Teaching chronological text structure usually presents itself as an easier structure for the students to master not only in isolation, but once we take it to more complex text the students seem to find success as well.
To get the students thinking in terms of chronological order. I will ask them to write a paragraph telling me about their day from the moment they woke up until now. This usually proves to be fun for them, and really engages them into the lesson.
I will provide them with about five minutes to write then allow them a few minutes to share with their partner, then a few minutes to share as a class.
I will collect the transition words and phrases I hear as they are speaking and sharing, writing these words on the board. These transition words are the clues to identifying and writing in chronological order.
To help students understand how the structure of chronological order is built, I will pass out the graphic organizer and template. I will give them some time to cut out the graphic organizer and paragraph and set up their interactive spirals. This graphic organizer can be confusing, so I model it first. All of the graphic organizers and templates I use for this lesson are from the "Interactive Reading Informational Text Notebooks" found at imlovinlit.blogspot.com. They are available for a nominal fee and are worth it!
Once the spirals are all set up and ready to go, I'll display the Text Structure power point and go through just the slides on chronological order. I really like starting with a model and examples. I think providing the students with instant examples really helps them process the concept. I will go through the paragraph in the power point, pointing out the transition words uses.
I will use this moment to review transition words and create a list of words and phrases we could use when writing. This will really come in handy later, when I ask the students to write using the structure.
I think it is also important to point out that transitions do not always need to be the basics. We have been using first, second, next, then, and finally from the time we started writing. I will have the students brainstorm OTHER words or phrases that could be used to demonstrate time or transition us in a story of events.
We can collect these words and display them when we are writing.
I want the students to get involved and really see how chronological order is created in the story. I will display the paragraph and have the students open in their interactive spirals to their template. I will also have the students take out seven different colored pencils. Similar to how I used them in the descriptive paragraph, I want the students to see how each sentence plays an important role in the overall structure of the paragraph and using color helps with that.
Once the students are ready to go, and not playing with their pencils, I will start. I begin by first reading the paragraph once through. I do this so the students can see how important it is to focus on the content of the passage. We are not JUST doing a task, we are reading for comprehension as well. At the sixth grade level, a lot of students have difficulty doing that when asked to complete a task with the text. They will just focus on the task.
After I read it once, I will go through and start underlining the different events. Each event should be underlined with a new or different color. As I am doing this, the students are doing the same to their paper in their spirals.
Once we have underlined all seven events, I will have the students write the events in the graphic organizer, using the same colors from the paragraph. They will see how the details lead the story from beginning to end. Work Sample
I will allow the students time to complete this task as I circulate to guide, reteach and assess as needed.
Once students have gone through the practice and have demonstrated understanding with guidance, I want them to show mastery on their own. Plus, this release will encourage them to take risks and fight through any struggles they are having. I am finding this release to be very character building for a lot of the students. The phrase "struggle through it" is really creating a lot of confidence within the classroom!
I will pass out the blank graphic organizer found at http://imlovinlit.blogspot.com/ and an example paragraph. This template I will not have them cut out, but just complete. It will be easier to assess and collect if it is in one piece verses two and taped together sixth grader style!
I'll be available to help, but really want the students to struggle through this task. I'll remind them to use the transition words to help them locate the events. Often, finding the break between events is the hardest part for them.
I'll collect their work once they are finished and use it to determine if reteaching or more practice is necessary.
Chronological order is one of the easiest text structures for the students to master. I want them to think beyond what it is and start to think why it is used? What are the benefits of writing in this structure? When might an author write using this structure?
I'll ask the students to complete a Closure Slip. I can collect this for assessment and use to drive future lessons. Closure slips also really help the students process what they have learned.