Students At Work: Compare and Contrast Literacy Workstations

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SWBAT apply knowledge of previously learned 5th grade reading standards and text structures in a small group setting.

Big Idea

Workstations help to differentiate the process of mastering new knowledge.

Introductions and Expectations

5 minutes

See my first workstation lesson for complete details.

Students will rotate through 3 stations today for 15 minutes at a time. Today, students will work mostly on the structure standards. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure of text

Structure your groups in a way that works for you. I'm placing my students who have still been struggling on the checks for understandings and formatives in one group so that I can follow them to each station today. These kiddos have been struggling with man of the structures because they just get them all mixed up. They still have a hard time remember the clue words and the characteristics of each structure. Honestly, when kids struggle with reading, giving them some magic notes about the structures is not going to solve their problems. We'll need to read these texts and discuss them throughout the rest of the year. This skill is something the kids were supposed to learn in 3rd and 4th grade, but if the kids are struggling with reading, they're not going to remember the characteristics from one year to the next. I will not have a group, so this will give me lots of time with them today. The other two groups will just be split based on advanced and on level. I can also check in with those two groups today and be a presence to keep them on task. That job never ends for small groups. 

Before starting, I'll review the rotations for the day and discuss group and behavior expectations. I use this time to also tell my students where to turn in work and that I may not be interrupted while I work with my small groups. 

 I use the SMART board to display my rotation groups and behaviors so the groups can be moved easily, but you might use pocket charts, writing on the white board, etc.


45 minutes

This is the last set of workstations for the structures. I'll use the last reader's theater activity I have for compare and contrast structure and some task cards to keep them practicing all of the structures. I don't always use reader's theater for fluency, but these hit fluency and the structures all at once, so they were perfect for this unit. The kids LOVED recording themselves each time and always asked if reader's theater was in stations.

Reader's Theater: I want my group of 10 to break into into two groups of 5. Students will read aloud from the Problem and Solution Reader's Theater script I found on this site. I also 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, students will listen to themselves and complete a   for themselves and turn it in to me. The group I follow today really likes this station, so I'll watch them for a bit and then make some rounds to the others to make sure they're on task. 

Text structure Task Cards- I found these on a wikispace and my kids love them. The passages are short, but can be difficult. I printed and laminated these for continued use. I made a few copies for all of my students and asked that they highlight and annotate and then turn them in. Structures Task Card 1 and Structures Task Cards 2. When I sit with my stuggling kids here, I can be sure to listen to the key words they pick out and their justification for the structure choice. I don't want to lead too much here because the task cards aren't difficult. This a great place for them to try out their skills and if mistakes are made, I can intervene to talk about how to fix those mistakes. 

Self-Selected Reading: My kids will reading a nonfiction book of their choice silently. I want them to use sticky notes to mark places that lead them to an idea of the structure of the text. I will spend some time with my struggling students to be able to conference with them and to be sure they are reading something on their grade level. When the kids read longer selections, it's harder for the structures to stand out, so I want to see what they are writing on the post it notes. I can also conference with my students about their choices and what they notice. Here is a self-selected reading example. 

If you feel like you want to meet with your own group, this compare and contrast paragraph practice may be helpful. 


10 minutes

Students will complete the Compare and Contrast Formative during this time. I will usually monitor my students with focus issues, check to see the kids are justifying their answers, and just be a presence while they are working. When my students justify, I expect them to highlight the clues for the structure to show me how they found the answer. This also helps the students stay on task. I'm thinking the kids who have been struggling, will still find this tricky. If I give them one paragraph, they've gotten better at telling me what structure is mostly used, but when I give them two and ask which one is a specific structure, they get confused for some reason. I will continue to work with these students in RTI since most of them are in that group. I like having my own students for that intervention because I can tailor all of their lessons to meet specific needs. I also offer a lunch bunch to students so that we can work on skills twice a week. I use one day for reading and one day for math. 

When I grade these, I score each question based on 4 points. This can get tricky since there isn't much being asked of the student. My rubric looks like this:

4- Correct paragraph chosen, supports choice with reasons and evidence from the text

3- Correct paragraph chosen

2- Incorrect paragraph chosen, valid thoughts for the paragraph they chose with reasons and evidence from the text

1- Incorrect paragraph chosen, tried to support choice

0-Did not attempt to answer or answered incorrectly with no evidence

My district is in a revision state for grades and percentages, so I've been giving 4-100 points, 3- 85 points, 2- 70 points, 1-50 points and 0 for 0. 


You may have completely different discussion with your teammates or rubric scores.