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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Focus questions

ANet blog

As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, our primary concern is helping ensure equitable opportunity for all students.

Working alongside schools, we’ve learned that great teaching is grounded in standards, data, and insights shared among educators. We believe a blog can help us make a difference by spreading the ideas and effective practices of educators we work with.

We’re proud of the expertise our team has built over our ten years, and we'll be featuring contributions from ANetters across the org on topics in which they’ve immersed themselves.

Help us spread opportunity for all students: please share posts that you find valuable with your colleagues. And please add your thoughts in the comments: we would love this blog to facilitate knowledge-sharing in all directions.

Focus questions

Becky Frutos

What is a focus question in literacy instruction?

A focus question is a text-dependent question that sets a succinct purpose for instruction.

Watch ANet Coach Christina Lippert discuss focus questions with leaders from Lake County, Colorado.

Your focus question should serve as your north star as you plan text-dependent questions to guide students reading, writing, and discussion. It outlines what students should be able to answer in writing as a culminating task and will shape the lesson, or series of lessons, to get students to that point. 

Modified from  LearnZillion

Modified from LearnZillion

In this video, 6th Grade Teacher Sarah Fakhoury discusses how she scaffolds text-dependent questions in order to guide students to be able to answer a focus question in a culminating writing task.

Examples of focus questions

See more examples in the sample writing tasks in these lessons by Student Achievement Partners.

  • How did Leonardo da Vinci’s dream of sculpting a “larger than life” horse inspire Charles Dent?

  • In what ways did Mae Jemison demonstrate perseverance in order to achieve her goals?

  • What evidence can we see in the text that Bob is a deeply patient man?

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