I begin the lesson by asking students, “Boys and girls, have you ever been to the ocean?” Instantly hands go up and the students have a million stories to tell about their trips. I let students share a few experiences and tell them I think they are so lucky because I didn’t get to the ocean until I was much older than they are! I tell the students that whether they’ve been to the ocean or not, they’re in for a treat beause we’re going to begin learning about the ocean this week!
Before I move on, I ask the students, “Why do you think writers would want to write about the sea? Do you have any ideas about that?” One of my students say, “Maybe because the writer likes the sea?” I say, “Sure! Often writers write about things they like! There are other reasons, too, so this week, as we’re reading, I want you to be thinking about why writers might be inspired by the sea."
I pull out the text that we’re going to share today. It’s a nonfiction magazine from Kids Discovery (check out their website here: http://www.kidsdiscover.com). Today, I’ll be sharing KD Magazine: Oceans 2. I start by showing the cover and ask the kids what they think this magazine will be about. Some kids laugh and say, “Well, Mrs. Hesemann, of course it’s going to be about oceans because that’s what it says right on the front!”. I reply by asking “How would the front of the magazine help me? What do you see specifically that told you this magazine will be about oceans?” The students responds with , “The word ocean is right on the cover! And you can see a picture that’s of a fish under the ocean, so it has to be about oceans!” I turn to the class and say, “Third graders, we need to give this students a very special power woosh because he just used something wonderful! He used the words and the photograph to help him decide what this magazine was going to be all about! So, our special power woosh looks just like this: 1, 2, 3, clap, clap, clap, (turn to the student), say “Ahoy! You spotted a text feature! Well done!” and then woosh with our hands!
At this time, I turn to today’s anchor chart entitled “Ahoy! Text Features Straight Ahead!” I tell the class that the student who used the word “ocean” and the photograph was very clever because he used the information on the page to make a prediction, and that’s what good readers do! Good readers use any information they can get their eyes on, and today, we’re going to talk about all of the different ways we could get information from a text.
I point to my chart and tell the kids that the word and the illustration on the cover are called text features. I have the kids say it back by saying, “They’re called what?”, and the kids say, “Text features!” I tell the kids that there are tons of different types of text features and they are found in all sorts of texts, but especially in nonfiction texts like this KD Magazine I have. On the anchor chart, I have a bunch of different types of text features listed that we will see in our magazine this week. I go through each type of text feature, explaining briefly what it is, why it’s helpful to a reader, and show one within the magazine!
Now I tell the kids, “It’s time for something really fun: you’re going to go on a text feature scavenger hunt!” I pair up students and tell them that I want them to find a specific type of text feature. So, for example, my first pair is going to be looking for diagrams! I also give them a magazine and a post it note that they can use to jot down the page numbers of any of the magazine pages where they see a diagram! Once all the kids are paired up, armed with magazines, sticky notes, and pencils, I say, “Are you ready? Get set… Begin searching!” The kids start flipping through the pages together, hunting for their specific text feature! Meanwhile, I circulate around the room and listen in. If a student is stumped on where to find a key word, I help the partner group locate a bold key word that will be helpful to us when reading this week. Then I ask them to keep looking together! This is also a great time to talk with the kids again about why readers would want to notice these text features!
After I see the students have had enough time to sufficiently look through the magazine and locate their features, I have us come back together on the rug. I start with our first text feature and our first pair. I ask them to tell us what page numbers they spotted this feature on, and as a class, we all turn to those pages to take a look. When we get to their last text feature, we discuss why a reader would want to use this text feature. I also ask a question more specific to the text, such as “How is a diagram going to help us understand the parts of the ocean on pages 6 & 7?” Student pairs come up and stick their post it note with page numbers next to the text feature on the chart so we can remember where we’ll see these text features this week. I tell the kids that tomorrow, we’ll “dive” deeper into this nonfiction text and that I just can’t wait to see how helpful these text features will be!