Reading Informational Texts: Summarizing a Text about the Rainforest | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M2:U1:L4

Reading Informational Texts: Summarizing a Text about the Rainforest

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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.5.5: 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.
  • W.5.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.5.2a: Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • W.5.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • SL.5.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SL.5.1b: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

Daily Learning Target

  • I can describe the structure of an informational text. (RI.5.5)
  • I can summarize an informational text. (RI.5.2, W.5.2)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer (RI.5.5)
  • Class Summary: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (RI.5.2, W.5.2)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Writer (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Guided Practice: Planning a Summary (25 minutes)

B. Shared Writing: Writing a Summary (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Debrief (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Summarize a new section or chapter from your independent reading book.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • In this lesson, students reread “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” to determine the main idea and describe the structure. Working in pairs, students use a graphic organizer to record their thinking about the structure of the text and plan a summary of it. Students then work as a class to write a shared summary of the text (RI.5.1, RI.5.2, RI.5.4, RI.5.5, W.5.8).
  • In Work Time B, students participate in a modified Rank-Talk-Write protocol to determine the main idea of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (RI.5.2, SL.5.1b).
  • This lesson is designed for students to use an internet source as a text. If the technology necessary for students to complete the reading is unavailable, give students a printed copy of the text.
  • Students practice their fluency in this lesson by following along and reading silently as the teacher reads “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” in Work Time A.
  • The research reading students complete for homework helps to build both their vocabulary and knowledge pertaining to the rainforest. By participating in this volume of reading over a span of time, students will develop a wide base of knowledge about the world and the words that help describe and make sense of it.
  • 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.
  • Continue to use Goals 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Some students may need additional support reading the web page. Consider sending home a printout of the web page for students to spend additional time reading before the lesson.
  • Some students may need additional support writing a summary. They may be able to formulate the summary orally but require help putting it into writing.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students’ Proposition and Support: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizers to ensure that they understand how to determine the main idea of a text and find reasons and evidence that support that idea.
  • Review students’ summaries to ensure that they understand how to summarize informational texts.
  • For ELLs: Collect the Language Dive 1 Practice homework from Lesson 3 for assessment.

Down the road:

  • In Lessons 6–7, students will go through a similar cycle of reading an excerpt from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and analyzing its structure, reading and summarizing a new informational text about the rainforest, and comparing the structure of both texts.

In Advance

  • Predetermine partnerships for Opening A.
  • Prepare technology necessary for each student to read “Rainforests and Why They Are Important”.
  • Review the Rank-Talk-Write protocol. See Classroom Protocols.
  • Post: Learning targets, Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart, and Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Consider that YouTube, social media video sites, and other website links may incorporate inappropriate content via comment banks and ads. Although some lessons include these links as the most efficient means to view content in preparation for the lesson, preview links and/or use a filter service, such as www.safeshare.tv, for viewing these links in the classroom.
  • Work Time 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.
  • Work Time 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.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.B.6, 5.I.C.10, 5.I.A.1, and 5.I.A.3

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to use graphic organizers and to participate in a shared writing experience. This will allow students to use visuals to deepen their understanding of text structure and to become comfortable writing summaries in a supported environment before writing independently.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to keep track of the many different concepts presented in this lesson. Students must grasp six different text structures. They must also apply their understanding of text structures, content, main ideas, and summaries to summarize information from a website. Explicitly delineate each concept while thinking aloud the cognitive processes involved. If students have trouble keeping track of the different text structures, focus on helping them comprehend problem/solution and proposition and support structures in preparation for the mid-unit assessment.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Students who have developed literacy skills in different home languages may have experience with text structures that are uncommon in the United States. For example, the proposition and support structure may be more direct and linear than alternative cultural approaches to writing. Ask students if any of the structures look familiar and if some seem new or unusual. Explain that the structures presented in this unit are common in English informational text, and not that they are more correct than others. Invite students to share any other types of text structures they may know.
  • Buy or ask for large paint chips from a local hardware or paint store, or print them online. Write the words proposition, statement, suggestion, claim, and idea, each one on a different shade of the paint chip. Place them on the wall and discuss the shades of meaning in relation to the proposition and support text structure.

For heavier support:

  • Students may need additional practice with the text structures presented in the unit. When discussing or referring to text structure, briefly review any relevant anchor charts. Guide students in recognizing each structure visually, as this will best support them in their comprehension and retention of the content.
  • Color-code each part of the Proposition and Support Structure graphic organizer. Fill in each box with a different color marker. During Work Time B, use the corresponding colors when writing each sentence of the summary paragraph to reinforce the connection between the information in the graphic organizer and the information in the summary paragraph.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation: Connect the task of summarizing to students’ exposure to the word summary in Lesson 3. Facilitate a discussion that identifies how summary and summarize are similar both structurally and in their meaning. Then, connect this understanding to the learning targets for this lesson so that students understand what they are expected to do.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Some students may need additional support using their graphic organizer to help organize their writing. Build in scaffolds that help students generalize from the graphic organizer to the writing task. (Example: Use color-coding on the graphic organizer that then coordinates to the sentences in their paragraphs.) Additionally, create space on the graphic organizer for check marks so that students can use it as a checklist to self-monitor their work.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement: Students who need additional support with writing may feel disengaged from the learning targets in this lesson. Make the task of writing a summary relevant by connecting it to the content and overall purpose of this unit.

Vocabulary

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

  • summarize, structure, proposition, support (L)
  • common, diversity, though, current, economically, craft, materials, cultural, mirror, cultures, destruction, economic, unfortunately, cycles, regulating, releases, systems, conservation, combating (T)

Materials

  • Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (from Lesson 3; one per student)
  • Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Affix lists (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Device (one per student)
  • “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display; see Teaching Notes)
  • Summary sentences (one to display)
  • Text Structure Resource Page (one per student and one to display)
  • Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer (one per student and one to display)
  • Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Class Summary: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (example, for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Writer (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to retrieve Finding the Gist and Unfamiliar Vocabulary: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” from Lesson 3. Tell them that today they will summarize the website they read in Lesson 3.
  • Move students into predetermined pairs.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart and select a volunteer to read it aloud.
  • Emphasize that a summary includes the most important details from the text and that it takes a different form based on the structure, or organization, of the text.
  • Invite pairs to paraphrase “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” using their gist charts. Allow students to choose to paraphrase orally or by drawing pictures.
  • Circulate to monitor students as they summarize.
  • Refocus whole group and select volunteers to share out.
  • Model how to use the gist chart to create a coherent summary. (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading: Ask students about the relationship between the gist and a summary. Examples:

“What is the gist of a text?” (what it is mostly about)

“How is a summary different?” (A summary tells all of the most important points and gives a short explanation of the text.) (MMR)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

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

“I can describe the structure of an informational text.”

“I can summarize an informational text.”   

  • Underline the word summarize in the second target. Invite students to clap the syllables of the word with you as you say them. Write the syllables on the board: sum-ma-rize.
  • Focus students on the vocabulary strategies listed on the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart and use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

“We have probably seen parts of this word before, so which strategies could we use to determine the meaning of this word?” (student responses may vary, but could include using known affixes or root words)

  • Cover the ‘ize.’ Invite students to tell you in chorus what word part is left (summar).
  • Ask and use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group:

“What familiar word is the word part ‘summar’ like?” (summary)

“What does summary mean?” (the most important details about a text)

  • Point to the suffix –ize and ask students to popcorn out any other words with this suffix (fertilize, criticize, apologize). Record the words on the board.
  • Ask and use a total participation technique to invite responses from the group. Invite students to retrieve their affix lists if they need to:
  • “What do you think –ize means based on how it is used in each of these words?” (to make, to cause to become)
  • Record on a table drawn on the board with "Root" and "Suffix" in the header row. In the "Root" column, write "Summary (the most important details about a text)" and in the "Suffix" column write "-ize (to make, to cause to become)."
  • Invite students to say in their own words what they think summarize means to their elbow partner and cold call students to share with the group (to make or create a summary)
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What does it mean to summarize a text?” (to give a short explanation of something that has been read, viewed, or heard)

  • Tell students that today they will plan and write a summary of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”
  • 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.
  • Invite students to also add the words to their vocabulary logs.
  • Have students give a quick thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or thumbs-sideways to indicate how well they understand today’s learning targets.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support: Check for comprehension. Ask:

“Can you put the first learning target in your own words?” (I can tell about the structure of the reading.)

“How do you feel about that target?” (It might be a little hard, but it is interesting.) (MMR, MME)

  • Facilitate comprehension of new vocabulary by pointing out how summary and summarize are similar. Say:

“Summary is the noun or the product/outcome of the day, and summarize is the verb or the action for today’s lesson.” (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Guided Practice: Planning a Summary (25 minutes)

  • Invite students to use their device to access “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.” Remind them that throughout this unit, they will read informational texts to build expertise about the rainforest and that they read this article for gist in the previous lesson.
  • Direct students’ attention to the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart and tell them that they will now practice planning a summary of an informational text. Tell them that today they will plan a summary of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” and in the next lesson, they will use their plan to write a summary.
  • Tell students they are now going to participate in the Rank-Talk-Write protocol to help them determine the main idea of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”
  • Display the summary sentences and explain that in a moment, students will work with their partner to rank the sentences in order of relevance to the main idea of the text, with 1 being the most relevant, 2 the second most relevant, and so on.
  • Tell students that before they rank the sentences, they will reread with their partner. After they’ve finished rereading the text, they should rank the summary sentences from 1–4.
  • Invite students to begin reading and ranking the sentences.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“How did you rank each sentence? Why did you rank the sentences in that order?” (Summary sentence #3 should be ranked first, and the order of the remaining sentences will vary.)

  • Validate student responses and confirm that the most relevant sentence is summary sentence #3, “There are many reasons rainforests are important,” because it tells the main idea of the whole webpage. Tell students to keep this main idea in mind as they plan their summaries.
  • Remind students that the form of the summary will depend on the structure of the text. Distribute the Text Structure Resource Page and select volunteers to read each type of structure and its description. Point out the pictures in the Graphic Organizer column and remind students that they practiced using the Descriptive graphic organizer during the close read in Lesson 2.
  • Tell students that to plan their summaries, they will first determine the structure of the text they are summarizing and then use the corresponding graphic organizer to determine the big ideas and key details to include.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

“What is the structure of ‘Rainforests and Why They Are Important’? What in the text makes you think so?” (proposition and support; it states a main idea—“Rainforests are important for a whole host of reasons”—and each section gives details or evidence to support that main idea)

  • If productive, cue students to clarify the conversation by confirming what they mean:

“So, do you mean _____?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Explain that proposition is another way to say main idea or claim, and that support is another way to say reasons and evidence. So, a text that follows the proposition and support structure tells a main idea and then has reasons with evidence that support the main idea.
  • Distribute the Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer and select a volunteer to read the headings for each section of the organizer. Clarify the headings as needed.
  • Remind students that they have already determined the main idea for this text. Invite them to write the main idea in the Main Idea/Claim box on their graphic organizers.
  • Point out that there are three boxes for reasons and that the arrows on the left of the graphic organizer connect each reason back to the main idea.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What reasons does the author give that rainforests are important?” (biological diversity, cultural diversity, climate stability)

  • Point out that in this text, each of the reasons has its own heading and section. Invite students to write each reason in the appropriate spot on the graphic organizer. Model on the displayed Proposition and Support Structure graphic organizer as necessary.
  • Remind students that they need to include evidence to support their thinking. Tell them that this evidence can be direct quotes from the text or paraphrased information. Review how to paraphrase as necessary.
  • Using the text, model how to locate evidence that biological diversity in the rainforest is important. Refer to the Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference) as necessary.
    • Model rereading the appropriate section of the text.
    • Paraphrase the evidence that supports this reason.
    • Write the evidence in the appropriate spots on the graphic organizer.
  • 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 work with their partner to complete the remainder of the graphic organizer, finding evidence to support reasons #2 and #3.
  • Circulate to monitor pairs as they reread the text to locate evidence and record their findings on the graphic organizer.
  • Refocus whole group and invite volunteers to share out.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with new vocabulary: Clarify the meaning of the word rank and offer a real-world example. Say: “When we rank something, we put it in order of strongest choice to weakest choice. So if you wanted to rank your favorite food, what would be first? Now we are going to rank the strongest, or most important, summary sentences.” (MMR)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Clarify that the most relevant sentence will be the one that best describes what the whole text is about, not just part of it. After ranking the sentences, review the three that were not chosen and ask students why. Ask:

“Why isn’t sentence #1 the most important?” (It is only about people, and the text talks about other things like animals and plants. The text is not mostly about how rainforests affect peoples’ lives.) (MMR)

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Think aloud while finding evidence to support each reason. Suggest a piece of evidence that is irrelevant and ask students to evaluate it. (Example: “I have an idea to support cultural diversity. Rainforests cover 6 percent of the Earth’s surface. Is that a good idea? Why or why not?”) (MMR)
  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Include lines on the Proposition and Support Structure graphic organizer to make it easier for students to write neatly. (MMR, MME)
  • Consider modifying the graphic organizer to include a section for title, pages, and author so that students can use it as a checklist when they write their summary. (MMR, MMAE)

B. Shared Writing: Writing a Summary (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that they will use their Proposition and Support Structure: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” graphic organizer to write a summary of the text. Once again, remind them that the structure of a text will inform how they write their summary.
  • Redirect students’ attention to the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart. Point out the following bullets:
    • “Introduces the text by stating the title, pages, and author”
    • “Takes a different form based on the structure of the text”
  • Explain that when writing a summary of a text that follows the proposition/support structure, the topic sentence of the paragraph will tell the main idea of the text and the next several sentences will summarize the reasons and evidence the author gives to support that idea. Remind students that they have a sentence that states the main idea already from Rank-Talk-Write earlier in the lesson. Model using summary sentence #3 as the first sentence of the summary, modifying slightly by adding in the title of the text.
  • Invite students to help you continue to write a summary of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” using these criteria. Refer to Class Summary: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Think aloud about adapting the language directly from the graphic organizer to put in the summary. Use the same color-coding from the Proposition and Support graphic organizer to reinforce the connection between the information on the graphic organizer and the information in the paragraph. (MMR, MMAE)
  • For ELLs: While writing the summary, invite students to verbally interpret each sentence in their home language.
  • Model for students and then prompt them to check off each part of the Proposition and Support graphic organizer as they include them in their summary to help support self-monitoring of progress. (MMAE)
  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Consider allowing them to type their summary on a word processor. (MMAE)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Debrief (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to find a new partner and whisper-read the class summary of “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their new partner:

“Based on the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart, is this an effective summary? Why or why not? What evidence in the summary makes you think so?” (Responses will vary, but students should point out specific words and phrases from the summary that meet the criteria outlined on the anchor chart.)

  • 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.)

  • Select volunteers to share with the group.
  • Refocus students on the learning targets and invite them to show a thumbs-up, thumbs-sideways, or thumbs-down to indicate how close they feel they are to meeting each target now. Please be aware that in some cultures, this gesture may have a different meaning, so consider choosing a different way for students to show their learning against the targets or use it as a teaching point to explain what it means in the United States. Scan the responses and make a note of students who may need more support with this moving forward.
  • Repeat, inviting students to self-assess against how well they collaborated in this lesson.
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with memory and comprehension: Briefly review the Criteria for an Effective Summary anchor chart and check for comprehension before beginning the debrief. (MMR)

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Summarize a new section or chapter from your independent reading book.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with reading and writing: Refer to the suggested homework support in Lesson 1. (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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