I love the picture I used for this lesson. It clearly represents one of our class rules: Work hard! We are having lots of fun with expository text, even though scenes like this are common (sometimes, I'm the one holding my head).
When I started thinking about how to shift from California Standards to the Common Core Standards I focused on expository text. I knew that this would lead to changes in my instructions and I was excited about them. At training, I heard again and again about close reading and I knew that I would have to teach my students to examine the text in a deeper manner. I decided that paying attention to the features and structure of expository text would help them approach it confidently and learn from it and planned some lessons to cover Standards 4 and 5 for Reading Informational text: 5. Know and use various text structures (e.g. sequence and text features (e.g. headings, tables of contents glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts of information in a text. 6. Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations, and information provided by the words in a text. These standards are closely related and in some class conversations I go back and forth between them. However, for this lesson I wanted to focus on Standard 6.
I reminded my class that in expository text, the authors often give us information in the text and in pictures (we had previously done a lesson on features of expository text). I told them that their job would be to distinguish between the things they learned from the pictures and diagrams, and the things they learned from the sentences in the text section. My student have their anthology and their social studies or science textbooks in their desks. I told them that they could choose their own selection for this assignment. This led to a bit of chaos in the beginning, but is was worthwhile since it guaranteed engagement. When I saw that they were too enthusiastic about exploring the books in search of the perfect selection, I told them they had three more minutes to choose. This ended the chaos, but they were still very happy with having been able to choose the selection by themselves.
Once they had chosen, I showed them how to fold a paper in half, label one part with "pictures" and one with "text" and told them to get to work.
While the students worked, I circulated monitoring and clarifying as needed. I asked them what information they had gotten and whether they had gotten it from the text or from the picture. They had to show it to me in the book. Some had inferred information from the pictures, and I reminded them that we had learned that we needed to have evidence from the text.