have been terrific.  Susan, I liked your questions.  They lead students back to the text and assist them in focusing on the areas of the text that you know will be challenging for them.  I have also found the conversation about stepping students up to working with text to be very interesting and useful.  Thanks for your contributions, everyone. 
 

I am excited to see the conversation about texts and text-dependent questions for beginning ESL learners.  I think the suggestions have been terrific.  Susan, I liked your questions.  They lead students back to the text and assist them in focusing on the areas of the text that you know will be challenging for them.  I have also found the conversation about stepping students up to working with text to be very interesting and useful.  Thanks for your contributions, everyone. 
 

I'm glad to see that several people have asked questions about lower level English language learners. I also want to point out that for higher level English Language Learners that you need to be aware of whether or not they have the necessary background knowledge to understand the text. For example, many English Language Learners will not have knowledge of the US Civil Rights Movement or the events leading up to it such slavery,segregation, and discrimination in the US. This doesn't mean that they don't want to learn this or that they don't understand the concepts--they just don't know the US details. I recommend explaining the background before reading and analyzing the text.

Thanks for adding your valuable comment to this discussion, Terry. Determining learners' prior knowledge and building their background knowledge when needed are important aspects of teaching. I think that texts can often be used for the purpose of building background knowledge. You mention the US Civil RIghts Movement, which many immigrants have little or no knowledge of. In my experience with intermediate and advanced English learners over the years, African American history has always been a topic of immense interest.

For me, the CCR Standards' emphasis on using complex texts is welcome. Figuring out ways to do this with all learners, but especially with beginning English learners is a unique challenge that we can all engage in together. LINCS provides us with a venue for valuable collaborative networking, problem-solving, and resource sharing.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL & College and Career Standards CoP

Great discussion and comments all!

This is not only an issue for higher level ELLs but also for native English speakers working on GED preparation or high school credits. These GED/diploma students may have some knowledge, but that knowledge is often incomplete, general or inaccurate. One of the areas that my teaching has transformed with the ELA shifts and standards is that I spend more time on a topic and use more text to teach background knowledge rather than me giving a lecture or doing "text light" activities to develop it. I'm careful to use texts that are accessible to students when building background knowledge and then at some point during my line of inquiry on a topic, I'll introduce a text with real complexity that we can dig into with multiple reads and effective text-dependent questions and where students can use the knowledge they've built to understand the complex text. I have so many texts I've used with students in the past where I spent more time pre-teaching for the text than we actually spent reading the text! What I've learned is that many of these texts don't have to be discarded, but I need more of a build-up of knowledge so that students can tackle the complexity of those texts. As I've been using other text and activities to build background knowledge in a systematic way, I'm finding that I'm getting better discussions and better writing than I ever have before. Plus, when I give a cumulative assignment or writing prompt, students tell me that they feel they have something to work with because of the knowledge they've built. The evidence they employ is at a level I haven't seen before with my teaching. For me, I still do some pre-teaching, but I'm careful to let text do the job as well. I just have to choose the right sequence of texts.

Thanks for all of the wonderful questions and commentary, everyone!  Rachel, I like your question because it gets students to really think about a very deep idea in this text:  that the people's inspired response was borne out of their reactions to the terrible discrimination that they suffered.  It illustrates how this author beautifully describes the cause and effect relationship.  Thanks again for contributing!

Thanks to Rachel, Jane, Meredith, Carol, and Diana for all your great contributions! I have enjoyed seeing all these questions posed. If anyone has anymore questions they've drafted, please do share them. And if anyone uses the 'Freedom Walkers' text and questions in the classroom, please post in this discussion forum to let us know how it went.

Kristine, thanks for this comment. It is so well-put!  This was a realization for me as well when I started working with the key shifts.  I think sometimes I had tried to give my students a set of portable skills that could be taken anywhere... but had somewhat lost sight of the fact that the ability to apply those skills is rooted in knowledge of content and vocabulary.

I appreciate all the great ideas being shared in this discussion group.  Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, Lori Howard and I have been working on ways to integrate the CCRS into ESL —with a particular focus on the relevance of the shifts for beginning level adult ELs.  We have developed some presentations and materials that we are happy to share.  Please feel free to visit our wiki at:  http://ccrstdq.pbworks.com 

Sylvia, Thanks so much for sharing these valuable resources! And thanks to Jayme and Lori, as well. Your generosity is greatly appreciated. I'm glad LINCS makes it possible for all of us to share resources we have developed with a wide audience of practitioners across the nation.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL & College and Career Standards CoPs

Our final post today is a guide to creating text-dependent questions. While there are no hard and fast rules for generating a complete and coherent body of text-dependent questions for a text, the following process will help you generate a core series of questions for close reading of a text. 

When you are done creating questions, be sure to put them in a coherent sequence. Doing so makes sure students stay focused on the text so that they come to a gradual and deep understanding of its meaning.

Step One: Identify the Core Understandings and Key Ideas of the Text

Start by reading and annotating the text, identifying the key insight(s) or ideas you want students to understand from the text. Keeping one eye on what you most want your students to remember about the ideas and information in the text is crucial for fashioning an overarching set of successful questions.

 

Step Two: Create Questions That Orient Students to the Text

The opening questions should be ones that help orient students to the text. These can be recall questions that assess students’ understanding of the particulars. They should also be specific enough so that students gain confidence to tackle more difficult questions later on.

 

Step Three: Create Questions That Target Vocabulary and Text Structure in the Text

Locate key text structures and 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.  Vocabulary selected for focus should be academic words (“Tier Two”) that are consequential to the meaning of the text, are abstract, and likely to be encountered in future reading and studies.

 

Step Four: Create Questions That Tackle Tough Sections of the Text

Find the sections of the text that may present the greatest difficulty and craft questions that support students in understanding these sections.  These could be sections with difficult syntax, particularly dense information, and tricky transitions or places that offer a variety of possible inferences.

 

Step Five:  Create the Culminating Activity

Develop a culminating activity around the key ideas or understandings identified in Step 1. This culminating activity should (a) reflect mastery of one or more of the CCR standards and b) involve writing.  Structuring the activity so it is completed by students independently will help you gauge each students’ comprehension of the text.

 

Here is “Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution” which is an excerpt from “The Preamble: We the People” by Linda R. Monk. Read this text over and try your hand at creating some text-dependent questions:

The first three words of the Constitution are the most important. They clearly state that the people—not the king, not the legislature, not the courts—are the true rulers in American government. This principle is known as popular sovereignty.

But who are “We the People”? This question troubled the nation for centuries. As Lucy Stone, one of America’s first advocates for women’s rights, asked in 1853, “‘We the People’? Which ‘We the People’? The women were not included.” Neither were white males who did not own property, American Indians, or African Americans—slave or free. Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American on the Supreme Court, described the limitation:

“For a sense of the evolving nature of the constitution, we need look no further than the first three words of the document’s preamble: ‘we the people.’ when the founding fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens . . . the men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not... have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendant of an African slave.”

Through the Amendment process, more and more Americans were eventually included in the Constitution’s definition of “We the People.” After the Civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment gave African Americans citizenship, and the Fifteenth Amendment gave black men the vote. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote nationwide, and in 1971, the Twenty-sixth Amendment extended suffrage to eighteen-year-olds.

 

(To  download a copy of this text, go to the Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts, Appendix B, p. 95 http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration/)

 

Now, follow these steps and jot down some questions:

 

Step One: What do you think the core understandings and key ideas of the text are?

Step Two: What questions might you ask to orient students to the text?

Step Three: What vocabulary will you target? What questions might you ask to draw your students’ attention to the text structure?

Step Four: What are some questions you might ask to tackle tough sections in the text?

Step Five: What might you create as a culminating assignment for your students?

 

In the next post, we’ll show you how we applied the five steps to the Monk text!

 

Have fun,

 

Kate and Lori

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

 

(Note: Information in this post is adapted from Text-Dependent Questions: What Are They?” http://achievethecore.org/page/46/complete-guide-to-creating-text-dependent-questions)

Welcome back!

 

Following is the core understanding we identified along with a set of seven questions we came up with for the Monk text. Each is listed under its corresponding step. Please note that these questions are sequenced to gradually move students toward a deep understanding of the text. For example, questions five to seven would be difficult to answer without previously answering the first three questions.

 

Step One: Identify the Core Understandings and Key Ideas of the Text

The essential understanding of the text is that the clearly stated “we the people” has allowed the rights enumerated in the US Constitution to consistently expand to include a larger and larger group of Americans.

 

Step Two: Create Questions to Orient Students to the Text

  1. What is (and isn’t) the meaning of “popular sovereignty”?
  2. Why does Monk claim that popular sovereignty is the form of government in America?

 

These are fairly straightforward questions for students to answer but must be grasped to understand the remainder of Monk’s analysis. The second question requires students to infer that the first three words of the Constitution refer to the doctrine of popular sovereignty.   Perceptive students will be able to connect the title of the chapter and/or the opening of the second paragraph to the Constitution’s Preamble. The questions are specific and focus on a small portion of the text. They will help students gain the confidence to tackle the more difficult questions to come.

 

Step Three: Create Questions That Target Vocabulary and Text Structure in the Text

3. Is Lucy Stone confused when she asks, "Which 'We the People'"?

4. Why does Monk suggest that the question, “who are ‘We the People?’” has “troubled the nation for centuries”?

 

Questions three and four draw students’ attention to the key ideas embedded in Stone’s and Monk’s questions.

 

Through answering question three, students discern that Stone is not confused. Rather, she is critical of the seemingly all-embracing phrase “We the People” when looked at in the light of America’s history.  Question four draws students’ attention to the fact that it is this history of exclusion that has “troubled the nation” as the “the true rulers in American government” did not include everyone.  It did not include women, Native Americans, free blacks, enslaved African-Americans, or even white males who did not own property.  Students should be able to deduce that those with the vote were primarily white men with property.

 

As with questions one and two, questions three and four could be given separately or as a single question. You could also ask questions about specific vocabulary, such as evolving, construed, advocates, and descendants.

 

Step Four: Create Questions That Tackle Tough Sections of the Text

5. Why does Marshall think the founding fathers could not have imagined a female or black Supreme Court justice?

6. Consider the meaning of Marshall’s quote, and put his ideas into your own words in two to three sentences while carefully considering sentence structure.

7. What evidence is there in paragraph three to support Marshall’s claim about the “evolving nature of the Constitution”?

Questions five through seven drive students’ attention back to the toughest passages in the text to help them ponder and reflect on what the text does in these areas.  For example, question five promotes a summary of the argument so far. Questions five and six together direct students to the Marshall quote and get them to focus on the way Monk uses it to build her point about the changing nature of “We the People.” The correct answer will require that students connect the lack of political rights granted to women and blacks by the founders—those who wrote the Constitution— to Marshall’s point that he (an African American, ‘descendant of a slave’) and a woman were members of the Supreme Court. To fully get the point, the reader has to understand that the Supreme Court is the judicial body that holds the final interpretation of the Constitution. Asking students to paraphrase Marshall in question six will solidify their understanding of Monk’s points. This will also test their ability to communicate that understanding fluently in writing.  Question seven requires students to methodically cite evidence to completely answer the question and grasp that the amendment process changed the meaning of who was included in “We, the people.”

Step Five: Create the Culminating Assessment

“After you’ve read The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, decide what is the enduring understanding or essential idea of the article. Record your idea in writing, and justify your response with evidence from the text.”

This culminating writing activity builds on the previous set of text-dependent questions to provide students an opportunity to reflect on the key understandings of the text.

 

If you have additional questions you developed for the Monk text, please share!

 

In the next post, we’ll present you with another opportunity to try your hand at creating some questions.

 

Looking forward to seeing what you create,

Kate and Lori

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

Use an excerpt from Russell Freedman, Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This is a CCR Level C/D text. Here are some suggested steps to follow as you create a set of questions:

  1. Closely read the Freedom Walkers text (see below).
  2. Reread the text and annotate it, noting where challenges lie in the text. Examine and identify key vocabulary, structure, language, and purpose in the text.
  3. Using the five-step process we identified in earlier posts, create a series of text-dependent questions and tasks. Try this on your own or with your colleagues.
  4. After completing the questions and task, use the Checklist for Evaluating Question Quality to rate the overall quality of the questions
  5. Share at least one text-dependent question for the Freedom Walkers text with community members. This is a great opportunity for us to share and to learn from one another.

 

Here’s your text.

 

Freedman, Russell. Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. New York: Holiday House, 2006. (2006) From the Introduction: “Why They Walked”

Not so long ago in Montgomery, Alabama, the color of your skin determined where you could sit on a public bus. If you happened to be an African American, you had to sit in the back of the bus, even if there were empty seats up front.

Back then, racial segregation was the rule throughout the American South. Strict laws—called “Jim Crow” laws—enforced a system of white supremacy that discriminated against blacks and kept them in their place as second-class citizens.

People were separated by race from the moment they were born in segregated hospitals until the day they were buried in segregated cemeteries. Blacks and whites did not attend the same schools, worship in the same churches, eat in the same restaurants, sleep in the same hotels, drink from the same water fountains, or sit together in the same movie theaters.

In Montgomery, it was against the law for a white person and a Negro to play checkers on public property or ride together in a taxi.

Most southern blacks were denied their right to vote. The biggest obstacle was the poll tax, a special tax that was required of all voters but was too costly for many blacks and for poor whites as well. Voters also had to pass a literacy test to prove that they could read, write, and understand the U.S. Constitution. These tests were often rigged to disqualify even highly educated blacks. Those who overcame the obstacles and insisted on registering as voters faced threats, harassment. And even physical violence. As a result, African Americans in the South could not express their grievances in the voting booth, which for the most part, was closed to them. But there were other ways to protest, and one day a half century ago, the black citizens in Montgomery rose up in protest and united to demand their rights—by walking peacefully.

It all started on a bus.

Have fun creating your questions!

We’ll be back in touch soon,

Lori and Kate

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

 

 

(Note: To  download a copy of this text, go to the Common Core State Standards, English Language Arts, Appendix B, p. 95 http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration/)

Thanks Lori and Kate for sharing a step by step process for creating solid text dependent questions.  Here is a suggestion for a question to help orient students to the text ( step two).  

Give some examples of "Jim Crow" laws that the text defines.  

Would this be a good direct question to help students identify key points in the text?

Thanks!

Carol

Carol - I think this is a great opening question to help orient students to the text. Your question would help students establish the importance of Jim Crow laws in creating racial segregation in the US. We might even extend the question to include evidence from the text of the impact Jim Crow laws had on the lives of African Americans. Thank you for sharing! 

Kate

Thank you so much for this interactive topic this week! I think it is really valuable.

Since the CCRS emphasize paying close attention to words and author’s choices, I thought this would be a good question to help point student attention to an important point in this article:             

In paragraph five, what signal words indicate an effect or outcome that the author will discuss?

Can you provide feedback, Lori or Kate?

I agree with you, Meredith. This is a great interactive topic. Thanks, Lori and Kate!

I also thought of a question that pays close attention to vocabulary:

What does supremacy mean?  What clues in the text help us figure this out?

What do you all think?

Jane Roy

Another great question! Thank you, Jane! I like that your question not only requires students to define an important word in the text ('supremacy'), but also to use the text to help them build that definition. There are some great context clues in the second and third paragraphs to help students answer this question. 

Any one else have thoughts on Jane or Meredith's questions?

Thank you for sharing your question,

Kate

Great question, Meredith! What I notice first about your question is how guiding students to notice signal words in the fifth paragraph will help learn both the content of this paragraph and to notice how the author structures the connection between the denial of voting rights in the southern US and the Montgomery bus boycott.  Thanks for sharing!

Thank you!  What a rich opportunity for some interactive lesson planning!  I hope to see this text taught with students and to discuss how students handled the text and questions.

Adding on to the other great text-dependent questions posed today, I’m thinking about how to help students understand the impact of the injustices occurring during this time - sort of like cause and effect.

How were blacks kept from voting? According to the author, Russell Freedman, what did this mean for the civil rights movement?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks to Rachel, Jane, Meredith, Carol, and Diana for all your great contributions! I have enjoyed seeing all these questions posed. If anyone has anymore questions they've drafted, please do share them. And if anyone uses the 'Freedom Walkers' text and questions in the classroom, please post in this discussion forum to let us know how it went.

Hi everyone. Thanks for sharing your questions. We’ve added some of our text-dependent questions for the Freedom Walkers text to those that you have posted.

 

Step One: Identify the Core Understandings and Key Ideas of the Text

The Montgomery bus boycott was a protest in direct response to the unfair racial segregation in the American South. The core idea of this text is that African Americans – denied many freedoms available to whites in the south and subject to unfair practices, threats, harassment, and violence when they tried to exercise their right to vote – found peaceful ways to protest (including a bus boycott) and make their voices heard.   

 

Step Two: Create Question to Orient Students to the Text

  1. What evidence from the text helps you understand when and where the Montgomery bus boycott took place and who was involved in the boycott?
  2. How does the sentence, “Blacks and whites did not attend the same schools, worship in the same churches, eat in the same restaurants, sleep in the same hotels, drink from the same water fountains, or sit together in the same movie theaters.” help you understand the author’s use of the word ‘segregated’?
  3. According to Freedman, what is one way in which African Americans were treated as second-class citizens at this time?

Step Three: Create Questions to Target Vocabulary and Text Structure

  1. The word ‘denied’ appears in paragraph five. If the word were changed to ‘guaranteed’, how would the meaning of the passage change? What other words and phrases in the paragraph would need to be changed? What might you change them to?
  2. Freedman talks about racial segregation and the ways in which blacks and whites were kept separate at this time in our history.  What ways does he describe in the first part of the text (paragraphs one-four)?  How about the second part of the text (paragraph five)?   In thinking about the conclusion of the passage, why does he organize the presentation in this way? 
  3. Paragraph six is only one sentence long:  “It all started on a bus.”  How does this construction help the author’s purpose?

Step Four: Create Questions to Tackle Tough Sections Head-on

  1. According to the text, what was the purpose of “Jim Crow” laws? From the first four paragraphs, what are examples of how “Jim Crow” laws affected the lives of African Americans living the American South?
  2. The author starts paragraph five with the sentence, “Most southern blacks were denied their right to vote”. According to the author, why would voting have been an important right for African Americans in the American South? How does the author connect the denial of African Americans’ voting rights to the bus boycott? 

If you haven’t already, send us the questions you created. We’d love to continue to add to our question set for Freedom Walkers.

 

Tomorrow, we’ll be sending more resources your way! 

 

Kate and Lori

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education

Here is a question to consider

The text says the system discriminated against blacks.  What does this mean and how does the text help us figure this out?

Diana - I like that you have highlighted the phrase 'discriminated against', pulling students' attention to more than just the single word. This is a great example of supporting students to use available context clues to understand a key term in a passage. Thanks for sharing!

Kate

I want to thank our guest discussion leaders, Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist, for guiding us through a meaningful conversation about text-dependent questions, i.e., questions worth asking. We are taking away a great deal from the discussion. Thanks for engaging us so actively, ladies!

As a teacher, no matter which group of adult learners I am working with HSE, ABE or ESL -- including beginning ELs, I endeavor to ask myself the same questions every time I plan a lesson. How can I increase the rigor of what I am teaching? Could I be using a more complex text on this topic? What questions can I ask that are truly worth answering? What I am learning is that when I raise my expectations --AND IMPORTANTLY -- provide the needed support, learners rise to the level of my expectations.

We can certainly keep this conversation going among our members. Everyone's comments and questions are welcome!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, College and Career Standards CoP

Thanks for participating in the text-dependent questions activity!  We encourage you to review the questions in your current teaching materials for text dependency and to create new text-dependent questions as you move forward.  If you would like to learn more about text-dependent questions, here are some additional online resources:

 

Professional development modules on text-dependent questions

 

Text-dependent questions for English Language Learners:

 

Best wishes to all.  We have so enjoyed our time with you this week!

 

Kate and Lori

 

Lori Forlizzi and Kate Crist

StandardsWork, Inc.

ELA/literacy Coaches

Implementing CCR Standards in Adult Education