We receive a "TIME for Kids" subscription in our classroom each week, and it presents tremendous possibilities for taking apart informational text beyond reading the stories for enjoyment. They will practice the standard RI.5.2 as they determine the main ideas of the text and explain how they're supported by key details and RI.5.4 determining the meaning of the academic and domain-specific words in their TFK.
I tell them that today they will have time to read the majority of their "TFK" at their leisure, but first we are working as a class to concentrate on the cover story, "Antarctica Adventure." I give the instruction to independently read and then analyze the article's meaning. Often, we read as a group or in partners, and today the students really want to work on this activity in pairs, but I assure them nothing will change my mind. One of my personal objectives is to observe their individual effort.
Before passing out the "TFK"s or the News Story Analysis Worksheet, I put the second page onto the Smart Board (Clarifying terms before beginning). Page one is familiar in terms and format, but there's some challenging vocabulary on page two. For instance, active voice needs to be explained, as well as unbiased reporting. Another question they have is in #8 about the credibility of a story. Once we, as a class, review and clarify the terms, I pass out the magazines and analysis sheets, and they're on their own.
Everyone has the "TIME for Kids" and the News Story Analysis Worksheet and are ready to go. Sometimes I hold the worksheet back until they finished the reading. I want them to read through first without trying to analyze at the same time (Reading "Antarctica Adventure"). I point this out as I tell them they will have the analysis sheet earlier than usual. With this particular assignment, if they don't have it in hand, it is disruptive. There is a lot of concentration necessary with this analysis worksheet and I don't want unncessary interruptions from the other kids (Searching for Information). I tell them they will absolutely NOT begin writing until a sufficient amount of time for reading has taken place. As I monitor the kids and see them finish article, I let them know they can get started with the writing.
After they begin their analysis phase, I monitor and ask questions to help them go a little deeper with their writing (Effectiveness of Headline).
As the first group of students, usually my higher readers, complete the reading and writing analysis of Antarctic Adventure, I tell them to put the Newspaper analysis aside and to read the rest of the "TIME for Kids" for enjoyment. There isn't an assignment attached to this part of the reading, just independent browsing of their news magazine. Additionally, if there is still time remaining I encourage them to write, illustrate, or express understanding of one of the other articles they've read. It's a good to present them with ideas so they aren't idle.
When the other kids are also finished, (News Story Analysis Student Example) we discuss the article and newspaper analysis sheets. Not a lot of kids care if they share these answers from the activity, but a few are always ready to be center stage (Student shares his findings) and I can direct the discussion around those volunteers.