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Close Reading. “Every book has a skeleton hidden between its covers. Your job as an analytic reader is to find it.”. Adler and Van Doren, 1940/1972. “X-ray the book”. Use a short passage. “Read with a pencil”. Note what’s confusing. Pay attention to patterns.

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Close Reading

“Every book has a skeleton hidden between its covers. Your job as an analytic reader is to find it.”

Adler and Van Doren, 1940/1972

“X-ray the book”

Use a short passage

“Read with a pencil”

Note what’s confusing

Pay attention to patterns

Give your students the chance to struggle a bit

Creating a Close Reading

Productive failure

Argumentation and Discussion

The Helping


Accountable Talk

Describes high levels of engagement and critical thinking among learners

  • Accountability that discussions are on the topic

  • Accountability to use accurate information

  • Accountability to think deeply about what is being said

What Accountable Talk Sounds Like

  • Press for clarification and explanation: Could you describe what you mean?

  • Require justification of proposals and challenges: Where did you find that information?

  • Recognize and challenge misconception: I don’t agree because ...

  • Demand evidence for claims and arguments: Can you give me an example?

  • Interpret and use each other’s statements: David suggested …

    Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh

Moves from literal

to interpretive

Requires students to return to the text to formulate responses

Text-dependent Questioning

Question-Answer Relationships (Raphael, 1984)

A Close Reading of

“Salvador, Late or Early”

Cisneros, , S. (1991). Woman Hollering Creek.

Cisneros, 1991

Investigative Question

How do short story writers illuminate the interior life of characters?

Establishing Purpose

To examine how the author sheds light on the interior life of this character using poetic language in order to deeply affect the reader.

First Reading:

Students Read and Write Independently

  • Read with a pencil to annotate text

  • What powerful words or phrases affect you? Circle

  • What confuses you? Underline

  • Quick-write

  • What are your impressions of Salvador and the people in his life?


Partner Talk to Check Meaning

Describe your impressions of Salvador and the people in his life. Remember to use accountable talk (asking questions, providing evidence from the text, and comparing and contrasting your impressions with one another.

Second Reading:

Teacher Modeling

Read the entire passage aloud, without interruption. Be sure to orient students to the text and ask them to follow along.

Third Reading:

Teacher Think Aloud

Read the entire passage again, highlighting places in the text where you notice the author’s use of poetic language. Think aloud about how you interpret it. Be sure to orient students to the text and ask them to follow along.

Text-dependent Questions

Post-it notes began as an idea that didn’t work, but then became a very useful product. What was the sequence of events that led to this invention?

Right There Question

Text-dependent Questions

How does Cisneros use color? To what effect?

Think and Search Question

Text-dependent Questions

How does Cisneros use school words? To what effect?

Think and Search Question

Text-dependent Questions

Examine the use of contrasts again. What does the author want us to know about Salvador?

Author and You Question

Text-dependent Questions

Would a title change to Heather, Late or Early change your perspective? Why?

How would this story differ if was written by Salvador’s mother?

On My Own Question

Journal Writing

Students are gathering notes for the development of an essay that explains their findings of the investigative question, “In what ways do short story authors illuminate a character’s interior life?”

For this journal entry, students write a short summary of “Salvador, Late or Early” and discuss at least two literary techniques the author used to describe Salvador.



“As easy as learning

to ride a bike”

“As easy as learning

to ride a bike”


extend the

range of the


Let’s make a


Guided Instruction



Robust Questions





Robust questions





and modeling

Robust questions





and modeling

Teacher: What is a nocturnal animal?

Student: An animal that stays awake at night.

Teacher: Good. What is a diurnal animal?


Robust Questions to

Check for Understanding

Teacher: What is a nocturnal animal?

Student: An animal that stays awake at night.

Teacher: Tell me more about that. Does a nocturnal animal have special characteristics?

Student: Well, it doesn’t sleep a lot.












To move to higher-order questions

Use Less Of

Use More Of

Teacher: What is a nocturnal animal?

Student: An animal that stays awake at night.

Teacher: Tell me more about that. Does a nocturnal animal have special characteristics?

Student: Well, it doesn’t sleep a lot.


Prompting for Cognitive and

Metacognitive Thinking

Skill is the

ability to apply


when not


to do so.

Questioning is about


Prompting is about doing




invite students to

use what they know

to resolve problems

Process or



To perform a

specific task

Teacher: What is a nocturnal animal?

Student: An animal that stays awake at night.

Teacher: Tell me more about that. Does a nocturnal animal have special characteristics?

Student: Well, it doesn’t sleep a lot.

Teacher: I’m thinking of those pictures we saw of the great horned owl and the slow loris in the daytime and at night. Does your answer still work?


Cues to Shift Attention


Shift attention to sources of information

More directandspecificthan prompts

the expert commentator sees things you don’t

cues do the same for novices

Attention grows with competence

Cues shift the learner’s attention








and cueing fail,

it’s time for



Direct Explanation



Think aloud


Take care not to re-assume responsibility too quickly

Table Talk

  • How does Rita use robust questions, prompts, cues, and direct explanation to guide her students’ vocabulary learning?

Making Group Work Productive

How Do You Know It’s Productive?

What does it look like? What does it sound like?

  • Students are consolidating their understanding

  • Negotiating understanding with peers

  • Engaging in inquiry

  • Apply knowledge to novel situations

Productive Group Work Structures


Literature Circles

Collaborative Strategic Reading

Reciprocal Teaching

Partner reading


Sample Instructional Routines


Progressive Writing

Paired Writing

Peer response

GIST writing

Collaborative poster

Sample Instructional Routines

Oral Language


Numbered Heads Together

Socratic Seminar

Walking Review

Novel Ideas Only

Sample Instructional Routines

Conversational Roundtable

Table Talk

What are your favorite ways to encourage collaboration between students? What are the benefits and challenges?

Quality Indicator #1

Complexity of Task:The task is a novel application of a grade-level appropriate concept and is designed so that the outcome is not guaranteed (a chance for productive failure exists).

Productive failure

Quality Indicator #2

Joint attention to tasks or materialsStudents are interacting with one another to build each other’s knowledge. Outward indicators include body language and movement associated with meaningful conversations, and shared visual gaze on materials.

Look down,



Quality Indicator #3

Argumentation not arguing:Student use accountable talk to persuade, provide evidence, ask questions of one another, and disagree without being disagreeable.

The Helping


Quality Indicator #4

Language support:Written, verbal, teacher, and peer supportsare available to boost academic language usage.

Can you buy your way to happiness?

HSHMC Essential Question #2


The evidence shows that ____.

  • The evidence shows thatpoor people are not unhappy.

  • The evidence shows thatjust because you win the lottery you are not guaranteed happiness.

My own view, however, is that ___.

  • My own view, however, is thathappiness is not based solely on money.

  • My own view, however, is thathappiness is a combination of things that happen and don’t happen to a person over his or her lifetime.

Quality Indicator #5

Grouping:Small groups of 2-5 students are purposefully constructed to maximize individual strengths without magnifying areas of needs (heterogeneousgrouping).

Quality Indicator #6

Teacher role:What is the teacher doing while productive group work is occurring?

Independent Learning: Not Just

“Do It Yourself” School


Number of high school teachers who“often or very often” run out of time in class and assign the content

for homework

(MetLife, 2008)

Traditional homework occurs

too soon

in the instructional cycle.

The students we think we have




Student Bill of Rights

  • Children shall not be required to work more than 40 hours a week.

  • Children shall have the right to homework they can complete without help.

  • A child’s academic grade shall not be put in jeopardy because of incomplete homework.

  • A child’s right to playtime, downtime, and adequate sleep shall not be infringed upon by homework.

  • Parents shall be entitled to excuse their child from homework that the child does not understand or is too tired to finish.

  • Families shall be entitled to weekends and holidays free from homework.

Vatterott, C. (2009). Rethinking homework: Best practices that support diverse needs.Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Votterott, 2009

Let’s make a


Goals of Homework





Fluency building



Goals of Homework

  • Fluency building

  • Application

  • Spiral review

  • Extension

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2008). Homework and the gradual release of responsibility: Making responsibility

possible. English Journal,98(2), 40-45.

Fluency-building homework

Application homework

Spiral Review Homework: Opinionnaire

Disciplinary Literacy Requires Daily Writing

Standards6-12: Disciplines Dominate


Writing to Explain One’s Thinking

Writing Through Vocabulary Development

Alphabet Vocabulary Chart

Writing to Summarize

What are Comon Grammar Errors English Learners Make?

Generative Sentences

  • Given a word and conditions about the placement of the word, write a sentence

  • Forces attention to grammar and word meaning

  • Use student examples for editing

Try these . . .

Basic Writing Frame

  • Although I already knew that ________, I have learned some new facts about _____. For example, I learned that _______. I also learned that ______. Another fact I learned _______. However the most interesting thing I learned was______ .

Making a claim

I think that_________, because ________________.

Although I agree that ______________, I still think that _________.

She says ______, and I agree, because _________.

Supporting/critiquing a claim

Her idea that __________ is supported by _______________, ___________, and _______.

For example, ________________ shows that ________________.

They say that ___________ , but _______, _____, and ____ say differently.

Introducing and addressing a counterargument

Of course, you might disagree and say that _________________.

Some might say _________, but I would say that _____________.

While it is true that __________, that does not always mean that _________.

Stating a conclusion or summing up an argument

In conclusion, I believe ____________________.

In sum: _____________ is shown by _____________ and ______________.

For these reasons, _______________ should be ________________.

Source: Glencoe Literature, 2009. Used with permission of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

Moving Forward

Multi-faceted support…

80:1= professional development events

25:1= learning walks and

collegial coaching

4:1= coaching corners

1:1= peer coaching

Learn by Looking

Observing, Not Evaluating

“The teacher stated the content and language purpose when he said …”

“When I asked a student about how she knew if she was done, she said…”

“Wasn’t that terrific?”

“That was a boring lesson.”

“That was pretty good for a beginning teacher.”

Be descriptive!



On Your Own

Read through your notes.

Star relevant observations about the

problem of practice.

Write 5 pieces of data on individual sticky notes.

In Your Group

Sort relevant data into categories.

Label categories.

Identify patterns.

Prioritize and Identify Resources

Level of Understanding


Professional development on gradual release has resulted in staff understanding the components of the model.

The physical environment of classrooms supports flexible grouping.

Teachers know the focus for the school improvement plan is productive group work.

Plan for Action

Create Action Plan and timeline

What will happen?

By when?


The teacher’s role in developing

academic language

Analyze what makes the language demanding for individuals or groups.

Develop scaffolds and supports to help students understand and apply academic language.

Use strategies to develop their proficiency in academiclanguage.

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