Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Main Idea: Descriptive (Lesson 9)

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Lesson Objective

Some texts have a descriptive organization. Authors use this structure when their main idea is just about describing something (this might even be an all-about book with a topic and no main idea).

Lesson Plan

Lesson 9:

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 descriptive organization.  Authors use this structure when their main idea is just about describing something.

You can outline this structure in a web.

Materials:

Reading Workshop: Reading binders, highlighters and pencils, copies of “Fear on the Brain”  

Note: "Fear on the Brain" is an article from the October, 2009 edition of ASK magazine: http://www.cobblestonepub.com/magazine/ask/ask0910.html

RA: Reading binders, Animal Defenses by Etta Kaner

 

Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • [Orally quiz on the organizational structures that we have learned.]
  • Readers, today we are going to learn another organizational structure.  Today, we are going to start talking about an organizational structure that is super common and is the one that you all already know best – descriptive.  An author uses a descriptive organizational structure if he or she has a main idea that wants to describe something.  We outline a descriptive text with a web – the main idea (or topic if it is an all-about) goes in the middle and then the most important descriptors go around the web in any order. 
  • We are going to practice outlining an article that has a descriptive organization . It’s a science article that can be a little tricky, but I think we can find the main idea and important details as long as we stay focused on the important idea that  the author is describing.
  • [Pass out “Fear on the Brain.”]  What should we do first?
    • Read the title. 
    • Look at the pictures throughout the article and read the captions.  Notice other text features – diagram of scared person and text boxes to notice and read at end. 
    • What will this be about? 
    • Then read the introduction – first the yellow part.  There is a question!  Notice because when there is a question, the main idea usually answers the question.  So let’s read the rest of the introduction – the part before the first heading – and see if we have an answer to our question.  Read.  So what is the answer to the question?  Is there a sentence that directly tells us the main idea?  [discuss until you get them to something like fear is your brain’s defensive response to danger because it is getting your body ready for quick action.  This is harder than previous main ideas because it is two sentences put together.  One they get the main idea, start the web.
    • So now we are going to read each section.  At the end of each section, we will think about the most important things – the things that we definitely want to add to our web.  Remember that the heading helps us figure out the most important things.  So let’s think about each heading before we read each section. 
      • After each of the three headings, you can either just ask them to think or have them tell you what they should focus on in each section.  After each section, stop, T&T, and then add things to the web.
      • So readers, why did this author use a descriptive organization?  [She wanted to describe fear by giving us a lot of information so if she wants to describe fear, she has to use a descriptive organization.] 
      • Readers, by the end of today everyone should be able to tell me the organizational structure of your text and have started an outline.  You know that we use different outlines using the organizational structure.  If you are in the middle of your text or are reading a new text, that’s fine.  Your outline doesn’t need to include the whole book yet.  You can start your outline as soon as you know the organizational structure and add to your outline as you read. 
      • [Share – meet in partners and show your partner your outline.]

 

Read Aloud Lesson:

  • Scholars, in read aloud today we are going to read a book  with a descriptive organization. Remember that an author uses a descriptive organizational structure if he or she has a main idea that wants to describe something.  We outline a descriptive text with a web – the main idea goes in the middle and then the most important descriptors go around the web in any order.  
  • We are going to do that with a great book with a descriptive organization, Animal Defenses. Today we are going to read the first half of the book and make a web for it. Let’s start by looking at the book’s cover and title: Animal Defenses: How Animals Protect Themselves. I know that this book is going to be about the different ways that animals protect themselves.
  • Model reading through the Table of Contents – section headings like “Copycats” and “Can you find me?” probably connect to the ways that those animals protect themselves.
  • Read the introduction and make a main idea prediction – something like “Animals defend themselves in many unusual ways.” Take out a new piece of paper, write the title, then write the main idea in the middle of the web.
  • Read the following sections. After each section, talk about what the most important detail from that section was and add it to the web.
    • Putting on a show
    • Can you find me?
    • Copycats
    • We’ll finish reading this tomorrow. Readers, tell your partner why the author of this book used a descriptive organization. [T&T]

 

Lesson Resources

Lesson 9 Non-fiction Chart.docx  
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