Lesson: Characteristics of Informational Texts

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to notice specific characteristics of an informational text by looking at multiple examples.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): We recently finished our unit, Character Study.  Today, we will begin a new unit focused on Informational Texts.  I am really excited to begin this unit because informational texts are my favorite type of books to read.  I love finding out new information about a topic I'm interested in. 


Teach (3-5 mins): Today, we will look at many different examples of informational texts to notice characteristics.  This is important because we want to understand what is different about informational texts from the fiction books we already read this year.  This is also important because we want to create a good working definition of informational texts.  We cannot do this without first looking at many different examples to ensure we have a clear picture in our minds of what information texts look like. Teacher unveils teaching chart for the day.  The chart states, what we notice about informational text.  Teacher will add student noticings to the chart throughout the lesson.


Active Engagement (10-12 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner that they can work with throughout the rest of the lesson.  They should have their readers notebooks (a composition book) and a pencil in order to create a chart of noticings with their partner.  I have already pulled several information texts from students' library bins.  Teacher should have a variety of information texts topics and levels.  Teacher hands out an informational text to each partnership of students.  Now that you each have a book to share with your partner.  Flip through the book and see what you notice.  Add anything that you notice about this type of text to your reader's notebook.  Students complete a book walk, talk to partner to discuss noticings, and write noticings in their readers notebooks. Students share out noticings and teacher adds to chart.  Students should include, pictures, captions, glossary, index, table of contents, about a specific topic.  Teacher can encourage and incease level of questioning to push students to these responses.


Readers, you did such a great job noticing so many characteristics of informational texts.  After listing everything we noticed I now have a good idea about informational texts.  I think they are books that teach us or give us information about a topic like lions or the Civil War (mention some topics featured in students' books).  I will add that definition to our class chart. 


Independent Reading (15-20 mins): Now it's your turn to try.  When you return to your seats today (Students have previous shopped for library books that are informational texts.  Each student should have an informational text on their level at their desk.  I complete this part of the lesson the previous day to ensure everything is set up for the start of a new unit.) you will begin to read your informational text that you selected yesterday.  As you read today continue to add anything you notice about informational texts to your readers notebook.  At the end of independent reading time we will share out any additional noticings and add them to our class chart. Teacher monitors room and conferences with individual students to ensure the books they have selected are "just right' or on their reading levels. 


Share (3-5 mins): Readers, I saw such great and focused reading while I was conferencing with students. Did anyone find something interesting to add to their informational text characteristics chart?  Students share out responses and teacher adds to the class chart.  This chart will remain in the room for the remainder of the unit.


Assessment (3-5 mins): Teacher should assess what students notice by listening to students talk during active engagement and individual conferences during independent reading time.  If a more concrete assessment is necessary, I have my students write on a post it note a sentence explaining the difference between a fiction and informational text.  This is a great extension and helps the teacher judge students' mastery of the objective.  Teacher can then sort the exit slips to determine which students need more practice with determining the characteristics of informational texts and which students mastered the objective.


Reflection: Informational Texts is my absolute favorite unit to teach.  This introductory lesson is fairly quick and is used just to introduce students to the idea of informational texts as a seperate genre.  Students are often very engaged during independent reading time of this lesson because they have new books and are excited to explore all the new information.  It is also an easy way for struggling readers to take a huge part in a lesson because they can notice many of the characteristics without reading the book.

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