Reflection: Modeling Close Reading: Text Based Questions - Section 3: Modeling Answering Text Dependent Questions


Nothing is ever as simple as handing kids an assignment and saying, "Do it."  Every time I have ever done that, the result has been kids sitting around, looking around the room, maybe starting to chat, maybe getting up to sharpen a pretty sharp pencil, amongst other things. The reason they're doing all those other things?  I haven't explicitly shown them what I expect. They need to be explicitly reminded them how to do the academic work and how they should be doing the work.  They're not mind-readers, and don't know the difference between assignments that are okay to talk during and assignments that aren't.  All of their teachers have different rules for different assignments, so they need to be told what is okay and what is not okay.


I cannot stress how important modeling is.  Simply telling students what you want them to do?  It's not enough.  You have to show them.  Even honors students who read at a post-high school level need modeling.  Otherwise, you'll bang your head against the wall when they don't get it. They haven't gotten it because you haven't shown them how.  Every time I start running around to students, putting out little behavioral fires, answering the same question more than once, I know I have to take a step back, do a bit more explaining and modeling. 


Showing the process, showing the thinking that goes on, showing the writing process, are all valuable skills.  If you don't show the process, you end up frustrated while grading, or while the kids are just sitting there blankly looking at their papers, looking around the room, or misbehaving. 

  Modeling: Modeling
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Close Reading: Text Based Questions

Unit 4: Analyzing Literature in Socratic Circles with Chaim Potuk’s “Zebra”
Lesson 8 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to analyze the author's use of direct and indirect characterization and figurative language by close reading a passage from “Zebra” and answering text-based questions textual evidence.

Big Idea: Close reading gives students room to explore and analyze literature using productive struggle and explicit guidance from the teacher.

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