I like to spend a sufficient amount of time on each strategy to allow for an introduction, modeling, scaffolding, independent practice, assessment, and reflection. Therefore, I spend approximately one week on each strategy and follow a similar instructional routine. This is day two of Informational Text Features Week – Modeling/Scaffolding.
Connection: I always start by connecting today’s lesson to something kids have previously learned so that it triggers their schema and background knowledge. Since this is the second day they are learning about Informational Text Features, I make a connection to the introduction lesson we did yesterday. I remind students that the strategy we are working on this week is called Informational Text Features. They love to repeat phrases so I ask them to say it with me again. Of course, I want to remind them what Informational Text Features is, which are the features found in non-fiction text that help you learn and locate information quickly. I refer to the Informational Text Features anchor chart from the day before to review the definition.
Teaching Point: This is when I tell kids explicitly what we will be working on. I say, “Today, we are going to identify the text structures that are found in our Meet Michigan Social Studies book. When I want to model a strategy, I copy pages from a book that we’ve already read together in class. This way, they are already familiar with the text and understand the context of the excerpts that I’ve chosen. In this case, I’ve selected six different pages from their textbook that display important text features. I usually staple the excerpts in a small packet that I hand out to each student so they can follow along as I model the strategy. I then use the “To, With, and By” method of instruction to scaffold their learning. With the first example, I read the excerpt TO the class and model the strategy by thinking out loud. I am teaching the strategy TO them. I write down the text feature I’ve identified on the corresponding page in the packet. With the second example, I do the strategy WITH them. They read along with me and then I ask them to share the text features they see. We write down their thoughts on the corresponding page in the packet. With the third example, I want the students to do it BY themselves, which leads us to the active engagement.
Active Engagement: This is where students get to try out the strategy that I just taught them. I ask them to read the third excerpt and try the strategy on their own. Since we are working on Informational Text Features, they should identify ones we haven’t found on the first two pages. They should write their thoughts on the corresponding page in the packet. I give the students a few minutes then call on someone to share.
Link to Ongoing Work: During this portion of the mini-lesson, I give the students a task that they will focus on during Independent Reading time. Now that they’ve practiced Text Features, I tell them that during Independent Reading, their job is to finish the last few excerpts in the packet. I want to give them one last opportunity to practice the strategy with text that I’ve chosen before they apply it to a text of their choice, which will happen the next day. This task is short and sweet so the students know that once it is completed, they read from their browsing box for the remainder of Independent Reading time. At the end of Reader’s Workshop, they will meet with their assigned reading partner to discuss what they wrote in the packet. I remind them that I will randomly choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.
Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to choose new books (if needed), find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 40 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Reading.
Guided Practice: Today, I will be conferencing with students right at their comfy spots and asking them to show me the work they’ve completed in their packet. This is also when I could pull students for assessments, one-on-one reading, strategy groups, or guided reading groups.
At the end of 40 minutes, I remind students that their job during reading time was to complete the last few pages of their Informational Text Features packet. I ask them to repeat the term, Informational Text Features. Then I ask them to meet with their reading partner to share and discuss what they found. Did they identify the same ones? Did they use the correct vocabulary for each feature? Can they explain the purpose and value of each one? After partners have had a chance to share with each other, I ask a few students to share with the class. I then tell the class that we will continue to focus on Informational Text Features for the rest of the week. I tell them to take their packets home to show their parents the strategy we are working on. Reader’s Workshop has come to an end so students put their browsing boxes away and make sure the library is neat and organized.