Reading Informational Texts: Describing Text Structure | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M2:U1:L2

Reading Informational Texts: Describing Text Structure

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.5.2: Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
  • RI.5.4: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
  • RI.5.5: Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
  • RI.5.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • W.5.9b: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point[s]"").

Daily Learning Target

  • I can describe the structure of a text. (RI.5.5)
  • I can analyze a summary and explain how it is effective. (RI.5.2)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer (RI.5.5)
  • Participation in analysis of model summary (RI.5.2)
  • Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light” (RI.5.4, L.5.4)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Describing Text Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 (20 minutes)

B. Analyzing a Model Summary (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Reading for Gist: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 11–26 (20 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 1 homework.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students are introduced to text structure through rereading an excerpt from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. They use a graphic organizer to describe the structure of the excerpt and use a model summary of this excerpt to build on their understanding of effective summaries. Students also read a new section from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World for gist, in preparation for a close reading of an excerpt from this section in the next lesson (RI.5.2, RI.5.4, RI.5.5, RI.5.10, W.5.9b).
  • In Closing and Assessment A, refer to the Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light (answers, for teacher reference; see supporting materials). Words students are likely to be unfamiliar with have been included in the Unfamiliar Vocabulary column, with accompanying definitions provided in the Meaning column; however, these words may vary based on students.
  • Students practice their fluency in this lesson by following along and reading silently as the teacher reads The Most Beautiful Roof in the World in Work Time A and by reading this text with a partner in Work Time A and Closing and Assessment A.
  • The research reading that students complete for homework helps build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to the rainforest, specifically rainforest species and research. By participating in this volume of reading over time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it. Inviting students to share what they have been learning through independent reading holds them accountable.
  • In this lesson, the habit of character focus is working to become an effective learner. The characteristic students are reminded of specifically is collaboration, as they work in pairs to compare the graphic organizer.

How it builds on previous work:

  • Students previewed The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and began to build background knowledge about the rainforest in Lesson 1.
  • This lesson builds on students’ understanding of effective summaries from Module 1. In Module 1, students focused on writing about the main idea and details in their summaries. Throughout this unit, students build on that skill by learning how the structure of the text influences the way a summary is written.
  • Continue to use Goals 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students’ Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer to ensure that they understand how to determine the problem described in a text and find solutions for the problem.

Down the road:

  • Students will continue reading informational texts about the rainforest, analyzing the structure and summarizing these texts. They will use their analyses of the structures to compare the structure of one text to another.
  • Students will closely read excerpts of “Out of the Shadow and into the Light” from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World in Lessons 3 and 6.
  • In Work Time B, students analyze a summary of pages 9–10 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, thinking about what makes it an effective summary. They use this analysis as they practice writing summaries of informational texts throughout the first half of the unit.

In Advance

  • Prepare the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart (see supporting materials).
  • Post: Learning targets, Comparing Text Structures anchor chart, Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart, Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart, and Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A and Closing and Assessment A: Students complete their graphic organizers in a word processing document, for example a Google Doc using Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like Dragon Dictation.
  • Closing and Assessment A: For students who will benefit from hearing the text read aloud multiple times, consider using a text-to-speech tool like Natural Reader, SpeakIt! for Google Chrome, or the Safari reader. Note that to use a web-based text-to-speech tool like SpeakIt! or Safari reader, you will need to create an online doc, such as a Google Doc, containing the text.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.B.6, 5.I.B.8, 5.I.C.11, and 5.II.A.1

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to consider passages of text more than once to more thoroughly comprehend content and structure.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to jump back and forth between the skills of summarizing and analyzing text structure. Make the distinction between these two learning targets clear by regularly checking for comprehension by cold calling students and asking them to put summary and problem/solution structure in their own words.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Work Time A, consider inviting students to work as the expert in home language groups with students who need heavier support. The expert can use their home language to explain text structure and the Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 Graphic Organizer, and then transition to English.
  • For Closing and Assessment A, invite students to prepare sticky notes with prewritten words or drawings based on the gist of the text. As students who need heavier support listen to the story, they can match the gist represented on the sticky notes with each part of the read-aloud.

For heavier support:

  • Consider both previewing and reviewing the anchor charts before and after each Work Time session. Framing each session with the skills students will use to process the content, such as summarizing and text structure, may allow them to more easily contextualize the information.
  • Provide extra time for students to reread and add new words to their vocabulary logs.
  • For Work Time A, create prewritten sticky notes with problems and solutions. As a class, invite students to place the sticky notes in the correct place on the Problem and Solution Structure graphic organizer. (Example: A sticky note that says “new technology” would go in the solutions box.)
  • During the reading for gist, distribute a partially filled-in copy of the Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 Graphic Organizer. This provides students with models for the kind of information they should enter, while relieving the volume of writing required

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation: Facilitate comprehension of what a summary is and how to summarize by breaking the word summary into a less complex word like sum. Relate it to math and the meaning of a sum. This will help students generalize vocabulary across subjects. Furthermore, provide simplistic examples of summary by relating it to their everyday lives. Have students practice as you introduce the lesson so that they can build on this understanding throughout the lesson.
  • Multiples Means of Action and Expression: The learning targets for this lesson include being able to describe the structure of a text and to identify the gist. Provide students with prewritten sticky notes to help them complete the Problem and Solution Structure and Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary graphic organizers. This ensures that students who may need additional support with writing or fine motor skills will be able to engage in the learning task rather than getting stuck at the writing phase.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement: Whenever possible, provide students choice for demonstrating their learning (e.g., multiple versions of graphic organizers with various scaffolds such as writing lines so that students can select the graphic organizer that best suits their needs). Consider offering choice in how students complete the graphic organizer (e.g., using sticky notes or completing it on the computer using a word processor).

Vocabulary

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

  • structure, summary (L)
  • rainforest canopy, occasional, occurs, obstacles, however (T)

Materials

  • The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (from Lesson 1; one per student and one for display)
  • Comparing Text Structures anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer (one per student and one to display)
  • Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Summary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 (one per student and one to display)
  • Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light”
  • Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light” (answers, for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students’ attention to the posted learning targets and select volunteers to read them aloud:

“I can describe the structure of a text.”

“I can analyze a summary and explain how it is effective.”

  • Circle the word structure in the first target. Tell students that they may not be familiar with the meaning of this word yet, but they will be by the end of the lesson.
  • Circle the word summary and explain that a summary is a short explanation of something that has been read, viewed, or heard.
  • Add any new academic vocabulary to the permanent Academic Word Wall (from Module 1). Invite students to write the home-language translations of academic or domain-specific words in a different color on the Word Wall next to the target vocabulary.
  • For ELLs and students who may need support with comprehension: Point out the word sum within the word summary. Ask:

“What is the meaning of the math word sum?” (a set of values added together)

“How do the words sum and summary mean similar things?” (When we write a summary, we put everything we read or heard together into a short explanation, just like adding things together.) (MMR)

  • For ELLs and students who may need support with comprehension: Illustrate the concept of a summary by speaking in detail about an event, such as cooking dinner or watching a soccer game. Then invite students to give a summary of what was described. Provide an example if needed. (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Describing Text Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 (20 minutes)

  • Invite students to take out their copy of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and remind them that they read excerpts from the first section of this text in the previous lesson. Tell students they will be working with this text throughout the module to learn more about the rainforest and what scientists do there.
  • Display pages 9–10. Invite students to read along silently in their heads as you read page 9 aloud.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What words and phrases does the author use to describe the rainforest canopy?” (“brilliantly lit,” “noisy with bird life and the chatterings of monkeys,” “the ‘powerhouse’ of the rainforest,” “where rainforest life begins”)

“Ascending means to climb or rise. In your own words, tell an elbow partner what this sentence helps you to understand about the rainforest canopy: ‘For a human being, ascending to the canopy is not easy.’” (It’s difficult for people to climb to the canopy.)

“The author writes, ‘Yet for years it remained out of reach.’ Why was the canopy out of reach? What words in the text make you think so?” (The canopy is very high up in the rainforest and was hard for scientists to get to, and there were many obstacles in the way; “… ascending the canopy is not easy,” “There is so much to conquer: gravity, stinging ants, rotten trunks, and thorns,” “For years rainforest scientists stood in the deep shadows on the forest floor, looking up …”)

  • Invite students to whisper-read page 10 with an elbow partner.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“On page 9, the author wrote that for years scientists were not able to climb into the canopy. Why are scientists now able to work in the canopy?” (Better technology has been developed.)

“What words and phrases does the author use to describe the scientists who study the canopy?” (strong, fearless, physically fit, smart, hard-working, skillful, pioneers)

“What is the main idea of page 9? What is the main idea of page 10?” (Page 9: The canopy is important but hard to explore; Page 10: Scientists are now able to study the canopy but must be strong, smart, and hard-working to do so.)

“How does the information on page 10 connect to the information on page 9?” (On page 9, the author described why studying the canopy is difficult, and on page 10 the author explained how scientists solved this problem.)

  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by saying more, and to listen carefully and seek to understand:

“Can you say more about that?” (Responses will vary.)

“Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Direct students’ attention to the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart. Select a volunteer to read the sentence at the top:
    • “Text structure is how information or ideas are organized in a text.”
  • Tell students that understanding a text’s structure can help a reader understand the purpose of the text and how parts of a text relate to each other. Point out this bullet on the anchor chart. Remind students that as they reread pages 9–10, they thought about how the paragraphs related to each other.
  • Select volunteers to read the bullets at the bottom of the chart under Types of Text Structures.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What is the structure of this excerpt? How is the information organized?” (problem/solution; it tells about the problem of studying the canopy and gives one or more ways scientists have solved this problem)

  • Display and distribute the Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer. Tell students that throughout this unit, they will use various graphic organizers to help them analyze the structure of texts.
  • Tell students that with this organizer, created for texts that follow a problem/solution text structure, they will write the problem in the top box and solutions to the problem in the bottom box. Invite students to write the problem in the top box (the rainforest canopy is difficult to study). Refer to the Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart and remind them specifically of the collaboration criteria. Remind students that because they will be working together in pairs, they need to be conscious of working effectively with others.
  • Invite students to take their graphic organizer and move to sit with a partner.
  • Invite pairs to begin working to complete the solution box on their graphic organizer. Explain that in this box, they should write ways scientists have solved or overcome the problem, according to the text.
  • Circulate to support students as they work.
  • Refocus whole group and select volunteers to share solutions they recorded with the group.
  • For ELLs: Describing text structure can be cognitively and linguistically demanding. To ease the linguistic demands, invite students to form home language groups to first discuss the text structure and Problem and Solution Structure: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 Graphic Organizer. Students who do not have a home language in common can be given additional time to think or write a reflection in their home language. Given the initial time to reflect and discuss in their home language, students can then discuss in English.
  • For ELLs and students who may need support with comprehension: Create a word web on the board to visually represent the ways in which the rainforest canopy is described. Draw quick illustrations to represent each description or invite students to do so. (Example: Next to “noisy with bird life,” draw a small bird chirping.) (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need support with comprehension: Consider introducing the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart and the Problem and Solution Structure graphic organizer before reading the text excerpt. Complete part of the graphic organizer as a class while reading pages 9–10. Students will be more prepared to focus their attention on relevant information and to complete the graphic organizer independently. (MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Include lines in the problem and solution boxes to make it easier for students to write neatly. (MMR, MME)

B. Analyzing a Model Summary (15 minutes)

  • Tell students that now they will see a summary of pages 9-10 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and think about what makes the summary effective.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

“What were the main ideas of pages 9–10 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World?” (The canopy is important but hard to explore. Scientists are now able to study the canopy but must be strong, smart, and hard-working to do so.)

“What details did you hear to support the main idea?” (There are many natural obstacles, like stinging ants, rotten trunks, and thorns; scientists have developed new technology to overcome the obstacles.)

“How might you paraphrase these pages?” (Responses will vary, but may include ideas like “The rainforest canopy is important, but there are many natural obstacles in exploring it. Scientists have developed new technology to overcome the obstacles.”)

  • Display and distribute Summary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 9–10 and explain that this is a summary of the pages they read earlier in the lesson.
  • Invite students to read the summary silently in their heads as you read it aloud for the whole group.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

“Consider what you read when you analyzed the structure of this passage with the information in the summary. What do you notice about the summary?” (Responses will vary, but may include: The summary is short and concise, or the summary tells the author’s main idea(s).)

  • If productive, cue students to listen carefully and seek to understand:

“Who can tell us what your classmate said in your own words?” (Responses will vary.)

  • As students share out, connect their responses to the characteristics on the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart. Focus students on the way the problem and solution structure of the text forms the basis of the summary.
  • Ask students to Think-Pair-Share:

“How is this summary similar to the summaries from Module 1? How is it different?” (Responses will vary but may include: Like the summaries in Module 1, this summary is short and tells the author’s main ideas. This summary is different because it tells about the problem described in the text and gives some solutions.)

  • For ELLs and students who may need support with new vocabulary: Encourage students to look up any unfamiliar words from the summary in their vocabulary logs or dictionaries. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need support with receptive language: Rephrase and clarify the question “What do you notice about the summary?” to help elicit successful responses. Examples:

“Did the summary have a lot of detail?”

“How long did it take to read the summary, compared with pages 9 and 10?” (MMR)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading for Gist: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, Pages 11–26 (20 minutes)

  • Explain that now students will read a new section from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World for the gist. In later lessons, they will reread excerpts from this section more closely, thinking about the main ideas and the structure of the excerpts.
  • Invite students to turn to page 11 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. Read pages 11-26 aloud for students without stopping, as they read along silently in their heads.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What is the text about?”(Responses may vary, but could include that it is about Meg climbing up into the canopy and what she sees there.)

  • Post and review the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart.
  • Tell students that the text is challenging and may have unfamiliar words. Reassure them that just like when they read other texts this year, they are not expected to understand it fully the first time. Remind them that one key to being a strong reader of difficult text is being willing to struggle.
  • Distribute and display Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light.” Tell students that they can draw or write in the Gist column. These are just notes to help them remember what each excerpt is mostly about.
  • Display pages 11–12 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. Invite students to follow along, chorally reading with you, as you read page 12 aloud.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What is the gist of this part of the text? What is it mostly about?” (It’s describing Blue Creek, a rainforest in Central America.)

“Are there any words whose meaning you don’t know? What are they?” (Responses will vary.)

“Choose a word you are unsure about the meaning of. Which strategy would be most effective in determining the meaning of that word?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Repeat this process as you read the remainder of the section (pages 13–26). Refer to the Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: “Out of the Shadow and into the Light” (answers, for teacher reference) as necessary. Add any new words to the academic word wall and domain-specific word wall and invite students to add translations in native languages.
  • For ELLs: Pair students with a partner who has more advanced or native language proficiency. The partner with greater language proficiency can serve as a model in the pair, helping to interpret the story and determine gist.
  • Provide differentiated mentors by purposefully preselecting student partnerships. Consider meeting with the mentors in advance to encourage them to share their thought processes with their partner. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs and students who may need support with memory: Review the meaning of gist. Remind students that their goal is to understand what the story is mostly about and that it is okay if there are parts they don’t quite understand yet. (MMR)
  • Focus students on the learning targets. Read each one aloud, pausing after each to use a checking for understanding protocol for students to reflect on their comfort level with or show how close they are to meeting each target. Make note of students who may need additional support with each of the learning targets moving forward.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Vocabulary. Follow the directions in your Unit 1 homework.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt to respond to in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (For all homework assignments in this unit, read the prompts aloud. Students can discuss and respond to prompts orally, either with you, a partner, family member, or student from Grades 4 or 6, or record an audio response. If students have trouble writing sentences, they can begin by writing words. Consider providing a sentence starter or inviting students who need lighter support to provide sentence starters.) (MMAE, MMR)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. 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.

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