Native American Research Project: Feature Detectives & Book-Arounds! (Lesson 2 of 8)

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SWBAT identify various informational text features and their importance in a variety of texts.

Big Idea

Your tribe is becoming detectives today! Non-fiction text feature detectives, that is! Lead your students in a lesson about text features including a detective hunt with music, and a book-around to prepare them for success with their upcoming research.

Welcome to My Lesson Video Narrative

This is a series of Language Arts lessons that I run concurrently with a Native American literature week.  The students love researching tribes that they are reading about in folktales and other Native American literature.  Pairing informational text with literature is an awesome combination!  Please watch this short video to hear some of the highlights of this lesson.  Thank you!

Review of Previous Day's Learning

10 minutes

We'll begin by reviewing important vocabulary discussed yesterday.  It's important that I revisit this with my tribe for a short time each day to build to their background knowledge of the larger concepts we are covering both in  reading and Language Arts.  

Academic Vocabulary:

  • Non-fiction Text Features
  • Internet research/Digital sources
  • Shared research
  • Informative/Informational text
  • Research project process:  research, evaluate, relevant vs. irrelevant, sorting into categories, note-taking, planning, drafting, editing, revising, publishing

 Content Vocabulary:

  • Native American
  • Culture
  • Native American Cultural Areas of North America and the United States (refer to maps in lesson one)

We'll also review our note-taking skills by reading through our Note-Taking Anchor Chart.  (See Resource File:  Note Taking Anchor Chart)


Introduce Nonfiction Text Feature Detectives to their Clues

15 minutes

I tell the students that today they're going to be detectives!  Nonfiction detectives, that is!  We begin by viewing nonfiction text feature posters on my SMART Board.  I happened to find these free to use in the classroom online.  (See Resource File:  Nonfiction Text Features Posters)  As I read through each feature, I also show the students an informational text to model real examples as I show the posters.  

I lead my tribe with questions that show the importance and purpose of reading nonfiction text features, for example, "How can a heading help you when you're reading?", "How does the table of contents text feature help you navigate an informational book?", "Why do you think the author chose to use a photograph instead of an illustration on this page?", or "How does this diagram help you understand the text within the paragraph next to it?".

We discuss each feature and look at samples of each, then I let my tribe know they're going to be detectives!

The Detectives Hunt for Features and Preview Their Research Materials

20 minutes

It's time for the detectives to try out their skills!

This is one of my favorite activities!  My tribe just loves doing book-arounds, and they don't know it, but we are accomplishing many jobs in one!  The purpose of this activity is for students to become familiar with the different types of nonfiction text features, understand their importance, how to use them, and to get a peek at our research materials.

I pass out an informational Native American text and a magnifying glass to each student.  If you don't have real magnifying glasses for your students to use, I've included a template for you to make some. (See Resource File:  Magnifying Glass for NF Text Features)  Copy them on card stock, cut out the middle, and laminate to have the clear lamination film in the magnifying lens.  The texts I use include trade books, magazines, and ebooks on iPads.  I recruit the help of my school and local librarian to gather plenty of resources, making sure I have lots on the tribes that are in our Native American literature we're studying in reading class.

During our book-around, I let the students browse their book for about one minute.  Then, I ask them if there is a particular text feature, like a table of contents.  I display the poster of the particular text feature used in our lesson a few minutes ago.  If they have that particular text feature in their book, they put their magnifying glass over the feature.  We talk about how this text feature can help them navigate the book they're looking at, or help with comprehension of the informational text.  

I then play some fun music, in this case I used Native American music, while the students rotate their books to the person next to them.  We complete this process for about 15-20 minutes, or until I feel they have a good idea about the nonfiction text features and their importance.


Exit Slip, Review, & Celebration!

5 minutes

One of my favorite ways to do a quick formative assessment is by having students complete an "Exit Ticket".  We usually do these on an index card, post-it note, or Goolge Form, if we have access to technology.  Today, as a quick informal assessment of our non-fiction text features lesson, I've had my tribe fill out an index card responding to the following  prompts:

 It's important to read nonfiction text features because...

Two examples of nonfiction text features are...

Something I learned from a text feature today was...

 This gives me a quick idea of how my students absorbed our lesson today.  Exit slips also provide a great review to beginning learning the next day!  In the next lesson of this series of Native American research lessons, you'll notice that I begin by reading a few of these student exit slip responses.