Students can't wait to take a look at a new text book in those first few days of school. I use this excitement to look for text features within the book. I have my students get out their History book and I have preselected a page for them to turn to first. This page has lots of text features, but really a cool picture to peak their interest. We begin by creating a list I use the Promethean Board so I can save the work we have done for future reference. I use bullets to add a possible reason why the authors might use that particular text feature.
Once students have found multiple text features I begin to point out some they might have missed. We add them to our chart. I love to hear what kids are thinking, so we discuss our chart and add or take away from it. It is here I start offering guidance by calling attention to certain features and prompting them to think about their function. Sometimes this takes lots of prompting and other times the reasons might seem very clear to the class.
I split students into groups of three to begin a scavenger hunt through their text book to find the text features we listed. Each student is given worksheet to complete as they look. I have students look through the book and write the page numbers that include that feature. It is good to remind them to flip the pages with care and that its a hunt not a race.
I walk around the room and randomly check the page numbers they have written to my book. I want to clear up misconceptions. I find that many students confuse charts, graphs, and diagrams.
Once they have time to fill in the worksheet, I ask students to share the what page numbers they found specific text features on. I ask other groups to check the page number to see if they notice the same feature.
I love to get my class up in moving during new learning. One way I accomplish this is to play a matching game. I bought a cute text feature set fro Teachers Pay Teachers. In years past I have created my own. There are two pieces to a match. One piece has the feature and the second contains the definition.
I hand them out, one piece to each student. They can then walk around the room and try to find their match. I have them sit next to each other to show they are a pair. The sharing of their matches gives me a chance to evaluate their learning.