close reading of complex texts

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Close Reading of Complex Texts. Doug Fisher Follow me: dfishersdsu. “Standard 10 defines a grade- by-grade ‘staircase’ of increasing text complexity that rises from beginning reading to the college and career readiness level .” (CCSS, 2010, p. 80). - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Close Reading of Complex TextsDoug Fisherwww.fisherandfrey.comFollow me:dfishersdsu

Standard 10 defines a grade-by-gradestaircase of increasing text complexity that rises from beginning readingto the college and career readiness level. (CCSS, 2010, p. 80)

The Power of Perception

11Anyway, the fascinating thing was that I read in National Geographic that there are more people alive now than have died in all of human history. In other words, if everyone wanted to play Hamlet once, they couldnt, because there arent enough skulls! Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), p. 3

Text ComplexityText Difficulty

To build strengthTo build stamina

Less ComplexMore Complex

Simply assigning hard books will not ensure that studentslearn at high levels!15

Creating a Close ReadingUse a short passageRe-reading Read with a pencilText-dependent questionsGive students the chance to struggle a bit16

Different Readings Have Different FociInitial reads of the textWhat does the text say? After at least one readingHow does the text work? Later readings of the text or related textsWhat does the text mean?

Our goal with complex text is to slow the reader down.


What does the text say? General UnderstandingWho is delivering the speech?What happened?Canyon Creek Battlefield, Bear Paw Mountains, Montana: site of Chief Josephs speech.

Background info: In 1863, some Nez Perce chiefs signed a treaty with the US agreeing to surrender their ancestral lands and be moved instead to a reservation in Idaho. Chief Joseph the Elder (Chief Josephs father), Chief Looking Glass and Chief Toohulhulsote, as well as others, refused to do so. This lead to an uneasy standoff for 14 years, during which time the non-treaty Nez Perce were allowed to remain. In 1877, the US Army decided to take action to end the standoff. TheNez Perce Warwas the name given to the U.S. Army's pursuit of the over 800 Nez Perce and an allied band of thePalousetribe who had fled toward freedom. Initially they had hoped to take refuge with theCrow nationin theMontana Territory, but when the Crow refused to grant them aid, the Nez Perce went north in an attempt to reach asylum with SiouxChief Sitting Bulland his followers who had fled to Canada in 1876.For over three months, the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled their pursuers traveling 1,170 miles acrossOregon,Washington,Idaho,Wyoming, andMontana.General Howard, leading the opposing cavalry, was impressed with the skill with which the Nez Perce fought, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions with no food or blankets, with the major war leaders dead, Joseph formallysurrenderedto General on October 5, 1877 in theBear Paw Mountainsof theMontana Territory, less than 40 miles south of Canada. (Source: Wikipedia)The battle is remembered in popular history by the words attributed to Chief Joseph at the formal surrender.


What does the text say? General UnderstandingWithout yet knowing who Looking Glass and Toohulhulsote are, what can we say about their roles in this decision?Pronunciation: Too hool hool zo the21

What does the text say? Key DetailsWhat concerns does Chief Joseph have about the health and welfare of his people? How do you know?


Select some one in your group to read the speech aloud.

Add pauses, inflections, intonations, and emphasis (prosody) to the text.23

How does the text work? VocabularyWhat does Chief Joseph mean when he says, From where the sun now stands?


How does the text work? VocabularyWhat is the tone of this speech? What words and phrases support your claim?


How does the text work? StructureHow does the text structure convey Chief Josephs mood? 26

How does the text work? StructureWhat is it about the use of the word forever in the last line, I will fight no more forever that makes this statement so memorable?


What does the text mean? InferencesWho is Chief Joseph referring to when he says, I want to have time to look for my children? What other parts of the speech support your claim?

28Hollywood Portrayal of the Event

Chief Joseph succeeded his father as leader of the Wallowa band in 1871. Before his death, the father said to his son:

What does the text mean? Intertextual connectionsMy son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.Joseph commented "I clasped my father's hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild beast."

What does the text mean? Intertextual connectionsHow does this second passage help you to understand the speech? What inner conflict would Chief Joseph have experienced? Where do you see evidence of this conflict in the speech?

What is the role of courage in surrender? After reading and discussing Chief Josephs speech I Will Fight No More Forever, write an essay that defines courage and explains the courageousness of Chief Josephs decision. Support your discussion with evidence from the texts. What conclusions can you draw? Constructed using Task Template 12: Writing From SourcesThe Day the Crayons Quit

What did Duncan find when he took his crayons out of the box one day?

Which crayons feel tired and overworked?

What are Yellow and Orange arguing about?

Use Key Details to Locate Evidence

Use Key Details to Locate EvidenceHow does Gray Crayon feel?Why does Beige Crayon feel underused?How does Blue Crayon feel?To whom was Beige Crayon's letter written?Why does Red Crayon write the letter to Duncan?According to Black Crayon, what is his main job? Which crayons appear sad? Embarrassed? How can you tell?

How does Duncan respond to the letters?

TDQs for Older ReadersWhich crayons write letters that mostly use pathos (i.e., appeal to emotions) to convince Duncan to help them?How is Beige Crayons argument different stylistically from Pink and Black crayon? How does the structure of the letter allow the reader to gain an understanding of the Gray crayons point of view?

Close reading is only a PART of high quality instruction

Comprehension and Collaboration 1. Prepare for and participate in collaborations with diverse partners, building on each others ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 44

K-2 FeaturesFollowing the rules of discussionMoving from participation to turn takingSustaining discussion through questioningAdult support

3-5 FeaturesPreparation for discussionYielding and gaining the floorPosing and responding to questionsFrom explaining own ideas to explaining the ideas of others

6-8 FeaturesUsing evidence to probe and reflectCollegial discussions include goals and deadlinesQuestions connect ideas from several speakersAcknowledge new information

9-10 FeaturesUse prepared research in discussionVoting, consensus, and decision makingEnsure hearing full range of opinions or optionsSummarize and synthesize points of disagreement

11-12 FeaturesCivil, democratic discussionsQuestions probe reasoning and evidenceResolving contradictionsDetermine what additional info is needed

Students still need to read texts independently

Thank you!


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