Students start the day by reviewing text structures we studied before our winter break. I ask them to be able to list our 8 structures and explain how to identify them in texts.
I call on students to provide text structures and call on others to build by asking how they would define the structure. The second question was not on board for the do now, but it allows me to check for full understanding versus a curserory review of the terms. Students are able to list and explain all 8 structures, even recalling my tips for applying them to our texts. Now it is time for our first practice.
I explain that students have a challenge today: with a partner, they will "race" to correctly identify text structure in 8 paragraphs by looking at content and signal words (transitions). I point out that there are 8 paragraphs and 8 structures--it's a one-to-one match. When they believe they have all 8 paragraphs correctly identified and annotated, they should bring their work to me for check in. I will tell them how many are correct on their first trip to me; if they must make several trips, I will progress to marking correct paragraphs to help them narrow the field. Giving only the number correct at first makes them continue to analyze and think rather than simply playing the match game after their first check in, while later marking which paragraphs are correct helps prevent frustration for struggling students.
Students find their partners (we have to be ready to begin as soon as the challenge is open, after all), and I instruct them to open the paragraph analysis. I wait at my desk to check in the first team, calling out a few gentle reminders to keep answers quiet (don't want others stealing answers) and to stay on task and listening in to a few conversations:
When students begin to come to check in, I ask them to form a line and quickly check their work against the key. We check in until I have my first three complete teams (each receiving a small prize of our school "AggieBucks," tender to purchase candy in our office). Then, we come back as a whole class to go over the answers.
With most teams through check in at least once, this discussion is more correction of work than note-taking. I pull the assignment up on my projector so I can annotate as a model. For each paragraph, I ask for a volunteer to identify the structure. I then ask another volunteer to explain how he/she knew what structure was used. Students who did not yet finish the race make corrections as we go so they have accurate responses to use for future study.