Because, Although, After - Each Writing Has a Structure and a Purpose

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SWBAT...identify, classify and evaluate cause/effect, problem/solution, sequential/ chronological order, by comparing and contrasting text structures in nonfiction books and passages.

Big Idea

When we know the purpose of the different text structures we can write in the best format to attract our intended audiences. Understanding the "how" and "why" of other author's writing - helps us to do the same with our writing.

Creating the Purpose

15 minutes

In this lesson I want my students to end with a developed sense of why authors use different text structures for different topics and how these different structures affect different readers. This is a change I've made to the lesson unit to more closely address the Common Core both in my reading and writing lessons. By combining the lessons across academic areas I can teach to all features and structures of text to help them not only become stronger readers (fluency, inflection, comprehension) but also stronger writers (writing for an audience and purpose).

I start on the carpet because I want to review the different text structures and their key words on our class chart before they complete the matching activity. I ask students to name some text structures. At first I got some blank stares because we haven't reviewed them in awhile - this time I got a few answers although they still needed a little prompting. When we are able to list them all, I share that text structures are the different ways that authors organize text similar to what we did in our research writing unit.

Then I present the poster and review theText Structure Posters-full set reg size  (chronological order poster is changed to address this structure and Posing and Answering a Question poster is also added because it comes up in our writing units). I pass out student copies of the reference chart for text structure. I share that on their table groups they have a pile of books with five different text structures and a Text Structure Book Hunt Activity I share that they will skim and scan the books looking for key words and ideas and then complete the worksheet with the correct text structure information .  I model one with a different book so that they can see how to complete the form. I shared that they will use key words referenced on their charts, along with what they already know, or their schema, and decide as a group which belongs to each type of text structure. When they have matched them all they will respond as a group as to why this type of structure was a good fit for the topic of the book. I also have these other Text Structure Definitions Posters which you could use for reference if needed.   



Guiding the Learning

20 minutes

Students are dismissed to begin the Text Structure Book Hunt Activity activity.  Nothing like a little competition to get them thinking! I have a pile of five books on the tables, tags for each of the different text structures and a reference chart for text structure. I share that they can turn over their sections and begin when I give them the signal - 1-2-3 start! Students are released to begin working and instructed to sit down at their table groups when their charts are all completed.

After allowing their great debates and evidence talks to finish, I signal to stop. I ask students to rotate to the next table group to assess their partners' learning. This has the advantage of both giving them a second look at the text structures and also practice identifying misconceptions on worksheets. I first give them time to assess this table's answers because this either validates their choice or makes them second guess it. I then call on random students to agree or disagree with this table's choices and to explain why. My purpose with this part of the lesson is to activate their prior knowledge in a visual and text-based way and to give them exposure to the concepts so I can continue to move them through the learning to the higher level.   


Independent Learning

20 minutes

Next I share that I am going to give them a higher academic reading passage activity to complete with a partner to check for their levels of understanding.

I show them the Sample passages for text structure (Here is a second option for this activity - Text Structure Matching with Examples Passages - using passages in science and history but I have changed the description to answering and posing a question to match our writing lessons) I model with my sample poster paper how they will first identify and glue on the types of text structures ( it would help to draw a box for these so they know where to place them on their sheets of paper), then reading the passages and highlighting the key words, next matching the passage to the correct text structure, last gluing the passage and text structure to the page after all are classified and finally writing in why this is a good format for this passage in the third box. I added some sentence prompts here to help them begin their writing.

I like to make this section hands on because the next part asks them to evaluate independently and many still need practice and discourse to get there. That's where hands on activities come in good to support struggling learners because I see my students talking more when they have something active to do. For this I want them to concenttrate on the "why" section to evaluate the reasons for why the authors wrote in these formats. This helps in the next section when they have to write what the best text structure would be with little help from a text or partner.

Students partner with their elbow partners and begin their tasks. Early finishers can decorate their work with illustrations or become peer tutors for another struggling group.


Closing the Loop

10 minutes

We hang the posters and will review them in the next lesson to build understanding from our discussion on how difficult it can be when authors use more than one structure in their writing.

I then share that they are going to use what they know about text structure to complete a worksheet independently. For this activity they need to think like writers. I have a topic written on the top of the worksheet which they need to read. They then need to decide what would be the best text format to use and why - thinking about both the topic and the audience. I model one and do a think aloud so that they gain an understanding of how to complete the worksheets. 

I take questions while students pass out the Text Structure Formats Worksheets randomly (I have seven different prompts because I want students to work individually on this to assess their levels of understanding) I collect them as students finish them.  Some students may take them home for homework and will use then in the next lesson to continue the text structure learning.