Text Structure: Description

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SWBAT analyze a passage to determine the text structure of description

Big Idea

Students get interactive with their notes while analyzing text for its' structure.

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

To begin with, I want to review the lesson on text structures.  It was an overview and I want the students to recall the terms to help them with today's lesson.  To do this, I will ask them to match the term with the visual and definition. 

I will pass out the Term Sort which includes the terms, definitions, and visuals to the students to work with their shoulder partners.  I'll cut them apart and mix them up.  I'll have the students work to match them as I circulate the room.  Having the visuals will be very helpful and I am anticipating the students to do well with this activity. 

I can assess whether or not I need to do a quick refresher or if I am able to move on and get deeper with each structure. 

Once they have had the chance, I will review the terms and definitions and review again the purpose of learning the text structures. 

I have recently made it a personal goal to go over purpose with every lesson.  I have said it in the past and know the importance, but often breeze right past it.

When dealing with text structure, I point out how helpful the text structure can be in helping us identify the author's purpose.  Once we understand the author's purpose, we can make sense of the information. 



25 minutes

To begin with, I will pass out the template and have the students work to cut out the template paragraph and Graphic Organizer.  The students really enjoy using the graphic organizers to take notes.  They are very engaging and really provide the students with an organized tool to study from later.  I have found these very helpful templates at imlovinlit.blogspot.com.  They are a nominal fee and are worth every penny!

I will allow the students about six minutes to cut out the template and set up their interactive spirals. 

Once the students have everything taped in and ready to go, I will project the Text Structure power point and on the slide that is titled "description."  I will go through the slides on description.  When it comes to teaching the structure of description, I want to point out an author's use of details, adjectives, and strong verbs that create the mental picture.  I want the students to see how an author who writes using this text structure creates that image in our minds with his or her words. 

I will underline the details in that paragraph about the pond that create that image.  I also like to ask the students what image they get, what season to they envision and why.  This helps them understand how the authors words can paint pictures without saying specific details.  For instance, in the paragraph the author states the forest as golden, we automatically think of fall.  How does the author tell us it is fall, without saying it? 

We have a discussion about this before moving on. 

Guided Practice

25 minutes

Now it is time for the students to see how the structure is built.  To do this, and to engage them, I like to use colors!

I will project the paragraph from the template onto the board and have the students open their interactive spirals to the template.  I will use this paragraph as guided practice. 

First, I will read the paragraph aloud so the students are able to focus on the content of the paragraph.  Next, we will discuss the main idea of the paragraph and what it is about.  Finally, I want the students to see the details found within the paragraph and that create the structure. 

I'll go through with the students and underline each detail in a different color.  I'll have the students follow along with me working in their spirals.  As we are underlining the details, I like to ask how this detail contributes to the structure.  What does it help me see? 

Next, using the graphic organizer, I will guide the students on how to complete it using the paragraph.  First, we will decide on and write the topic of the paragraph in the middle of the graphic organizer.  Next, we will go through and write each detail on to one of the attached flaps.  I like to color code the details in the paragraph to the flap.  It helps the students see how the structure is created. 

As they are working to do this, I will monitor and check for understanding by putting students in charge of Describing the task

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Now it is time for the students to analyze the structure on their own! I will pass out a blank template graphic organizer which can be found at  and a new descriptive paragraph for Independent Practice.

I will first review the steps.  My students are very visual and are successful with chunking tasks.  I will write the steps onto the board.  First, read the paragraph and identify the topic and main idea.  Next, go through and underline each detail using a different color for every detail.  Then, write the details into the flaps on the graphic organizer using the same colors.  Write the topic in the middle. 

I will allow the students time to work through the passage.  I can circulate, pull small groups, or reteach as needed. 

I will have the students turn this in for an assessment. Check out some student samples below


5 minutes

To help us process what we have learned today and to take a quick assessment of their learning, I will ask the students to complete a Closure Slip.  I want them to be confident with this structure before moving on to other structures.  I can use this slip to help develop future lessons. 

Can the students describe to me what this text structure does and how it is built?  I want them to be able to really see the purpose of this text structure, in order to be able to truly understand it.  I am expecting the students to be able to define it and give me a basic explanation of how it is built.  I am sure we will come back to it many times! 

Resource Information

1 minutes

All resources needed for this lesson can be found at I'm lovin Lit Blog.  They are a nominal fee and are more than worth the cost!