In my last post I shared learnings and takeaways from some Common Core ELA trainings I’ve attended around the CCSS-ELA Shift 2 (students need to engage in, “reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational”). This post continues with more about Shift 2.
Now that you’ve selected the perfect complex text for your lesson your next step is to create some Text-Dependent Questions (TDQs) and/or Text-Specific Questions (TSQs). The step in our common core training was to identify questions worth asking. Honestly, that did disturb me a bit because I sense an implication that I may have created questions in my career that just weren’t worth asking. I usually know if I’ve asked a question that wasn’t well written by the responses I get from students. I start re-wording my questions if students can answer them too easily or without having to really think. You can tell.
When identifying questions worth asking the trainers posed the following questions of us:
- Could a student find evidence in the reading to answer the question?
- Does a reader have to dig deep to answer this question? (This is the one I’ve had to come back and fix when students answered my questions too easily!)
- Does the question ask about a vocabulary word in the reading?
If you can answer yes to all three of the above, then you’re on your way to having questions that are worth asking!
I found that it also helps to refer to either Bloom’s Taxonomy, or, something I’ve been referring to more recently, Depth of Knowledge (DoK). Here’s an example of DoK followed by question stems by DoK level:
Other resources for Questioning
Check out the following websites (some were recommended at the trainings I’ve been attending others I found myself): The Right Question Institute
QFT is used to teach students to ask their own questions.
Implications for Teaching – Achieve the Core
Achieve the Core hosted one of the CCSS-ELA trainings I attended, and some of the trainers from the other two CCSS-ELA trainings I attended were there as part of the Achieve the Core trainers so it was cool getting to work with them again. I am able to give one of these trainings because two of the trainings I attended were WEA Train the Trainer trainings (I think I’ve typed train and training more here than all my life put together – lol). I haven’t yet had the chance to lead a training on the CCSS-ELA shifts but I’m totally willing – knowing that I still have A LOT to learn myself. What I’m good at doing is sharing resources and takeaways! :)
So if you haven’t been to the achievethcore.org website, give it a go. It offers a wealth of resources to get you going on all the stuff I’ve been sharing through this series of blog posts.
Check these out:
ELA Literacy resources to writing TDQs:
Complete guide to creating TDQs:
If the above guide is too long, try the short guide :)
In a Science Class
When I work with my 6th grade PLC team there are three of us, I teach Science to all the 6th graders, one teaches all the Math and the other teaches all the Humanities (ELA & Social Studies). This CCSS-ELA shift binds our three different content areas together because whether you are writing a persuasive essay in ELA, a historical piece in Social Studies, a Math proof, or a Science conclusion students need to provide evidence to support their claims.
I’ve been using a great strategy to have my students write conclusions to their labs that our Humanities and Math teacher can use in their classrooms, Claims, Evidence, Reasoning (CER). It has been fabulous and I’ve been working on helping students write lab conclusions for years!
The following graphic does a nice job of showing how CER works (even though I created this graphic I got the wording from the Edutopia article below – clicking on the graphic also takes you to the Edutopia post):
Here are some other resources to get you going on using CER with your students:
One way an elementary teacher uses CER:
CER Pinterest boards:
How I changed the CER for my 6th graders:
Not quite CER but if you’ve never heard of Inquiry Boards, check this out:
Next time we’ll look more closely at the third and final shift of the CCSS-ELA! Stay tuned! :)