About a month ago, I asked the kids to evaluate the way we read "TIME for Kids" in the classroom with my lesson Persuade Me..."TIME for Kids" Reading Ideas. My motivation was to given them purpose for writing rather than a regular persuasive writing assignment. Their opinion in how I presented a routine classroom activity was now going to be valued and they would have to write effectively to get their point across. Win-win!
They "voted" through writing persuasive essays. I wrote the results of our persuasive writing on the Smart Board for everyone to see. The results were overwhelming in favor of small groups, but once the essays were read aloud, the majority of students were excited about trying out the "Unique" ways of reading our news magazine.
Of the three "Unique" ideas, this is the first one we're trying. The student wrote that it would be a great idea to break the class into groups of 4-6 students. Each group would be assigned a separate article to read. After they finished, they would compose a group summary to present to the class so everyone would learn about each of the articles.
The students will read their informational text magazine, "TIME for Kids," in groups of four to six students. Each of the groups is assigned to read a different article from the magazine in order to become experts on that article and to compose a group summary they will present to the class. It's an adaptation of the Jigawing strategy in which students read a small portion of text then come back as a large group to discuss it.
A skill associated with this activity includes the comprehension of informational text in a unique way. The kids are accustomed to reading each of the "TIME for Kids" articles, then discussing. With this activity each group concentrates on one specific article. With the responsibility of reporting this information out to others in the form of an essay, they're fully present as they read the text knowing their own knowledge of the concept must be solid. There are many forms in which the groups can present their information. In this case, I want my students to practice the standard RI.5.2 to determine main ideas of the text and support their summaries with key details. I don't give the choice of displaying information in posters, songs, skits, etc. though on another day, any of these would be fine choices. This activity and its purpose is explained to the students. In my classroom, I begin the lesson with a reading of the original persuasive essay that got us to this point.
TIME for Kids is a wonderful resource. It's a weekly dose of informational text in the form of current events the kids can relate to. I want my students to be familiar with such a constructive resource because the combination of informational text and current events is beneficial to them as they navigate through many of the standards. Using the text to write a summary is wonderful practice in the skills of reading comprehension as well as determining main ideas and finding supporting key events within them.
As described in the warm up, for this lesson the students are put into seven groups of four and read their assigned article. Typically, there aren't this many large articles in the TFK News Magazine, but it was a special "Earth Day" edition, which was perfect. The kids found comfortable places in the classroom or outside and settled in to take advantage of the persuasive essay idea that brought them to this unique assignment. Four groups had the large articles, and three groups read the regular format with a few side bar articles on the same page.
After they finished reading, they were tasked with creating a group summary about their article. The groups who had multiple smaller articles selected two of them. One of the groups initiated a notetaker as they read, which I thought was a great idea.
The students have successfully read informational text and written summaries. My objective for this lesson is just that, and they've met my criteria. In addition to their well written summaries, I take pride in watching them work together so successfully with an activity that depends on it. The collaboration of what to include in the summary is key to the success of the lesson, and is also an important life skill.
Now that they're finished writing the group summaries, it's time to share the information with the rest of the class. In addition to reading the summaries, the kids are responsible for answering questions pertaining to their own article which indicates comprehension and completes the task. The speaking and listening skills are very present in this presentation. The kids each are invested in doing a great job with both areas. With this success, it's an idea that I'd like to do again in the future.