ALEX Lesson Plan


Shifting to Text-Based Questioning 

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Lynn Smith
System: Marengo County
School: Amelia L. Johnson High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33113


Shifting to Text-Based Questioning 


"A Quilt of a Country" by Anna Quindlen will be used to ask and answer text-based questions. Students will be required to identify evidence in the text to answer text-based questions which require deeper discussions and close reading.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
10. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RI.11-12.1]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will read the informational text and then answer questions related to the essay that are text-based. They will refer back to the text to see explicitly what it says and make inferences and try to figure out where the text leaves matters uncertain. 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Copies of the article from:

Each student will need the five step-by-step ways to answer a text-based question. See under background section.

Technology Resources Needed:

Projector for whole class viewing do the article


Teachers will need to display, post, or give each student the following wrap-up questions to use with the text:

1. Write the question you were asked to answer.

2. Underline key words from the question that will help you focus on your response. 

3. Reread the text and list words, phrases, sentences, and ideas in the text that can help you answer the question. 

4. Think about how the evidence you gathered in step 3 can help you answer the question: Which pieces of evidence are the strongest? Place check marks by the strongest ones. 

5. Write your response to the question using the strongest pieces of evidence. Link each piece of the evidence to the question. Identify this connection clearly for your reader. 

These are some sample questions that can be used with the essay to answer the above questions:

  • How does Quindlen compare the qualities of the U.S. to those of a quilt in the first paragraph?
  • In the second sentence, what does the author mean by "mongrel nation"?
  • The author says, "You know the answer" at the end of the third paragraph. Why does he say this? How does this question affect the tone of the article?
  • When the author says people were concerned that "the left side of the hyphen--African-American, Mexican-Irish, Irish-American--would overwhelm the right", what does she mean? 
  • What can you infer about the author's childhood and her neighborhood? 
  • What questions does this text raise but not answer?

1. Teacher begins lesson by asking students to turn and talk with a partner about what a quilt is and what a quilt that is about a country might mean. Tell students to also note the date of the article.

2. Teacher passes out copies of the article and/or projects on screen. Students are asked to first do a close reading of the article independently using margin notes, underlining, rereading, etc. 

3. Teacher asks students to listen and follow along as he/she reads parts or all of the essay aloud. 

4.  Teacher leads the class through an analysis of the text by asking text-based questions that cause students to return to the text to create an answer. Examples of possible questions are listed above in the background section. 

5. Wrap-up: Students will complete the 5 questions from the background section above about each text-based question they answered about the text. This can be done independently with an advanced group or in small groups with a standard class. Also consider having students add answers to a shared Google doc that could be edited by all groups simultaneously.


Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed independently on answering the text-based questions. They will also be assessed on their ability to explain how they answered each text-based question by using the 5 questions about step-by-step ways provided in the background section.


More advanced students should be able to complete the wrap-up questions independently.


Lower-level students should stay in teacher-led groups throughout this lesson for better understanding of the article and questions.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.