Interacting with a Text

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SWBAT: annotate a text to glean main idea, and make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections.

Big Idea

As a way of introducing nonfiction and informational texts, connecting to our Anchor Text is the easiest way to go!

Guiding Question

5 minutes

I like the idea that any time we experience a text, it's interacting with it. We do more than simply read an article in my class, we annotate it, discuss it, arrive at new understandings. This Guiding Question was designed to get the students away from the notion that we "just" read. It's more in my class.

"What are different ways you can interact with a text?"

Students were clearly hung up on the word "interact," which is good--it's an opportunity. I used this time to practice my Marzanno 6 Steps. Once we got past the "interact" obstacle, my students began to write down things like "annotate," "share information you read to a friend," and "write your own text that is like the one you just read." These are good first steps to understanding why we do what we do when we read, but for this lesson I really need to focus on annotating a text because it's a strategy we use A LOT!


20 minutes

For the Mini-Lesson, I used the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model: the I Do, We Do, You Do.

For the I Do, I modeled reading the first part of the article (the first two paragraphs) "A Silent Hurricane Season," and marking it up, concentrating on making text-to-text connections with our Read Aloud, Ninth Ward. I made a connection that in the article, it mentions that the mid-point of the hurricane season is September, and in Ninth Ward, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29th, so the timeframes are close--Katrina hit near the midpoint of the hurricane season. For the "I Do," I do not give the students a copy of the text. It's important that they are only watching what I do so they get a sense of how a proficient reader interacts with a text. I put my copy under the document camera and mark it up, labeling text-to-text connections as T-T, and asking questions in the margins.

For the "We Do," I give the students a copy of the article and we mark up the second part (under the subheading "Storm Season") together. For this part, I ask that they write exactly what I write. The reason for this is that I want them getting used to the quantity of annotations that they will be producing. I have high expectations for the amount of marking up of a text that they do--there is no way that I can assess their thinking with minimal annotations, or if they just underline some lines.

Work Time

20 minutes

For their work time, they will be working on the "You Do" portion of the Gradual Release of Responsibility.  I give them the Interacting With a Text Cheat Sheet, so that they can use it as a reference point if they forget what to do. 


Students will work on their own to annotate the rest of the text. As they do this, I'm circulating and asking kids why they made certain marks on their text. For example, I always have those kids that, no matter how many times you tell them to write questions and connections in the margins, they are still just underlining random sentences. When I blatantly ask a student why they underlined a sentence, and they can't answer it--I know I need to stop and reteach determining importance in a text.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

By giving students various Reflection stems for their reflection, they are able to tell me to what degree the lesson reached them personally. Some students are able to tell me if they need more help, or ask a question privately. Others are able to showcase their understanding. The beauty of the differentiated stems is that it is designed to catch everyone--both successes and glitches in the learning.