I begin this lesson by defining a diagram as a drawing used to explain what you are reading and asking students. I show students samples of diagrams that we use everyday: directions for assembling furniture, map of school, parts of a computer with labels, etc.
Then, I show students a movie clip of diagrams and how it is helpful for understanding text (see resource). This movie clip also introduces how parts of the text may match the diagram, as the narrator explains the life cycle of a plant.
Afterwards, I ask students to cite examples of ways that they use diagrams while reading nonfiction text. Citing examples from text of personal experiences to support opinions is a major part of common core lessons. Students learn that they have to cite examples to support their answers while completing this activity.
At this point of the lesson, students have sufficient background information to work collaboratively without much teacher assistance. So, I assign each group of 4-6 students a diagram to study. They are to work together to produce a text of five sentences that explains the diagram. I choose a variety of diagram from science journals, periodicals, websites, etc. (see source).
Students are reminded of group norms, rules, collaboration rubrics, and roles of each member. Once students are working in their groups, I facilitate as needed. Students signal with their color cups when they need me to assist. I allot 15 minutes for students to complete this activity. The timekeeper of each group is responsible for managing time (see resource).
Students have now completed their paragraph that matches their assigned diagram. One speaker from each group share out to the class. The speakers read their paragraph and explain how it accompanies their diagram.
At the conclusion of this activity, students indicate with a show of fingers which part of the rubric they think they are at on the learning progression. First, students self-assess their progression on the text feature rubric, then on the collaboration rubric (see resource). Students who wish to volunteer their reasons for self-assessments discuss their justifications. As noted on the self-assessment video (see source) students often rate their performance with a rubric score of two, explaining that they understand for the most part, but are still learning.