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Tough Questions Signposts

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Jan Gauthier

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Tough Questions Signposts

Signpost Lesson 4:
Tough Questions

Definition of "Tough Questions" Signposts
A character stops to ask himself/herself or another character a tough question OR make a wondering statement.

TQ's show what characters struggle with throughout a story. They put into words the problem the character faces.
Finding the "Tough Question" is just the beginning!
Once you find the Tough Question, you need to consider its meaning.
(and the tough question isn't always a question--sometimes it's an "I wonder" statement by the character)
Here is the TQ Anchor Question:
What does this tough question make me wonder about?
Examples from Texts and Life
Salva Dut lives in the Sudan
"Hills Like White Elephants"
by Ernest Hemingway
Author info
Background Info
Breakdown of sections 1-3
1: "The hills across the valley..."
2. "The girl looked at the bead curtain..."
3. "They sat down at the table and the girl looked ..."

SO: Who remembers 1) The TQ definition? and
2) The Anchor Question?
TQ Quote
from Part 1
"'Then what will we do afterwards?'"

This is a TQ because she is struggling with what the consequences of her actions will be.
Anchor Question:
What does this tough question make me wonder about?
Is she insecure about the relationship?
Has she been in this situation before?
Has he been in a situation like this before?
Their conversation is very tense. Will that tension go away if she does this, or will they get more tense?
Are they bored of each other, regardless of the dilemma?
Are they likely to break up anyway?
Part 2: Let's look for the TQ signpost and answer the anchor question together: What does this tough question make me wonder about?
Part 2 TQ Quotation
"'If I do it you won't ever worry?'"
Part 2 TQ Anchor Question: What does this tough question make me wonder about?
Discuss with a partner
If you share the same opinion, STILL say the words. THEN try to add something else.
Part 2
Large Group Discussion
What does the girl's tough question make me wonder about?
Annotate story as we discuss.
Part 3:
YOU find the TQ examples now
Mark them as we read
Then answer the anchor question: first in writing, then with a partner.
Part 4: Read the ending of the story on your own. Mark the TQ's
Share with a partner
Ask each other the anchor question
Large group discussion
TQ Wrap-Up

What did your classmates teach you today?
What did you discover today?
Notice and Note Connections
Think back to the other stories we have studied so far:
"Say Yes" by Tobias Wolff (Contrasts and Contradictions);
"Reunion" by John Cheever (Again and Again);
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (Words of the Wiser);
"Wants" by Grace Paley (Memory Moment)

Which of these texts had the "Tough Questions" signpost in it?

Other signposts in "Hills Like White Elephants"?

Your TQ Daybook Topic
Life and literature are full of tough questions. At this point in your school career, which tough questions do you still have about life? Which tough questions are you tired of discussing? Why do you think you're tired of talking about them/it? What's a tough question that doesn't get discussed enough, in literature and in life? Would you ask it? Why or why not?

YOUR daybook. Write the way you like. But write!
The Red Kayak

Film: "The Little Mermaid"
"Harry Potter"
Sample text:
A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park
Full transcript