Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G2:M2:U2:L12

Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2: Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5: Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6: Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
  • SL.2.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • SL.2.1a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • SL.2.1b: Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
  • SL.2.1c: Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can participate in a discussion to reflect on my learning from the unit. (SL.2.1, SL.2.1a, SL.2.1b, SL.2.1c)
  • I can use evidence to answer questions about the text Digging Up the Past. (RI.2.1, RI.2.2, RI.2.4, RI.2.5, RI.2.6)

Ongoing Assessment

  • After Work Time A, collect the Unit 2 Assessment and use the Unit 2 Assessment answer key to mark the responses (see Assessment Overview and Resources).
  • During Work Time B, monitor students' use of discussion norms from the Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart. (SL.2.1, SL.2.1a, SL.2.1b, SL.2.1c)


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text (30 minutes)

B. Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face: What Can We Learn by Studying Fossils? (10 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. End of Unit Reflection (10 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In the Opening, students reflect on habits of character by looking back at their learning and their use of collaboration and responsibility during their learning in Unit 2.
  • This lesson contains the Unit 2 Assessment. Although this lesson is a formal assessment of RI.2.1, RI.2.2, RI.2.4, RI.2.5, and RI.2.6, students should experience the lesson as routine. Do not overemphasize the assessment; instead, use this as an opportunity to continue to gather meaningful data.
  • In Work Time B, students move around and talk with classmates about their ideas on the Unit 2 guiding question: "What can we learn by studying fossils?" This activity provides a culminating reflection for the content knowledge students have built over the unit and allows them time to orally process their understanding of what is learned from fossils.
  • In the Closing, students reflect on what skills they learned as a reader, such as close reading skills, language skills, or specific informational text reading strategies. The Closing should help students become more aware of the skills they have gained that are applicable in later units and modules.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In several previous lessons, students worked to closely read informational articles and answer selected response questions. In this lesson, for the assessment, students complete similar activities with a new article.
  • In this lesson, students revisit the activities in previous lessons in order to reflect on their learning and growth as a student.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • During the assessment, students may need directions or questions repeated several times.
  • For students reading substantially below grade level, consider reading the article aloud before the assessment or in a private location during the independent reading time of the assessment. Invite readers who might have trouble reading the text independently to follow along with their fingers and whisper-read while they listen to the text read aloud. Although not a valid measure of the student's ability to read at grade level, this scaffolded assessment will provide valuable evidence of the student's ability to comprehend complex text read aloud.

Down the road:

  • This unit focused on the understanding that fossils can tell us many things, such as what plants and animals used to live on the earth, how the earth was different and why the earth has changed. Students will use this content knowledge in Unit 3 as they craft a narrative about finding a fossil.

In Advance

  • Prepare and pre-distribute the Unit 2 Assessment (see Assessment Overview and Resources).
  • Prepare white boards and markers for each student. Consider placing them in the whole group area for easy distribution.
  • Create the Unit 2 Activity List chart (see supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning targets, Unit 2 Activity List chart, and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

Consider using an interactive whiteboard or document camera to display lesson materials.

  • Work Time A: Students complete the Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text using word processing software, for example a Google Doc.
  • Work Time A: Students use Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like Dictation.io.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 2.I.A.1, 2.I.B.5, and 2.I.B.6

  • Important points in the lesson itself
  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to demonstrate their content and language knowledge in the process of reading a text, thinking about gist, and completing selected response questions, based on their preparation and practice in previous lessons.
  • ELLs may find the Unit 2 Assessment challenging as it may be a big leap from the heavily scaffolded classroom interaction. Before they begin, encourage students to do their best and congratulate them on the progress they've made learning English. Point out some specific examples.
  • Make sure that ELLs understand the assessment directions. Answer their questions, refraining from supplying answers to the assessment questions themselves. See additional support in the lesson.
  • After the assessment, ask students to discuss which assessment task was easiest and which was most difficult, and why. In future lessons and for homework, focus on the language skills that will help students address these assessment challenges.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): To set themselves up for success for the assessment, students will need to generalize the skills that they learned from the previous sessions. Before administering the assessment, activate their background knowledge by recalling the learning targets from the previous sessions and the narrative writing that they have already completed. Additionally, present the directions for the assessment both visually and verbally. Facilitate comprehension by displaying a visual sequence of the assessment.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): In this lesson, individual students are asked to share ideas with the whole group. As students share out, provide options for expression and communication by utilizing sentence frames. Examples:
    • "I showed responsibility during the close read-aloud when I ____."
    • "I read about _____ in the article, which was new learning."
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Some students may require support with limiting distractions during the assessment (e.g., using sound-canceling headphones or dividers between workspaces). Similarly, some students may require variations in time for the assessment. Consider breaking the assessment into more manageable parts and offering breaks at certain times. During the assessment, provide scaffolds that support executive function skills, self-regulation, and students' abilities to monitor progress before and after the assessment (e.g., visual prompts, reminders checklists, rubrics).


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L): Text-Specific Vocabulary (T): Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)


  • reflect (L)


  • Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Unit 2 Activity List chart (one to display)
  • Equity sticks (class set; one per student)
  • Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text (one per student; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Sticky notes (one per student)
  • Strategies for Answering Selected Response Questions anchor chart (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 2)
  • Unit 2 Assessment, answer key (for teacher reference; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face Protocol anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • White board (one per student)
  • White board markers (one per student)

Materials from Previous Lessons

New Materials


Each unit in the K-2 Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning (10 minutes)

  • Gather students whole group.
  • Direct students' attention to the post learning targets and read the first one aloud:
    • "I can participate in a discussion to reflect on my learning from the unit."
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What does the word reflect mean?" (to think about something deeply and carefully)

"What resource can we use to help us participate in discussions as we reflect?" (Classroom Discussion Norms anchor chart)

  • Share with students that while they have been learning, you have noticed many students showing habits of character. They will now take time to reflect on how they have learned about and used habits of character in the past unit.
  • Direct students' attention to the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart.
  • Invite students to read the definitions of collaboration and responsibility aloud together.
  • Tell students that you made a list of some of the activities students did during this unit and that you would like them to reflect on how they have showed these habits of character during their learning.
  • Display the Unit 2 Activity List chart.
  • Read the first activity on the chart, briefly reminding students about the activity. Say: "This was the book called Fossils that we read and answered questions by looking at the words and text features closely."
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"How did you show responsibility and/or collaboration during your learning in the close read-aloud of Fossils?" (Responses will vary, but may include: collaborating to fill in the Fossilization anchor chart, showing responsibility for showing your thinking and learning in the Paleontologist's notebook.)

  • Use equity sticks to call on a few students to share out.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining activities on the Unit 2 Activity List chart.
  • To minimize discomfort, perceived threats, and distractions during whole group discussions and sharing, alert individual students that they will be the next to share. (MME)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unit 3 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text (30 minutes)

  • Transition students back to their workspaces.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the second one aloud:
    • "I can use evidence to answer questions about the text Digging Up the Past."
  • Remind students that they have been working hard to answer selected response questions after reading an article on their own.
  • Share that today they will have the opportunity to show what they can do by completing these familiar tasks independently with a new text about fossils.
  • Share that, after listening to the text read aloud and thinking about the gist, students will complete two tasks:
  1. Reread the text again to themselves.
  2. Think about the gist of each section.
  3. Answer some selected response questions using information from the article
  • Point out the Unit 2 Assessment: Responding to Questions about an Informational Text already at students' workspaces. Invite students to take an assessment and write their name at the top.
  • Distribute sticky notes. Tell students that, similar to what they did in Lesson 11, they are going to write the gist on their sticky note.
  • Invite students to listen carefully and follow along as you read the text aloud.
  • Display "Digging up the Past," and read it aloud slowly, fluently, with expression, and without interruption.
  • Give students time to record the gist on their sticky note.
  • Invite students to use their sticky note and Think-Pair-Share with an elbow partner:

"What was the gist of the text?" (This text is about how some plants and animals become fossils, how some plants and animals decay and become fossils, and how fossils can be found.)

  • Tell students you will read each section of the text, and after each section, you will have them turn to a partner and share their thinking about the gist of the section.
  • Read sections 1-4 aloud. Pause after each section to give students time to think about what the gist of each section is with a partner.
  • Invite students to reread the article to themselves before answering the questions.
  • After 5 minutes, or when students seem to be finished, refocus whole group.
  • Tell students they are now ready to answer some questions about the text.
  • Direct students' attention to the Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart and briefly review it.
  • Draw students' attention back to the assessment and read the first question aloud.
  • Give students 1-2 minutes to choose an answer.
  • As students work, circulate and reread directions as needed. Support students with answering questions by suggesting a strategy from the anchor chart and walking them through that strategy in steps.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining questions.
  • If students need more time on a question, assure them they can come back to it at the end of the assessment.
  • After 25 minutes, signal students to stop and collect their assessments.
  • Invite students to transition to the whole group meeting area.
  • While standing, invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"What did you read about in that article that you had known?" (Responses will vary.)

"What did you read about in that article that was new?" (erosion, how to find fossils)

  • For students who may need additional support with comprehension or writing: Prepare sticky notes with pre-written words or drawings based on the gist of the article. As students listen, they can match the gist represented on the sticky notes with the text. (MMR, MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Read the assessment text, directions, questions, AND answer options aloud, multiple times. Allow additional time where possible.
  • For ELLs: Ensure that ELLs clearly understand all assessment directions. Rephrase directions for them. Monitor during the assessment to see that students are completing the assessment correctly. Stop students who are on the wrong track and make sure they understand the directions.
  • For ELLs: Invite volunteers to share out the gist of each section of the text, repeating or restating and displaying the gist.

B. Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face: What Can We Learn by Studying Fossils? (10 minutes)

  • Give students specific, positive feedback for working so hard on their assessment. (Example: "I noticed Karmen trying different strategies when he got stuck on a question.")
  • Tell students they are going to use the Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face protocol to reflect on what they can learn from studying fossils. Remind them that they used this protocol in the first half of the unit and review as necessary using the Back-to-Back and Face-to-Face Protocol anchor chart. (Refer to the Classroom Protocols document for the full version of the protocol.)
  • Guide students through the protocol by asking them to discuss the following prompt with several partners:

"What can we learn by studying fossils?" (change has occurred slowly over time, fossils tell us about plants and animals that lived long ago, etc.)

  • Circulate to listen to student responses. Invite students to share more of their thinking with their partner by prompting:

"Can you tell us more about that?"

"Can you give your partner some more details?"

  • Reduce barriers to metacognition as students share by providing a visual reminder of the focus for what they are sharing during the protocol. (Example: Display the question on chart paper or a sentence strip, or offer an index card with the question to individual students: "What can we learn by studying fossils?") (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Consider displaying a word bank to prompt student interaction. Examples: erosion/slow change/lived long ago.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. End of Unit Reflection (10 minutes)

  • Invite students to have a seat in the whole group area.
  • Distribute white boards and white board markers.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and reread the second one aloud:
    • "I can answer questions about key details in the text Digging Up the Past."
  • Tell students that they have learned to do many things as readers in this unit, including answering questions about details in a text. This will be an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned to do as learners and readers so that they can use their skills for the rest of the year.
  • Write on a white board and read it aloud:
    • "I can use a collective noun in a sentence."
  • Share with students that you would like them to write on their white board one to two things they can do after all the learning in Unit 2.
  • Invite students to write their ideas on their white board.
  • Invite students to turn and share their idea(s) with an elbow partner.
  • Circulate to find a few students with different ideas on their boards to stand at the front of the classroom.
  • Invite each student at the front to read aloud his or her idea(s) to the class.
  • Encourage the class to celebrate all of their learning from the unit with a round of applause or a cheer.
  • For students who may be uncomfortable sharing their own thinking with the entire class: Consider allowing them to share what their partner said so that they still have a chance to speak in front of the class. (MME)

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