Table of Contents, Glossaries, and Indexes

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Students will be able to locate items in text using table of contents,glossaries and indexes.

Big Idea

The structure of text in informational text has specific purpose to help readers locate information.

Location Cues

20 minutes

The first part of this lesson, I begin by role playing as a launching activity.  I ask students what to do if I am looking for a specific topic.  Most students will answer that we can look it up using the index.  Then, we discuss other methods of looking up information using the Text Feature chart.  We focus on the glossary, index, and table of contents because students have experience with this area via their textbook daily.  Building on their prior knowledge, students discuss the purpose of the three text features:  index, glossary, and table of contents.  Students use their text books to practice looking up certain stories, topics, and definitions with the three focus text features.

We play a game to review this process.  I give students a situation and they have to tell be how to solve it.  For example, "I am looking for a story called Henry and Mudge.  Where would you find this information?"  Students will answer "Table of Contents".  I continue this game this time by asking one student to ask another how to perform a task using text feature, taking myself out of the equation.  As students are gaining independence applying text features, I continue this game until students demonstrate mastery through analysis of performance observation. In order for students to gain ownership of this activity, I gradually release the responsibilities of completing assigned tasks to them.  

     Students also need to understand real world applications for what they are learning.  So, our discussion includes why text features are useful in daily lives.  One student shared that she wanted to see a movie with her family.  They looked it up using the index section of the newspaper or online search.  We compared how using key words online is similar to using a table of contents, glossary, or index.  


Practice Makes Perfect

20 minutes

     Reading a newspaper is a great way to teach students to use an index.  I first demonstrate by modeling how I would look for a section in a newspaper.  I say, "I wonder where I can find local news stories."  Then, I place the index under my document camera and ask students to help me.  This gets them interested because not only am I asking for their assistance, but most students have never seen an index in a newspaper.  We also talk about different text features in a newspaper:  heading, byline, subtitle, caption, photo credit, photo/graphic,etc. (see resource). It is indeed the low tech way of locating information.  But, it is out of the ordinary for most students.  This is a great motivational hook to get students interested in applying their knowledge of indices.

     In contrast, I then present a high tech way of using table of contents and glossaries.  Using our school website, I go to students' online textbook.  I ask them to look at the table of contents as I project the online textbook website on the board.  Since I have an interactive Promethean board, I ask students to demonstrate using my Promethean Pen to click at lessons and find the pages by clicking on them with my pen, which acts like a stylus.  We take turns going on an electronic scavenger hunt.  Each student gets a copy of the text feature chart to guide them during the scavenger hunt.  I enjoy turning this activity into a game of boys vs. girls.  I select a score keeper as we alternate taking turns: boy, girl.  At the end of the lesson, we tabulate the scores to see which team knew where to locate information using the online textbook by earning the most points.  I find that game playing makes this lesson more lively and exciting.  Students are more engaged in this interactive activity.

      Common Core relies on the application of knowledge in real world settings.  In this case, students are evaluating content presented in diverse media and formats.

Sharing What We Know

20 minutes

Students share what they know by demonstrating how they locate stories, definitions, and information using index, table of contents, and glossaries. I ask students to go on a scavenger hunt using the newspaper. 

Students work together in small groups of 4 to six students. Each student has a section of a newspaper and a copy of the text feature chart (see resource).  Each group of students is directed to find as many different types text features as they can using the chart.  To make this game fair, I give each group the same newspaper. Students begin working when I direct them to start.  At the end of twenty minutes, I ask each group to share what they found.  I also ask students why that text feature is useful in the newspaper.  This activity promotes groups to not only collaborate, but create a strategy to find the most types of text features.