Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Nonfiction Text Features With "Dinosaur Detectives" - Section 2: Reading and Discussion of the Story


If you look carefully at the key shifts in English Language Arts for the Common Core standards, you'll see that the first shift is that students get practice with complex text and their academic language.  When I hone in a little farther on two words, academic language, and keep in mind pg. 33 in Appendix A in the Common Core standards, I found a framework to help me think about teaching vocabulary. It's tier 2 vocabulary that I'm focusing on with my students in this lesson.  Words such as "bony plates, predator, prey, brow horn, talons, and fossils" are all words that apply to the study of dinosaurs, but that are common enough for students to need to know in other contexts.  Students will need to know this vocabulary well in order to access complex nonfiction texts on this subject and probably others.  This is why I need to teach this vocabulary intentionally, so students will be able to retain this knowledge for the future.

The second shift states that reading, writing, and speaking should be grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational.  This is why I always have my students write in response to texts.  I can assess what they know through an authentic piece of writing.  I have students generate and speak their sentences to a partner orally before they write.  This way, every student's writing is a bit different.  We are not filling in sentence frames when we write.  Having students write authentically in a classroom empowers a student with their learning that worksheets just can't.

The third shift in the English Language Arts standards show that students need to build knowledge through content rich nonfiction.  In grades K-5 the balance between nonfiction and literary texts are approximately 50/50. We need to start early and show students how to attack nonfiction texts so they can comprehend and access a huge base of knowledge across various subject areas. 

I know that if I keep these shifts in the forefront of my mind and constantly teach towards these shifts that my students will benefit and will be on the right path towards reaching those college and career readiness standards.

  Teaching Toward the Shifts
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Teaching Toward the Shifts
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Nonfiction Text Features With "Dinosaur Detectives"

Unit 14: Small Group Reading Lessons
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: SWBAT use labels in their own informational texts.

Big Idea: How do we know about dinosaurs when people didn't live during that time period?

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8 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, analysis, narrative
  58 minutes
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