Analyzing complex text is super tough! My scholars did a great job at identifying the text structure of simple paragraphs with super obvious key words that signal type of structure, but they really struggled to apply this skill with complex text. This lesson aims to give scholars more practice with analyzing complex text structure. I also attempt to provide scholars with more scaffolds in the form of questioning and using post-it notes to chunk out the text structure of paragraphs or sections to help them better see how the entire passage is structured.
Analyzing text structure is a pre-requiset skill to comparing/contrasting text structures (RI5.5). Therefore, I am going to spend two more days on this skill and re-assess on day 3.
I quickly share with my scholars that Game Day (the day that we took our quiz) last week was a little tough. I noticed that most scholars had a really tough time determining the structure of the passage. I actually paused Game Day and did some on-the-spot teaching to support scholars. I tell scholars that we are going to practice the skill a bit more this week, and that I am going to teach the skill a little differently to better support them. I tell them that we will have another Game Day at the end of the week.
I am transparent with my scholars because it helps invest them in spending more time on the same skill. Also, we set weekly goals and track our quiz scores, so it is helpful for them to know why this is going to look differently this week (since I had to support them through the quiz, we aren't going to really "count" their scores).
I show scholars a video, David Goes to the Dentist, and ask them to analyze the structure of this video.
I do a quick think aloud as we watch. "Is there a problem/solution? Is there a clear cause/effect? Is this describing something? Is there a topic, main ideas, supporting details and examples? Are there two or more things being compared/contrasted? Is there a clear sequence of events- a first, second, third?"
I let scholars take 1 minute to jot down how they think the video is structured. Then, I give them 30 seconds to share with a friend. Finally, I pull 2 friends from the cup to share. Scholars non-verbally agree/disagree with the friends as they share. Then I call 2-3 volunteers to share their thinking. I have them think, then share so that they are prepared for the whole group discussion. I select random scholars to increase engagement and enhance accountability. I call 2-3 volunteers to keep scholars who are super eager invested in the discussion.
Now, I explicitly model the new strategies that I want scholars to employ with this tricky skill. Modeling is super important for scholars because it enables them to hear what strong readers think and do while they read and after they read to better understand complex text.
I say, "I'm going to read pages 80-82 of Rosa Parks: My Story, and as I do this, I'm going to ask myself: how is this section structured? This is the same question we asked ourselves last week, but this week I am going to record how each paragraph is structured. That will help me think about the whole section. I'm also going to write down key words and ideas so that I can better understand what the text is telling me so that I can think about the structure."
We do a cloze reading of the pages, and I pause to jot down key words and ideas that help me think about the structure of the text. Click here for an example: Key ideas & structure words on Post-it notes. One thing that I emphasize in the modeling is that just because you see the word first in a paragraph, does not mean that it is organized by sequence. Key words need to be connected to key ideas in order to signal structure. You need to think about the topic of the chapter and the main ideas while you look for those important structure words. If the word does not relate to the topic or main ideas of the section, it is NOT an important structure word.
Scholars jot down key ideas & words with me on their post-it notes.
**Keep the modeling short. Scholars need to hear your thinking, but this should not consume the lesson. This is day 5 of this skill, and scholars need to practice the new strategy.
I pre-determine partners for this section of the lesson. I place partners in heterogenious groups so that lower scholars have access to the text. I partner a medium scholar with a medium high, and a lower scholar with a medium/low scholar. I partner scholars in this way because you don't want to frustrate either scholar.
Scholars get up and move to different places in the room to do their reading. Partner reading is important because it gives scholars the opportunity to practice the skill in a low-stakes environment. It also gives scholars a chance to hear more examples of fluent reading and to practice fluent reading. Here are some examples of partner reading groups: partners reading and More partners reading.
Scholars use post-it notes to record the important ideas/words that signal structure. If my ELL co-teacher is in the room, she will pull the yellow group and read aloud with them and help them identify the key words that signal structure. Scholars have 15 minutes of partner reading.
We come back together after 15 minutes to discuss what key words/ideas they found. During this discussion, scholars agree/disagree with each other and they justify their thinking.
During this time scholars rotate through 3 stations. I have a bit more time for this today it is the third lesson in our sequence on text structure.
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. 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 and to practice using post-it notes to identify key words as they relate to text structure. 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 discuss text structure. I differentiate during this time by having students read text that is on their highest instructional level. This supports lower scholars (lower, more simple text) and extends higher scholars (higher, more complex text).
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.