EBC and Beyond: Creating
Effective Close Reading Lessons
Implementing the CCSS with Fidelity
Purpose of this Session
• Participants will be able to
Identify effective close reading instruction in the
EBC units of instruction.
Explain and avoid common mistakes in the
development of close reading sequences or
Write sequences of close reading questions
aligned to the CCSS.
• What does it take to create powerful close
• What defines a good sequence of close
• How can I scaffold my students to discover
key ideas of complex texts?
• How can I show teachers the kind of thinking
about text they’ll need in order to do this?
• How can I help teachers improve their close
• Where will teachers need the most support?
• What are the critical messages teachers need
• What should good close reading questions
look like? How will I know if a teacher has
created Common Core aligned close reading
• What are the structures I need to put in place
to ensure teachers can do the kind of thinking
• What do I need to do to meet teachers where
they are and lead them to powerful CCSS
alignment in their close reading instruction?
• Individually, please finish “The Short Happy
Life of Francis Macomber.”
• As you read, annotate the text where you see
evidence of the following-
Something that suggests a key idea or
understanding in the text
A literary technique that is significant
Vocabulary that could be defined by reading
Practice: Talk about Text
• At your table, talk about the second half of the
text. What are some of the key understandings
(large or small) you think students should get?
• Feel free to consult the unit materials,
especially the instructional notes. The “big”
questions on page 29 of the unit materials are
a great starting point for your conversation.
What are Good Close Reading
• Read “A Guide to Creating Text Dependent
Questions for Close Analytic Reading” in your
• As you read, be aware of what stands out to
Messages your colleagues need to hear.
Great tips or suggestions.
Key ideas or points.
• When you’re finished, underline an important
sentence or phrase you’d like to discuss.
• Using the phrases you underlined, discuss this
short paper. As you talk, please consider these
questions as well:
What do good text-dependent questions do?
Why is building teachers’ capacity to write these
types of questions (and to write them well)
Why is a series of questions important?
Common Mistakes in
Background knowledge questions
Hunt and peck
“According to the text”
Too many “one-offs”
Do Less/Do More
What does Hemingway
mean by “disruption?”
What makes Macomber
and his wife one of those
disruption is often
rumored but never
“What types of adjectives
describe Margot in this
Why does Wilson refer to
American women as
“predatory” and “cruel?’
Do Less/Do More
What animal does
Macomber say he acted
What’s the difference
between how the lion reacts
to being shot and how
Macomber acts after he
Shame and fear drive the
actions of every character
in this story. Describe
how shame and fear
affect Mr. Wilson.
Why does Robert Wilson feel
as if had “opened the wrong
door in a hotel and seen
• Read the sequence of questions.
• In pairs, using these questions, discuss this section
of the text, paying attention to how much information
you can glean from the text with these questions.
Talk about it!
• How might this sequence of questions help
guide students to an understanding of the
opening scene in the story and draw students’
attention to Hemingway's use of "in medias
• How could it be used to begin to address R.3?
• In pairs, identify a short, challenging section of
the text that seems significant in terms of the
key understandings and ideas it contains.
• Discuss this section and clarify what you’d like
students to understand here.
• Draft a series of questions about your chosen
section of the text, focusing on how they can
be sequenced to lead students to that
• Don’t try to teach the whole text.
• Don't worry about writing perfect questions
• “Head ’em off at the pass” questions are okay.
• Focus on small sections, go deep.
The Task: Reminder
• Identify a significant/challenging section of text
• Discuss and determine what you’re “shooting
• Draft a series of questions about that section
focusing on how they can be sequenced to
lead students to that understanding.
You will have 50 minutes to work on this. Your
task is to bring your question sequence back to
your tables for review.
• In teams, test out your questions with another
pair. Try to see if you can answer the
questions with background knowledge, see if
they are as clear as they can be, and review
them against the Liben text.
• If there is a question that does not “pass
muster,” chew on it with your team and see if
you can make it stronger.
• How did you ultimately come to the series of
questions you developed? What was your
thinking process? Did they "come right out?"
• What is challenging about developing these
sets of questions?
• What kind of structures need to be in place so
that teachers can learn to do this effectively?
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