As teachers, it's important that we know the difference between text features and text structures. When I myself think about text features, I automatically think about nonfiction texts and glossaries, indexes, captions, and labels.
I recently went to a professional development class offered by my literacy coach and she helped me see the difference between text features and text structures a bit more clearly. Text structures refer to how an author actually structures a piece of writing. So when we as teachers teach skills such as main idea and details, cause and effect, and compare and contrast we aren't just teaching these random comprehension skills. We teach these skills so when we actually pick apart a story for deep comprehension we can see which structures the author employed when creating the piece of writing. In more complex pieces of writing, authors may use more than one structure. Different structures can appear in fiction writing and informational texts, too. That's why we need to teach all the comprehension text structures well.
In this lesson we are going to record the cause and effect relationships in the first part of the story on a multi flow map. Then the students will use their multi- flow maps as a tool to answer questions about the first part of the story.
I have the Smartboard Jimmy's Boa or Activboard Jimmy Boa lesson for you to download. You will also want to copy enough student response packets Student Packet Jimmy's Boa for each of your students. Then of course, you will also need the book "The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash." Once you've prepared your materials, you are ready to go!
I like my students to work in different groups and with different partners. Check out these Strategies for Grouping for some tips on how to group your students in fun ways! Before the activity started I gave each student a partner picking card. Students became partners based on which of their cards matched. For example Mickey Mouse partners with Minnie Mouse. Peanut Butter partners with Jelly. After they found their partner I told partners which table to sit at. I like mixing things up because sometimes a small change such at switching a students seat for the course of the lesson helps with a student's engagement. The cards are right here as a resource for you PartnerPickingCards and here is another idea for grouping students sorting sticks.
Once students were partnered up and situated I started with the objective and gave them an overview of what we would be doing that day. I said, "We are going to read the first part of "The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash". We are going to find out why certain events happen in the story. When we do this, we are practicing the skill of cause and effect. When we practice this skill, we can understand the story better. We are going to record our cause and effects on a multi-flow map. Then you will use your multi-flow maps to answer questions about the story. " I passed out the student packets and pulled up my Smartboard lesson. I read the first 5 slides on the Smartboard lesson that explained more about the multi-flow map. Then I started to read.
I read to page 4 in the story. I said, "Something caused the cow to start crying. I want you to take about 30 seconds to talk with your partner about what made the cow start crying." After partners discussed this, we had a class discussion. Then I turned to page 7 on the Smartboard lesson. I said, "We just talked about what caused the cow to start crying. I want you to record that in the cause box on the multi-flow map."
We continued on like this with the next 2 events. I read to page 5. Partners discussed why the haystack fell over. We discussed as a class. I turned to slide 8 on the Smartboard lesson. Then students recorded the cause on their mulit-flow map. Finally, I read to page 9. Partners discussed why the pigs were eating the kids' lunches. Then we discussed as a class. I turned to slide 9 on the Smartboard lesson. Then students recorded the cause on their multi-flow maps. I have a video of my class Describing the Characters.... Multi-Flow Maps Jimmy's Boa discussing in both partner and whole group. This might give you an idea how this might look in your classroom. Now it was time for students to do their independent work.
I taught this lesson in early April. At this time of the year, I am trying to move my students towards independence in as many instances as possible. I wanted to give my students the information they needed but I didn't want to do any "hand holding".
I said, "Now it's time for you to answer some questions about the story. You are going to use your mult-flow map as a tool to help you answer these questions. Let's look at these questions now. Please turn to page 2 on your packet. " I had slide 10 of the Smartboard lesson projected as well. "Question 1 says, Why did the cow start crying? Question 2 says Why did the haystack fall over? Finally, question 3 says, Why were the pigs eating the kids lunches? You shouldn't even have to talk to your partner to answer these questions. Use your multi-flow map as a tool to help you answer these questions. Remember, you also have to restate the question as the first part of your answer and you need to answer these questions in complete sentences. We've been working on this so I will not accept anything that isn't answered in a complete sentence. Does everyone understand what to do? "
As students were answering their questions I walked around the room. If students weren't answering in complete sentences I would have them read what they had written. I would ask them questions such as "Did you restate the question as the first part of your answer? Is what you just read a complete sentence?" I am trying to have students see their own mistakes by asking them questions instead of just saying "You're wrong here, this is how you need to fix it." You can see how my students did by watching the video here Using Our Multi- flow Map... Answer Questions - Jimmy's Boa Day 1.
I hate long closures but I've learned this year that doing a closure is very important. I took a koosh ball and recapped the cause and effects from today's lesson. I asked the first question and tossed the ball to a student so they could answer the question. I kept asking questions and the student who was holding the ball tossed it to another student. I asked:
We had so much fun and it was an easy closure. We do need to work on our hand and eye coordination because we are terrible at throwing and catching the ball!