Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday's Teaching Moment: Text Dependent Questions

One of the big ideas of Common Core is that students are able to support their ideas with evidence from the text.  This means that you've got to make sure that your questions are dependent upon the text--not opinions or previous knowledge.

One thing I've had to do when writing my text-dependent questions is to pull back on the number of questions I'm asking.  If they need to not only answer my question, but find evidence to help prove that, then it's going to take a little longer and a little more critical thinking before they finish the question.  So consider what's really important to teach/review/assess.

Why text-dependent questions?  Why do you need evidence from the text?

1) Text-dependent means that the student must have read the passage in order to actually answer the question.  If I ask them to tell me about a time they also went to the circus, then they don't even need to have read the story to answer this question.

2) Text-dependent means that students are looking at a text more critically.  They have to think about what's important from the passage to answer the question.  How does the character show he understands his mother's situation?

3) Text-dependent means more time spent with the text.  You have to dig out time for your students to explore the text and delve into it with your guidance.  That's where close reads come in!

I also try to use Blooms Verbs when writing my questions.  Sometimes it's difficult to make sure I get a variety of higher level thinking questions, but if you can, your students will become much better thinkers and readers.  I have a unit that I teach at the beginning of the year based on Blooms Taxonomy.  My students become familiar with the words and understand what they mean as we use them throughout the year.  If you'd like to check out my unit, it's for sale on TPT here.

After the past few years of really working to focus in on my questioning, I believe I finally feel extremely confident in the types of questions I ask my students.  If you have questions that I might be able to answer about how I make sure that questions are text-dependent, please let me know!

I hope all my teaching friends are off to a great start this school year.

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