Supplemental Articles: Prose Constructed Response Practice & Text Structure Continued

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SWBAT synthesize evidence from multiple sources to write a well-developed essay (PCR).

Big Idea

How can I express complex ideas in writing?

Cue Set

20 minutes

Yesterday, we began to construct a PCR comparing and contrasting text structure.  Today, we complete this lesson.  We struggled with this yesterday, so today we add a bit more support.  Yesterday, I noticed that scholars struggled with proving (in writing) how they knew what the overall text structure was.  Therefore, this is where we begin the lesson today. 

I show scholars the video on hurricanes from National Geographic Kids.  As scholars watch the first time, they think about the following question: What is the overall structure of Hurricanes 101?  They have 30 seconds to jot down their hypothesis in their notebooks.  After they jot their hypothesis, they have 10 seconds to share what they thought with a friend.  I take 2 friends from my cup to say what they think and then ask for any volunteers to share if they had something different. Here are some scholars watching video.   

The second time we watch, we find PROOF that our answer is correct.  So, if we thought the overall structure of the video was cause and effect, then there should be something that happens that the video is MOSTLY about.  Then, there should be a clear description of why that event occurred.  If we thought the overall structure was description, then there should be a clear topic, features and examples.  Here is a strong student response.  

The reason I split this into two separate views is so that scholars can focus on just 1 skill at a time (first overall structure and second proof).  This makes it easier for them to be successful.  

After the second view, scholars have 1 minute to jot down their evidence.  Then, they have 1 minute to share with a friend.  I take 2 friends from my cup and 1 volunteer to share their thinking. 

Teaching Strategy

10 minutes

This is VERY brief today. Since it is day 2 of the lesson, and I know my scholars struggle with the writing on their own, there is no need to belabor this part of the lesson.  However, I added a new scaffold that they did not have yesterday, so I do take the time to explain how to use this additional support.  

I tell scholars that sometimes the toughest part of writing is getting started.  So, today I give them sentence starters that they can use any time they write a compare/contrast text structure PCR.  I did this on-the-spot with a group yesterday and they were successful, so I knew it would work whole-group.  Here are the notes from one scholar. 

-Paragraph 1: The text structure of I Survived the Superstorm and Children of the Storm is the same and different. 

-Paragraph 2: The text structure of I Survived the Superstorm and Children of the Storm is similar.  They are similar because... 

-Paragraph 3: The text structure of I Survived the Superstorm and Children of the Storm is different.  They are different because... 

-Paragraph 4: Therefore, the text structure of I Survived the Superstorm and Children of the Storm is the same and different.  

Guided Practice

30 minutes

Scholars have 5 minutes to read the first text: Children of the Storm  Then, they have 30 seconds to jot down what they think the overall text structure is (description, cause/effect, problem/solution, sequence, comparison).  Then, they go back and RE-READ to code the text and find proof.  For example, if they think it was cause/effect they go back and code C for all of the places it tells WHY the major event happened.  They would code E for all of the places it tells WHAT happened.  If they notice in their coding that they can't find enough evidence, it must mean that they need to change their answer.  

We repeat the same cycle for I Survived the Superstorm (article from Scholastic News).  Here is a scholar reading the scholastic article.  

It is important not to give away the answer as you teach this - you want scholars to have practice grappling with determining overall text structure and finding proof on their own.  That way, they can be confident when they go to writing.  However, you do want to make sure that they've been taught a specific strategy that will enable them to be more successful with the skill.  

Group Practice & Gallery Walk

45 minutes

During the guided practice today, scholars again work in post-it note groups to create strong PCR responses.  I use post-it note groups to get scholars to interact with new and different friends.  Also, it gives them a chance to get up and move around a bit.  Scholars work together to create 1 PCR response to the following question: 

How is the overall structure of Children of the Storm the same or different from I Survived the Superstorm?  Use evidence from BOTH texts to support your response.  

Scholars are responsible for handing in their individual PCR too so even if they are not writing on the chart paper, they still are responsible for their own work.  Here is one scholar's beginning of a PCR response.  They discuss the similarity between the topics of both passages.  I will want to see them delve more deeply into how the structures of the texts are different as they move into the rest of the essay.  

As scholars work in small groups, I pull a cohort of ELL scholars and other scholars who need more support with their individual responses (this group is determined from the closure yesterday).  

I remind scholars to use the sentence starters if they get stuck.  

Scholars have 20 minutes to create their PCRs in their groups.  Then, at the end of that time, scholars have a gallery walk.  They walk around the room and leave roses (positives) and thorns (areas to improve) for each group.  I remind them that as they walk around the room they READ, THINK, then WRITE.  I model how to leave a strong feedback.  I remind them that saying things like, "nice work!" is not particularly strong feedback.  It must be specific and related to what makes a PCR strong.