Monday, December 3, 2012

Text Structure Magic (and a Freebie)

Don't you love it when everything comes together? I had one of those magical moments today during reading and had to share! Like all of you, I'm working diligently to implement the new Common Core standards, and this week I decided to focus on 4.RL.5:
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
I knew I'd need to start small with this one, so I chose two texts to begin with and made a graphic organizer for my students to use.

We started by simply comparing and contrasting the features and structure of a chapter in our science books about rocks and a short story about a mountain eroding called The Sun, The Wind, and The Rain.
I modeled at first, then allowed students to work with partners and contribute to the organizer. Above is the neat copy I typed up. Trust me, you DON'T want to see my dark, doc camera, chicken scratch on the board version.

Next, I gave everyone a blank organizer and assigned two short texts from this week's basal lessons to read and compare/contrast with their table groups. One was a narrative, and one a newspaper article. After the students worked with table groups, we regrouped so that every person was in a new group and able to share what their group mates had discussed and written on their organizers. (Sorry I forgot to take pics of the kiddos' work). I'll try and add them tomorrow.

What was really great about this lesson was all of the connections we were able to make. We're learning about rocks in science, narrative story structure in writing, and plot structure in reading. At one point, we even reviewed subject/verb agreement as we were adding things to the class chart. Love it! Such a great lesson, using a simple idea.

And here's a little freebie for you: the blank graphic organizer. Just click on the link text below the picture to snag it!

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