Last year, I found that analyzing text structure in an informational text was a relatively simple standard to teach. Scholars came to me with some prior knowledge regarding text structure. The piece that was new to them was the comparing/contrasting. However, I taught compare/contrast before teaching this standard this year. The only new piece of the standard will be comparing/contrasting across texts. This lesson is more of a review/foundational building blocks lesson that is meant to review and explicitly teach different text structures.
I show scholars the House and the picture of McDonald's in the resources section. I ask them to describe how the buildings are structured the same, different and why they think that. I give them 3 minutes to think about these questions.
I might model thinking aloud by saying, "Hmm, I know that both of these structures have a kitchen. I know that McDonald's has a MUCH larger eating area than a house. This is probably because it is a restaurant so it has to seat many people." I also check-in with scholars who struggle. I tell them, "Tell me what you're thinking." And then I support with more thinking aloud and scaffolded questions.
After 3 minutes, I have scholars share with a friend next to them and then I pull 3 friends from my cup. After that I take 1 volunteer.
The reason why I start with comparing/contrasting pictures of buildings is because it is more concrete. It is easier for scholars to practice the more complex skill with something concrete. Then, scholars can apply the new skill to the text. This is important because it builds confidence with the skill and scholars are more likely to persist when they apply it to the text since they've experienced success with the pictures. Also, it makes the concept more concrete which allows students to better understand what they are learning about.
I explain that buildings are structured similarly and differently, depending upon the purpose of the building. Text is exactly the same. Texts are structured similarly and differently, depending on the author's purpose.
I give scholars 1 minute to jot down all of the different types of text structure that they have previously learned about (most scholars think of problem/solution and cause/effect). Then, we popcorn out. Popcorning out is when I grab names from my cup and scholars just jump up from their seats and say the 1-2 word answer. I do this to get scholars out of their seats and to keep the pace of the lesson up.
I then give each group 3 short paragraphs to read. They identify how the paragraphs are structured. These are very simple paragraphs. The purpose is to remind scholars of what they've learned and to explicitly teach some of the text structures that may be new. Groups have 4 minutes to read & identify text structure. Click here to view Scholars identifying text structure of paragraphs. Then, they have 20 seconds to move to the next table and identify the text structure there. There are 4 rotations total, and 12 total paragraphs.
I like to do rotations as often as I can because it gets scholars up out of their seats and enhances engagement. Classifying and sorting paragraphs is a great way to review text structure and explicitly teach it to scholars who may not have the same background.
Scholars have 20 seconds to get back to their seats after the sort. Then, we create a foldable for the different types of text structure. Click here for the Text Structure Foldable How-to. I have them create this foldable because it again helps to review old concepts, it is fun to cut and paste and it will explicitly teach the different types of text structures for scholars who may not know the different ways text might be organized. I have them do the foldable second so that they can think about what problem/solution looked like in the text as they create the foldable. Moreover, it is a great way for me to assess what scholars know/remembered regarding text structure.
They create a section in the foldable for each of the following:
2. Main Ideas/Supporting Details
4. Sequence of Events/Chronology
In the foldable they include a visual representation of the text structure, key words/phrases that may give you a clue as to what the text type is and a label.
Scholars glue the foldable into their reading notebooks. This prevents scholars from losing their foldable and it also makes their notes easier to access. They use the foldable throughout the week to remind them of the different types of text structure.
During this time scholars just do 1 or 2 rotations (depending on time). This is the first day of a new standard, and I anticipate that the guided practice and teaching strategy will be a bit longer.
I start the time by reviewing our Checklist items for the week and explicitly state what should be completed by the end of the day (a summary of the text). This holds scholars accountable to their work thereby making them more productive. Then, the ELL teacher and I share the materials that our groups will need to be successful (i.e. a pencil and your book baggies). Then, I give scholars 20 seconds to get to the place in the room where they will be for the first rotation. The first scholars who are there with all materials they need receive additions on their paychecks or positive PAWS.
During the rotations for this lesson, my small group objective today is to identify text structure within books that are on each group's highest instructional level. Scholars read a portion of the same text (different for each group depending on reading level, but the same text is read in each group). Then we how the author organized the text & why.
After the first rotation, I do a rhythmic clap to get everyone's attention. Scholars place hands on head and eyes on me so I know they are listening. Then they point to where they go next. I give them 20 seconds to get there. Again, scholars who are at the next station in under 20 seconds with everything they need receive a positive PAW or a paycheck addition. We practice rotations at the beginning of the year so scholars know if they are back at my table, they walk on the right side of the room, if they are with the ELL teacher, they walk on the left side of the room and if they are at their desks, they walk in the middle of the room. This way we avoid any collisions.
At the end of our rotation time I give scholars 20 seconds to get back to their desks and take out materials needed for the closing part of our lesson. Timing transitions helps to make us more productive and communicates the importance of our learning time.