Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
This lesson is a continuation of the previous lesson: Introduction To Informative Texts. It is important to review students work to make sure they have an understanding of the concepts taught. Today we will begin the lesson by reviewing the work that was started in the previous lesson that focused on the major informative text features. Students were to read the article titled Th End Of America's Car Culture (first page) and see how the writer used the informative text features to craft the piece. This was to be completed for homework and we will review that homework as part of the beginning of today's lesson.
I open the article on the Smartboard, along with the Informative Texts Powerpoint that includes the notes. We focused on one aspect of the Powerpoint: Let's See This In Action.
I go through each bullet point and show students my own answers on the Smartboard. My answers are typed as The End Of America’s Car Culture Answers. I show students my answers as a way to revise their own. This helps them to see answers for a topic they have not have much experience working with. As I read each answer, I tell students to look at their own answers and revise their own as needed. I also ask for volunteers to share their own homework. This helps us to come to an agreement as a close so we are on the same page. I also refer back to the article so students can see exactly where the answers lie.
As these were read and discussed, I had students make any needed changes to their work that was completed in their notebooks. We not only discuss the use of these features, but also the function.
Most of the conversation focuses on the use of the graphics. We compare the two major images and try to come up with a statement about the differences and how they relate to the article. We do this as a class. The conversation revolves around these two questions:
We use the graphics as evidence to make a statement the writer is saying that there is a difference between teens from previous generations and today. Students are very visual and the graphics are something easy for them to latch on to. By doing so, we can begin our foray into informative text. We start with something they are comfortable with and eventually work deeper to scaffold their thinking as we get into higher order concepts, such as tone, organization, purpose, as the unit progresses.
Now that students have a general understanding of the main features of informative texts, the next step is to focus on a specific area. In this case, we review the organizational structures. Students need to be aware of these as they will be writing them for their project, but also as they further analyze informative texts.
We review the one slide title "Organizational Structures." from the Informative/Explanatory Texts Powerpoint. This is a straightforward slide and I explain what each organization structure means as I read each one. The organization structures listed are:
After I define each one for the students, I ask for their thoughts about each. Students give further definitions and example. Students have done research already for their project, so they have begun to see some of these structures in action and have noticed them. Students volunteer examples of how the sources they have used have incorporated some of these techniques. We break down each structure by defining it and discussing its application as it relates to the project so students can understand these features in context of the writing they will be doing.
Application helps students see concepts in action, which helps them internalize it even more. The rest of the lesson, and this will continue for homework, has students working in groups to review the organizational structures and find them in the article The End Of America's Car Culture (this is only the first page).
I ask students to reread the article. As they get to each paragraph, they discuss, with their partners, which features are in that paragraph. These partners are students sitting next to them. I don't tell students where each one is so they can start to take ownership of finding them on their own. Students work in pairs to analyze each paragraph and determine what type of organizational structure the author uses in that paragraph. They take notes on this in either their notebooks or their own devices. The write down the paragraph number and which organization structure it is and why. The next day, we will review these as a class.
As students are working on this, I circulate around the classroom to assist students as needed. If certain students struggle, I can differentiate instruction by modeling this for them. I will work through a certain paragraph with them. I start by reading one paragraph out loud and modeling my thinking of which organizational structure it could be. We work on the next paragraph together. Then, I have students work on the third paragraph independently. By this time, those students that were struggling earlier, have begun to do this work on their own. For higher level students, I ask them to think about what purpose or effect this has on the writing. They can identify they structures rather easily, but I ask them them to deepen their thinking to look at that one paragraph as it relates to the piece as whole.
Here is an example of a student's work on the Organizational Structures Car Culture Student Example and an Explanation of that student work.