This is lesson 1 of 10 in this unit of study on text features. Identifying and applying text features to find key information is complex and needs to be taught in a series of lessons so students can grasp this concept in digestible bites.
Analyzing the structure of a text falls under the Craft and Structure heading in the Common Core reading framework. I find that the first step in developing students' reference and research skills is introducing students to text features in informational text. It is the foundation of research because locating information is the key to research. I begin with a presentation about the various text features in all texts. I include both literary and informational text features in this presentation because students are much more familiar with the literary text features, that it builds on their prior knowledge. I recommend using the flipchart (see resource) because it has powerful visuals that will impact students' ability to recall this information. In addition, I use the movie clip to cover the segments I am covering in my lesson that particular day. I stop the movie clip at various points since it is lengthy (see resource). Since this is an introduction to text features, I show about six different text features that the movie clip covers. I resume the following day showing a little more of the clip.
We also discuss the purpose of each text feature. We look at the Text Feature Chart (see resources) to see a summary of examples and purposes of text features. I projected this chart onto my Promethean board so that I can review each one briefly. I also like to put this chart under my document camera and project it so everyone can see and discuss. In addition, I laminate and give each student a copy later on for a scavenger hunt. Having visuals make our discussion deeper and focused.
After our whole group discussion on Text Features, I play a game called the "Text Feature Walk". I posted the text features signs (see resource) around the room, that shows a picture representation of each feature. I review with students the purpose of each text feature using the Text Feature Chart (see resource). I have a fairly large class, so I do not want my entire class of 20 students walking towards a posting at the same time. This is about crowd control too. So, my solution is to divide the class and have the boys locate a specific text feature, while the girls locate another. We take turns walking.
First, the girls will walk to the text feature I describe. For example,I say, " this text feature helps you understand what is shown in a photo or illustration". Then the girls will walk towards the posting they think is correct. I ask the boys, who are still in their seats to discuss if they think the girls have gotten right/wrong answers judging under which sign they are standing under after I read my definition. In this case, the answer for this specific clue is: Caption.
The game continues alternating boys and girls, walking with judging until we cover all the text features posted.
After students have gotten plenty of practice identifying text features during the "Text Feature Walk", I group students into teams of 4 to 6 students. I discuss group roles, norms, rules, rubrics so that everyone contributes to the task (see resource). The task is to identify as many text features as possible using the text feature chart introduced previously as well as a checklist. I assign students an article that I selected prior to this lesson. Time for Kids have student friendly articles at timeforkids.com that I use frequently. Each team member has a copy of this article and the summarizer per team has a checklist to record the team's findings (see resource).
Then I disseminate the groups to collaborate for about 15 minutes. The time keeper's role is to keep everyone focused and manage the time. At the end of 15 minutes, each team share out to the class the text features they located and specify by giving examples. The presenter uses the document camera to share and locate information from their article to the class.