I chose this online article, "How Magnets Work", because the text is an 2nd grade level, it has clear text features, and has information about our science topic. My goal is to really focus on how questions help the student comprehend better and be an active reader. You can use any book or online text that has informational text at the 2nd grade level. Choose a topic you are studying and encourage students to read about what they are learning in science and social studies. I encourage you to use online text, when possible. Students today will be using less and less printed materials and more online information. They need to be able to read and comprehend this text, using questioning to more fully interact with the text.
This is a lesson in the middle of a unit about questioning. In this lesson, the students ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text (RL.2.1), which supports the shift in Common Core Standards toward using text evidence to improve comprehension. We are using informational text to ask and answer the three kinds of questions - literal, evaluative, and inferential. My students are fairly comfortable with the three types of questions and understand how to find the answers to each type. We have created charts to help with starting the questions (in materials section). They have also learned about and used the kinds of text features in multiple lessons.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
Get students engaged
Common starting point
If you have not taught lessons about questioning text, I encourage you to look at some of the earlier lessons so your students get some practice with writing and answering questions. See the other lessons included in this unit for more!
Give the purpose of the lesson
Introduce and model the strategy
Practice strategy - guided practice
I left the last 3 paragraphs for the students because they have a few text features and are shorter.
Students work - formative assessment
As students learn and use various text features to locate key facts in the text efficiently, they are able to analyze the structure of texts, including how specific parts relate to each other and the text as a whole (RI.2.5) . Students become more introspective close readers, analyzing the text features as they read and integrating the knowledge gained from them into the text.
Share what you know
Using informational text to ask questions that can be verified with text, illustrations, and background knowledge is a great way for students to better comprehend what they read. As they use close reading strategies to question ideas and concepts (RI.2.1), they are forming inferences and ultimately opinions by using evaluative questions. Allowing them to test their theories and opinions by using manipulatives (magnets), encourages them to again test and verify what they think with hard evidence.
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
Students with academic challenges should work with the teacher in a small group or use question prompts given on a white board. Writing questions is often hard for students who struggle academically, but they can really benefit from the modeling and guided practice. Here is student demonstrating understanding with the magnets - he struggles, but still is learning. His questions are not written well, but he continues to make good progress with questioning and understanding the informational text.
For students with greater ability, I would challenge them to use those 'question chart words' that don't get used often (does, are....).