My class has been reading a collection of space-themed fiction and informational text, within our fifth unit. One of the focus standards for this unit is 3.RI.7, using information in illustrations and text features to understand a text. The students have been working on this throughout the year, and are doing very well, so I decided to "kick it up a notch" and make this lesson about critiquing and redesigning a nonfiction text feature. (See Resource File: Text and Text Feature Video)
We begin by playing a game to review what we've worked on in previous lessons about connecting text to a text feature. I call this game "True or false? Give me your evidence!" Students have dry erase boards to record "yes" or "no" to identify if the text and text feature are connected.
I ask the students to read examples from the SMART Board, and see if the text matches the text feature. If they says "yes" on their dry erase board, they have to give me evidence to support the connection. If they say "no" on their dry erase board, they have to tell me what is missing, or why the text and feature are not connected. This requires students to read the text, and strategically compare the text feature. Additionally, if I provide an example that doesn't match, they have to critique, and give an example that would match. (See Resourced Files: Do the text and feature match? Sample 1 and 2)
We review what we know about text features. Text features support the reader to understand informational text. They scaffold ideas in the text by using diagrams, photographs, illustrations, glossaries, indexes, etc.
I tell students that I'm going to show them examples that we need to make better - to support a reader in comprehending the informational text. We are going to be "critiques", much like when an author sends a book to a publishing company for review.
I display an informational page on the SMART Board, using my document camera, and read the text. I look at the text feature, and ask how I can enhance the text feature, or add something new to help scaffold the reader's understanding. I ask students for ideas, as I think out loud. We do a few samples together, and discuss the importance of text and text feature supporting each other. Here is one example, that we scratched out together. (See Resource Files: Before and After)
The students will practice critiquing a page together, then share ideas of enhancements and additions that can be made to text features to help the reader understand in a better way. They use Post-its and collaborate. We share our examples out loud together.
The students get to choose a page in our shared reading text, Floating in Space to redesign so that the reader can have a better understanding of the text. They use Post-its, just like during the time I modeled, and group practice, to create a nonfiction text feature. I move around the room, and help as needed. (See Resource Files: Student Sample 1 and 2)
Below are some additional resources from our shared reading time, that I created to support the standards in our space-themed unit. I hope you find them helpful in your classroom.
Floating in Space Text and Text Features Questions: On this assignment students practice the skills we have been working on, while reading the story Floating in Space. (See Resource File: Floating in Space Text and Text Features Questions)
Hedgie Blasts Off! Questions for Understanding: Similar to the assignment above, but this is based on the fiction text, Hedgie Blasts Off!. We read this the same week as Floating in Space to balance the 50/50 ratio of fiction and informational text. (See Resource File: Hedgie Blasts Off Questions for Understanding)