I show a series of text features using signs I made from a powerpoint as well as replaying the movie I introduced on the first lesson of this unit (see resource). This is not only a review, but a presentation of the knowledge students have gained since their first introduction to text features. At this point, students will know most of the text features shown in contrast to what they knew before this unit. I distribute student responders and remind students that they had completed the K section of the KWL chart on the promethean using texting technology. That day, I had taken a screen shot, so that they can recall their feedback during our first lesson on text features. So, I take out the KWL chart of text features that we had done earlier with the K section completed (see resource) and ask students to once again text me about the Learned section using no more than three words. Most students were impressed with the amount of knowledge gained not only of their ability to identify text features, but also their ability to develop a purpose for learning.
As we bask in this motivating moment, I use this opportunity to introduce more text features that clarify text through illustrations and diagrams. We look at examples of these illustrations that accompany text using our Text Feature Chart (see resource). Students identify which text features we are referring to from the chart. We discuss how each text feature identified helps to explain text. Students gain the knowledge that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words because a complex idea can be explained with just a single image.
We analyze different text features and discuss how it is used in text. Then, we apply our knowledge by looking through books and textbooks for examples of illustrations. Students discuss why their sample illustration helps the reader better understand the text.
In pairs, students work collaboratively to draw and list 4 text features they especially find helpful to readers. Students are given informational text (books, magazines, and articles) as resources to work on this activity. They will present their findings to the class after this activity is complete. Common core requires analyzing and synthesizing sources that is facilitated by knowledge of text features and their purpose.
As students work in pairs, collaboratively, I walk around observing their work styles and taking photos/ videos with my flip camera to document this process for a formative assessment later on. I prefer to use a small camera such as a flip camera or phone because it is less noticeable and less distracting to students. At this point, students are used to my form of documentation and are aware of its purpose. In addition, being recorded keeps students on task since they know all their activities will be replayed for analysis at the conclusion of this activity.
At the end of the activity, students present their projects. Then, I show them the video I filmed so they can discuss how they worked collaboratively and how they can improve their strategies to work together. We analyze their collaboration using a collaborative rubric (see resource). Students are asked to rate themselves in each category of the collaboration rubric by showing the hand signals indicated on the rubric per score. I ask students why they chose their score. We discuss how we need to improve our skills on collaboration.
I also ask students to rate themselves on the Text Feature Rubric. Again, they give me hand signals (holding up fingers), by showing me the number they associate themselves with on the scoring rubric (see resource). Then we discuss why students felt they received their chosen scores for self-assessment.