Description and Chronological Formative

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SWBAT tell the difference between chronological and descriptive texts

Big Idea

Although nonfiction text structures can be similar, there are key distinguishing elements.


5 minutes

Today will be used to gather some formative data on how the students are doing with the descriptive and chronological text structures. The formatives are short, so I generally do two at a time. I copy them front to back, so it's one sheet of paper. You could do one every other day or whatever suits your kids best.

I like to use a small element of comparing the structures for this since this is the actual 5th grade standard. I find that by creating formatives that ask the students to identify the paragraph that fits a particular structure and do it by analyzing two different paragraphs, they are more prepared for when we start comparing the uses and effectiveness of the structures. In the chronological formative, the students have a chronological paragraph and a descriptive paragraph to choose from, and in the description formative, the students have a descriptive and a cause/effect paragraph to choose from. 

Pass out both the Chronological Formative and Description Formative and give the kids a quick review of the directions. I ask the students to take out their highlighters or colored pencils to show how they knew the answers. Students can probably finish this in about 20 minutes, but gauge your time according to your kiddos. 

Independent Work

20 minutes

Students will complete the 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 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. 


This student Meets standards and I would give her 4 points. 

This student is Struggling, but does have a valid point. Students must pick the best paragraph to fit the descriptive structure, however, and the 2nd paragraph is not describing the fire.  When we discuss cause and effect more in depth, this student may be able to better pick out the descriptive piece. This student would get 2 points. 

Early Finishers

20 minutes

Students don't usually need my whole reading block to complete a formative. These are days when I have students update their interactive notebooks, complete the table of contents, fill in any missing pages, do some extra processing of an idea that is still giving them some trouble, etc. As students start to finish up this assessment, I'll be calling them up to conference about their notebooks. I use the checks for understanding from previous lessons to chat about their growth and ask them to tell me how they are feeling about reading. I won't give much instruction and I won't get to every student, but it gives me some one on one time with students and let's them know I'm checking in. Here is an example of Meeting with a student after formative