Digging Deeper Content Enhancement Routines

Adolescent Literacy: Planning for Strategic Teaching
Shape Questions & Map Content: Try It
Shape Critical Questions
Part 1 - Select Critical Content
In this module, you have been introduced to how to get started in planning for a course where the
goal is content literacy for all students. Now complete this activity to begin to plan for content
literacy for all. This activity, which is designed to guide your overall thinking about one of your
courses, can be compared to pre-writing brainstorming. Later, you will use this brainstorming to
create planning organizers. Save/keep this document as you will refer back to it later in the
1. Choose a course
2. Brainstorm critical content for
the course
Ask yourself:
 Does it address the national,
state, and local standards?
 Does it represent the
essential concepts that all
students must master?
Critical content:
(You may wish to highlight the critical content directly in
your curriculum documents)
3. Draft course paraphrase
Ask yourself:
 Does it capture the main
ideas of the course?
 Does it distinguish the
course from other similar
 Does it clearly and
meaningfully communicate
course content?
 Does it provide an umbrella
for all learning?
My course is about...
4. Sort the critical content into
5. Think about the first unit you
will teach in this course
My unit:
6. Draft a unit paraphrase or jot
down ideas about what this unit
is about
My unit is about...
© 2008 KUCRL & Teachscape, Inc.
Adolescent Literacy: Planning for Strategic Teaching
Shape Questions & Map Content: Try It
Shape Critical Questions
Page 2 of 2
Part 2 - Develop Critical Questions
1. Using the first page of the activity as a launching pad, brainstorm your critical questions. While
creating your questions, ask yourself:*
 Do they serve as the basis for many conversations with students?
 Do they include expectations related to how to learn or demonstrate competence?
 Do they identify ways in which students should think about the information to be learned?
 Do they lead students to do well on outcome measures?
 Do they enable students to monitor progress in learning?
 Do they help students identify the critical concepts or ideas to be learned?
 Do they help students think about the content and how it fits into other contexts?
2. Sort your questions by assigning a “C” for Course, “U” for Unit, and “L” for Lesson level. Use the
Critical Questions Checklist to help you determine the level of a question.
Critical Questions
Level of
(C, U, or L)
*Refer to The Course Organizer Routine and The Unit Organizer Routine guidebooks for more
detailed information about creating critical questions.
© 2008 KUCRL & Teachscape, Inc.