Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Main Idea: Chronological Order (Lesson 1)

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a sequence (chronological) organization. These texts move through time. Authors use this organization when their main idea is about things that happened in order. Texts can have a sequential organization even if texts jump around in time – the author just has to make it clear how he/she is moving in time. You can outline this organization in a chain.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 1:

Standard:

Identify and use knowledge of the organizational structure of a text: main idea and supporting examples (web), chronological order (chain), compare and contrast (T-chart), cause and effect (chain), problem/solution (T-chart).

Use text structure to identify the main idea and supporting details in articles.

Big Idea:

Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.

Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.   

 

Teaching Point:

Some texts have a sequence (chronological) organization.  These texts move through time.  Authors use this organization when their main idea is about things that happened in order. You can outline this organization in a chain.

 

Materials:

Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of Crashing into History: The Flight of the Vin Fiz , sequence articles

Note: Article found in Cricket magazine (March, 2008 Issue) http://www.cricketmag.com/activity_display.asp?id=158

 

 

Lesson:

  • [students come to the rug with binders and pencils.] Readers, we are starting our very first reading unit of the 4th grade today. This unit is going to be all about how authors organize their writing in all genres so that you as the readers can make sure that you understand the text.  We are going to start this unit by thinking about how the author organized the texts overall and what the purpose of that organization is in non-fiction, biographies, realistic fiction, and folktales. Then, in the next few weeks, we are going to examine how authors organize their paragraphs and the purposes of each paragraph.  We will also be writing about our reading every day. We are going to work on writing clear, specific topic sentences and highlighting our texts to find supporting evidence for our writing.
  • [Using the non-fiction chart (see below), read the two big ideas related to non-fiction.] Today, we are going to start by talking about one organization structure for nonfiction writing.  There are 6 expository (nonfiction) structures and today we are starting with one that you already know from last year – chronological.  The official name of this text structure is sequence because a sequence means things go in order. [Uncover this part of your chart.] 
  • As you know, authors use a sequence or chronological order when they want to write about things that move through time – events where the order matters.  It is important to recognize that an author is writing with a sequence organization because that helps you know that the order of the information really matters and that we should think about the order of events when thinking about the main idea.
  • As you know, when something is written with a sequence organization, we can outline it by making a chain.  Tell your partner why a chain is the right way to organize our outline (because the order matters).
  • Today, I want to teach you that texts can have a sequential organization even if the text jumps around in time.  Do you remember last year when you read biographies?  Almost all biographies are organized in sequence because time matters in a person’s life.  But do you remember how some biographies started with an important event from when a person is an adult and then jumped back to when he or she was an adult?  Those texts jump around in time, but they are still a sequence organization because the order of events matters for the main idea of the book.
  • Today, I am going to read you an article like that – an article with a sequence organization that starts with one event, jumps back in time, and then moves forward in a sequence. 
  • I am going to pass out copies of this text so that you can read along with me.  Please notice that there is a blank page at the end so that you can make a chain outline.  Let’s set up a page for the organization of this text.  Before I make a chain, I will write the title, “Crashing into History: The Flight of the Vin Fiz,” and then “main idea:” on the top line.  Then, I will leave some room so that I can add the main idea when I finish reading this article.  Do the same thing on your paper at the end of the packet.  When you finish, you can do a picture walk of this article. 
  • You will also be starting to write an open response about this article when we finish reading. I am going to put up the question so that you can find the supporting evidence as you read the article. [Put up OR topic.]
  • Let’s read the first paragraph. [Read the first paragraph.] Interesting. I already know that this text is going to be about someone named Cal Rodgers and that he went on a journey to fly coast-to-coast, which was pretty dangerous back then. This must be an important event. I am going to write “Cal Rodgers tried to fly coast-to-coast even though his plane was very weak” in the first box of my chain.
  • Read the next two paragraphs.  Wait!  Now I am confused.  Cal Rodgers was just flying across the country, and now I am reading all of these details about his great-grandfather and his time in grammar school, back when he was a kid. What is going on?  Turn & Talk (T&T).  You are right – this is an example of starting with an important event from their adult lives and then going back in time.  So let’s erase the first box because that first paragraph seems like it is different than the rest of the book, which probably follows a sequence organization.  Should we replace that with anything else?  [possibly, Cal’s family was adventurous but he got sick and couldn’t serve in the military]
  • Read the next couple of paragraphs.  Anything to add to the chain? T&T.  Rodgers decided to become a pilot and signed up for lessons.
  • Read the next paragraph.  Anything to add to the chain? T&T.  Rodgers bought a plane.
  • Read the next paragraphs.  Anything to add to the chain? T&T.  Rodgers decided to enter a contest to fly coast-to-coast.
  • For the rest of this article, let me know if there is an event that is important enough that we should add it to our chain.  [They should notice the challenges Rodgers encountered, that the time limit expired, and that he finally completed his flight.]
  • Readers, now that we have outlined this article, I want us to talk about two issues.  First, I want to talk about the main idea.  When we have a sequence organization, events move through time so the order of the events should help us figure out the main idea.  Read through our chain outline and then talk with your partner about the main idea of this book. T&T.  Then call on someone to share the main idea and once we have a good main idea, write it up on the top of our chain.
  • Second, I want to talk about why the author chose this organizational structure.  Why do you think the author chose this structure?  T&T.
  • Scholars, we always read texts to understand them. Authors organize their texts in a certain way so that we can understand them more easily. Anytime you read, it is your job to identify the organization AND the main idea. If you cannot do that, then you need to re-read to understand the text better.
  • Now we are going to come back to our open response topic: What obstacles did Cal Rodgers face on his coast-to-coast flight? Take out a piece of lined paper from the back of your reading binders, write down the date at the top right hand corner of the page, write the title of the article at the top of the page, and then copy down this question. Every part of the question must be copied correctly. [Make sure that all students have copied question correctly.] In 4th grade, we are going to learn to plan in a different way that you’ve learned before. We will be using things like chains and webs to organize the important ideas in our texts, but we will not be using them in planning our open responses. For the first few days of reading workshop, we will go back to the article, highlight the evidence that best answers the question, and then write a clear, specific topic sentence that answers the question directly. Then, next week, we will write the entire open response. [Go over highlighter procedures and pass out highlighters. Have students go through and highlight the important challenges that Cal Rodgers faced on his flight – point out that there’s no point in starting at the beginning of the article, they should just start where his flight begins. Share out. Then T&T to come up with a topic sentence. “Cal Rodgers faced many challenges on his flight” is NO LONGER AN ACCEPTABLE TOPIC SENTENCE. Come up with something like, “The challenges that Cal Rodgers faced were twelve crashes, broken plane parts, and breaking his ankle.” Skip a line, indent, and write it down. Put lined paper back in the “Writing about Reading” section of their binders and put the text in the “Non-Fiction” section.]
  • For the next few weeks, you will be reading only non-fiction articles so that we can practice the non-fiction text structures. When you read today, you should think about whether you have a sequence organization – whether the order matters in your text.  I will let people share today if they have a sequence organization.  If you have a sequence organization, you may use a piece of paper from your reading binder to make a chain outline for that text. Be prepared to tell me why you think the author chose that structure and what the main idea of the text is. If you finish your non-fiction article today, then you may put your article and outline in the bin near my desk and read a magazine. [Pass out articles and send students off to read.]

 

Non-Fiction Chart (see attached example)

  • Writers help their readers understand the text by organizing their text in logical ways so readers read non-fiction texts differently, depending on their structure.
  • Writers write non-fiction to teach the reader about one main idea.  It is the job of a reader to figure out the main thing that the writer is trying to teach you.  You can use the organizational structure to figure out the main idea in nonfiction.

 

Sequence

 

[insert picture of sequence outline]

Readers use the order of events to figure out the main idea. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson Resources

Lesson 1 Chart Example and Open Response.docx  
31
Lesson 1 Crashing Into History Literal Questions.docx  
16

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