Good Horse vs. Bad Horse

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SWBAT identify text features and analyze how the author uses them to present information.

Big Idea

Engage in a interesting lesson about text features and horses in nature. I find my class loves to learn about horses!


10 minutes

Common Core Connection

The standard I am focusing on is RI1.5, and, although it does not specifically include captions and subheadings, I think the heart of the standard is about students understanding how to use text features to understand informational texts. The book we are reading contains these features, so students will need to understand them in order to understand the text as a whole. Also, I am extending the learning of this standard up to the second grade standard since it is near the end of the year. Students can learn so much about the author's craft and the structure of a text by analyzing the text features. This standard does fall under craft and structure, so that is the angle I approach teaching it from as well. I want students to understand the underlying purpose behind the text feature and what it adds to the experience of reading a text.

Lesson Overview

The students work with Peanut Butter Jelly Partner and do Transitions often to stay focused throughout the lesson.

The class works together to analyze the first few slides on the Good Horse vs. Bad Horse PowerPoint, and the students work with their partner to analyze the last few. Then the class has a discussion and analyzes the rest of the text.

I selected the text from an article in Equus magazine because my students like horses.  Many of them ride, or their parents work on horse farms. So, studying horses is fun and relates to their interests.  I scaffold the text complexity by reading the text aloud to the class, but the text features are readable by most of my class.

Introductory Activity

I project the PowerPoint on my Smart board and ask my students to talk to their partner about why the author chose this particular text feature and how does it add to the text. Well, I am hoping they will say the title tells us the topic. So, while they are talking I listen closely to assess their understanding, Then I determine how much additional support I need to add to help the students understand the author's craft in relation to text features.

Then I share the lesson plan and we chant the lesson goal, "I can identify and analyze text features." This is about the longest sentence we chant, but this really helps the class understand the focus of the lesson.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

The students will talk to their partner about what the text feature is that I have zoomed in on and then a volunteer will share. We will have a class discussion to agree or disagree about the students thoughts. Then the students will discuss why the author chose the text feature, somebody shares, and we have a class discussion to determine what I should write on the graphic organizer on the board. Next, the students discuss how this adds to the text, somebody shares, and we have a discussion. Then I add the final decision on the board.  

We go through this entire process for about four different text features. I zoom in so the students can only see one. Then they discuss with a partner, somebody shares, and we have a class discussion to determine what I should write on the board. 

The text features I chose are: 

1. the title, slide one

2. the caption, slide 2

3. bold words, slide 3

4. caption, slide 3

Partner Work

20 minutes

So, I have slide four, five, and six for the students to work with a partner (Partner Work) to select three text features to analyze and write their analysis on the chart.  I copied these pages for the students so each child has a copy of the text, but I also need it on the PowerPoint in case we need to reference it.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

The students work on their speaking, listening, and evaluation skills as several groups present their work. This requires a lot for a first grader to analyze another child's work. So, I often have to model an evaluation, and the students begin looking for specific things to comment on. For example, they might look to see if the comment is accurate in reference to the text feature, but they might add a deeper analysis of one of the text features.


5 minutes

At this point I try to use formative assessment to see what my students know. I ask them to write one reason an author might use a text feature. Hopefully somebody will say that they might use it to describe an image or let the reader know what this section of the text is about. Then I comment on their sticky notes as they place them on the Tweet Board.

Last, we chant the lesson goal to reiterate the focus of the lesson. This is another time that the students get practice speaking in a complete sentence.