Summary and Context
Today my students are going on a text feature hunt. First, I will be introducing various text features and then they will use their informational text, "My Native Tongue," an article, to find them. A shift with the CCSS is the usage of informational text at the lower grades. Informational text is structured differently and my students benefit from direct instruction on the particular structure. My students also need clear examples of what text features are and how they function.
After their hunt, we will debrief the experience and discuss what was learned.
I start with students on the rug and share the objective. Then, I have a discussion with them about they think text features are. If my students knowledge is limited, I proceed to define the word features for them. I use our face as example to define the word feature. I state how our face has: ears, a nose, two eyes, a mouth, eyebrows, etc. I say, how these are parts that stand out and give us information about our face. They look a certain way. In the same way, text features look a certain way and they give us certain information.
Then, I proceed to introduce the various text features: maps, captions, photographs/illustrations, and different size of print. For each feature, I show a small poster, explain the feature and share that they may or may not find it. Then, I place them on the easel for them to see. There are numerous text feature posters for free on the internet. Here is a sample you may want to use:
I invite you to use the ones you see fit for your classroom.
Then, I explain how they will use their treasure hunt sheet. Again, I invite you to use a sheet that best fits the needs of your classroom. I offer the following as a replacement for the one we used for this lesson. I feel it still meets the task:
I ask them to write the page number of where they find the text features. It will be interesting to note which text features this article has and how many of them.
It's time to hunt for the text features!
I say, “Ok, boys and girls for this treasure hunt you will have 16 minutes to complete this task.” I scan the room and I see nods and I hear, "ok." (I really like that I invested in this type of Timer, I will include a picture of it. It helps me so much to keep on task, because they can see the time decreasing, as the red gets smaller and smaller. I also make sure to give them a 5-minute warning.)
I post the posters on the white board with magnets. “Remember you are only looking for these features. I am walking around to help you."
During this time, I walk around. I redirect those students who are not on task. Some students are going to need help by starting with the easier text features which are the photos and maps. Once they feel successful they can move on to captions and different sizes of print. Other will need reminders of how to color the circles on the treasure hunt sheet.
I tell my students that while each one of them has their own individual sheet, they can help one another and they can have a conversation about the text features they are finding.
The treasure hunt sheet has numerous text features listed and so those who finish early, I say to them, "challenge yourself and find the other text features."
If they finish and have challenged themselves, I ask them to turn their paper over. On the back of it, there is a crossword puzzle. I do this intentionally to help me with classroom management. I don't want students to waiting around and not doing anything or becoming a distraction. These two techniques helps those who are struggling or working slow to catch up. It also allows me to help them.
Here are some example of their work:
Here is a compilation of their work samples:
Now I sit with the students on the rug and have a discussion of what they discovered about text features and what they discovered about the article we will be reading tomorrow.
I review the text features one at a time. As I hold up the poster for each text feature, I ask them to put their thumbs up if they were able to find that particular text feature. This validate their effort.
Next, to prompt them in a discussion I ask,
•What did you discover/notice about text features?
First, I ask them to pair share with their rug partner and then a few share out loud. I make sure to give them plenty of time to share their discoveries since we will be analyzing and working much with informational text.
Afterwards, I take a moment to revisit our objective and I bring closure to the lesson.
I didn't include reading the article in the same lesson because at this time of the year, it is too much for them. My students benefit from chunking.