Students At Work: Literacy Workstations for Descriptive Text Structure

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SWBAT apply knowledge of the descriptive text structure and practice their vocabulary skills to determine the meanings of root words.

Big Idea

Listening to the teacher can be BORING! How about some time to read descriptive texts and work with root words on your own?!

Introduction and Expectations

5 minutes

See my first workstation lesson for complete details.

In this lesson, we'll be working in 3 stations to help the kids strengthen their skills. I plan to be one of the three stations, so my class will be divided into 3 groups of 10 and I will see all 10 students in my small group. I try to let my students tell me what they might be interested in to help motivate them in reading, so when they asked about the driver's manual, I grabbed one from the local DMV. My group will be reading a descriptive section in that manual today. Students will also practice fluency through a Reader's Theater about descriptive text and practice working with root words. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.5.3a is something I like to work in through workstations, I provide some direct instruction on roots and affixes once a week, but otherwise just let them practice to gain a better understanding. 

Show students your descriptive workstations chart to prepare for the workstations. I use the SMART board to do this so the groups can be moved easily, but you might use pocket charts, writing on the white board, etc. Review the stations for the day and expected behaviors that work in your classroom.


45 minutes

Students will rotate through 3 stations today for 15 minutes at a time. Today, students will work on current concepts and past common core standards. The stations I have included are based upon needs within my classroom. You may change out any station for something that works better for your students this year. Today I am also opting to be one of the stations to meet with all of my students during the rotations. Although a large portion of my class excels in reading, I still need to work with them in the small setting from time to time.


Reader's Theater: Today students will practice fluency(RF.5.4)  by reading aloud from the Descriptive Reader's Theater script I found on this site. 

Even though you are in a group of 10, please break into two groups of 5. You will read the script today while recording your performance.

Have them record themselves reading using vocaroo internet voice recorder, a tape recorder, or the sound recorder on the windows computer systems. I have one group use a tape recorder and the other uses a microphone on the computer. That way we make the most of large groups and limited time. There are probably others that you may have access to as well.

To complete the station today, you will listen to yourselves and complete a fluency self evalulation for yourself and turn it in to me.

This is such a great way to strengthen their fluency skills. Not only are they reading aloud with purpose, they are listening to themselves in a small group session and evaluating their own performance. You can see here that my students really get into it. Once my kids are ready, I'd like them to try evaluating a peer, but many of them are still a bit nervous about reading aloud, so I don't want to push them yet. I try to build that trust and risk-taking and read my kids to know when we're ready to move on. If your class is ready for it, jump right in. It's more powerful when they have a trusted friend to help them grow. 

Teacher Station(Descriptive Text Structure): To continue coverage of RI.5.5 we'll practice reading and analyzing the descriptive text structure.  My students have expressed interest in reading the driver's manual for our state, so I grabbed a manual and made copies to use in small groups. Today we are going to read through the sections that describe the rules of the road. While reading, the students will be making annotations in the text to show where they find evidence of the descriptive text structure. They will simply place an asterisk where they find descriptive clues. We will discuss how the features (an early common core standard) are used to break up all of the information to help us organize the information in our minds or a graphic organizer. This is all I will have time for today, but it is an authentic application of the common core standard and will help me motivate my students to read. You may pick any text that suits your needs.

Funbrain Roots Station: This is my SMART board station. The students work in a large group to answer the questions posed on the funbrain website. Students will be working with easy to difficult root words such as chron, demo, inter and much more (RF.5.3a). My rule for this station since groups are so big is that they must rotate as a host (person at the board) and a recorder (person who writes notes) for each question. This ensures everyone gets a turn at the board and that all are accountable for showing me they actually worked at the station. My students really enjoy this station because they get to be the teacher, "play" on the SMART board and have some freedom all at the same time. 

When the rotations are over, open the class to a discussion about how the workstations went. Ask students to reflect on their behavior and focus during the stations, how they worked with peers, etc. Lead students in thinking about what they might do differently next time and discuss ways that you could improve stations in the future.