Reading Informational Texts: Comparing Texts about the Rainforest | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M2:U1:L5

Reading Informational Texts: Comparing Texts about the Rainforest

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from 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.5.7: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • W.5.7: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • 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.
  • L.5.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Daily Learning Target

  • I can compare the overall structure of two texts about the rainforest. (RI.5.5)
  • I can make inferences about a text and cite evidence from the text to support my inferences, locating answers quickly and efficiently. (RI.5.7, W.5.7, W.5.8)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer (RI.5.5)
  • Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher (RI.5.7, W.5.7, W.5.8)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Comparing Informational Text Structures (20 minutes)

B. Guided Practice: Rereading to Answer Research Questions (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Interactive Word Wall (10 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 compare the text structures from pages 11–12 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.” Students then reread “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” to answer a research question: Why do scientists study the rainforest? (RI.5.1, RI.5.5, RI.5.7, W.5.7, W.5.8).

  • In Closing and Assessment, students participate in the Interactive Word Wall protocol to better understand some of the domain-specific words from the module so far (RI.5.4, L.5.4).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students’ Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizers to ensure that they understand comparing how the information was presented in both texts; check in with students as necessary in Lesson 6 when they compare the structure of two new texts.

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 the second half of Unit 1, students will use similar research note-catchers to gather research answering a Science Talk question and a research question.

In Advance

  • Predetermine pairs for the Closing and Assessment.

  • Review the Interactive Word Wall protocol. See Classroom Protocols.

  • Post: Learning targets, Rainforest Experiences anchor chart, and Comparing Text Structures anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Times A and B: Students complete their note-catchers and 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.

  • Work Time B: Prepare technology necessary to read “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”

  • 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.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.B.5, 5.I.B.6, 5.I.B.7, 5.I.C.10, and 5.I.B.8

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to use graphic organizers and participate in guided practice using evidence to make inferences. This will allow students to use visuals to deepen their understanding of text structure and to become comfortable taking notes and citing source material in a supported environment before doing so independently.

  • ELLs may continue to find it challenging to understand the difference between a text’s structure and its content. Clarify for students that the goal is to compare the text’s structure, or how the information is organized, and not its content, the information in the texts.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Closing and Assessment, invite students to join you in self-monitoring and correcting their language errors. Suggest that they ask themselves “Did that sound right? Did my classmate’s face show understanding or confusion? Did I use the appropriate verb tense?” They may wish to keep a log of their errors and select one to correct over time until they are confident using that particular feature correctly.

For heavier support:

  • ELLs may need additional support understanding the concept of author’s purpose in preparation for comparing text structures. Clarify the concept and discuss different reasons for writing a text. Example: Ask the class to think of different things they have written. Ask them why they wrote each piece (to entertain, to describe, to persuade). Explain that all authors have a reason to write, depending on what they want their audience to think or feel.

  • Academic vocabulary may need to be revisited several times throughout the unit. Allow students to record any challenging words in their vocabulary logs.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation: Students will need to build on their understanding of text structure by comparing across texts. Comparison is a comprehension skill, and some students may need additional support. Help facilitate their understanding of comparison by using simplistic examples to practice making comparisons. Use everyday objects or people that they are familiar with (see Meeting Students’ Needs).

  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Several barriers to learning can potentially arise during Work Time when completing the Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer. Allow students to complete the graphic organizer in different ways. (Example: Instead of free writing, allow students to fill in the blanks with provided prompts or choose from words provided in a word bank.)

  • Multiple Means of Engagement: Offer a variety of formats with the graphic organizer to help students focus on the learning target. Let students choose the format that works best for their learning. This will help them build self-monitoring skills.

Vocabulary

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

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

Materials

  • Rainforest Experiences anchor chart (begun in Lesson 1)
  • Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer (one per student and one to display)
  • Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Comparing Text Structures anchor chart (begun in Lesson 2; added to in advance; see supporting materials)
  • Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher (one per student and one to display)
  • Device (one per student)
  • “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display; see Teaching Notes)
  • Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher (example, for teacher reference)
  • Domain-Specific Word Wall (from Lesson 3; see Teaching Notes)
  • Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
  • The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (from Lesson 1; one per student)
  • Large index cards (one per pair)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

“After reading sections from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World and ‘Rainforests and Why They Are Important,’ what have you learned about the rainforest?” (Responses will vary, but may include: Rainforests are culturally diverse; rainforests have many kinds of plants and animals.)

  • As students share out, capture patterns in their responses on the Rainforest Experiences anchor chart.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with expressive language: Provide sentence frames to bolster their participation. Examples:

    • “After reading _______, I learned that rainforests _________.”
    • “I learned that rainforests are important because _______.” (MMR, MMAE)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

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

“I can compare the overall structure of two texts about the rainforest.”

“I can make inferences about a text and cite evidence from the text to support my inferences, locating answers quickly and efficiently.”

  • Underline the word compare in the first target.

  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What does it mean to compare?” (to tell what is similar and what is different between two things)

  • Tell students that today they will compare the structure of two texts, or tell what is similar and what is different about the structure of two texts.

  • Point to the second target and tell students that they will then reread an article to answer a research question and find information to answer that question quickly.

  • 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.

  • 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 with new vocabulary: Circle the word cite. Ask:

“The word cite is different from sight, which means seeing, and site, which is a place. What does it mean to cite evidence?” (to share the text where you found proof of your ideas)

“If you wanted to convince me that the rainforest has diverse wildlife, what evidence would you cite? What text would you cite?” (I would cite _________.) (MMR)

  • Provide a simple example of comparing two objects all students are familiar with (e.g. dog/cat, pencil/marker, two teachers in the building, etc.). (MMR)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Comparing Informational Text Structures (20 minutes)

  • Tell students that throughout this unit, they will compare the structure of texts they have read. Explain that now they will compare the text structures on pages 11–12 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World to those found in “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”

  • Distribute and display the Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer.

  • Tell students they will use this organizer to help them compare the structure of these two texts. Select a volunteer to read the directions and questions at the top of the graphic organizer. If necessary, briefly review how to use a Venn diagram to compare two things. Throughout the remainder of the lesson, refer to the Comparing Text Structures I graphic organizer (answers, for teacher reference) as necessary.

  • Direct students’ attention to the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart and remind them that text structure is how information or ideas are organized in a text.

  • Point out the new bullet on the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart:

    • “Comparing a text’s structure to another text’s structure can help a reader understand the events, ideas, concepts, or information presented in both texts.”
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What is the structure of pages 11–12 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World?” (descriptive)

“What is the structure of ‘Rainforests and Why They Are Important’?” (proposition and support)

  • Invite students to write the structure each text in the appropriate spot on the graphic organizer. Model on the displayed version as necessary.

  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“What is the purpose of pages 11–12 of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World? How do you know?” (to describe Blue Creek; the author describes the plants and animals in the rainforest)

“What is the purpose of ‘Rainforests and Why They Are Important’? How do you know?” (to explain why the rainforest is important; the author explains the importance of biological and cultural diversity in the rainforest and the importance of the climate stability the rainforest provides)

  • Point out that along with the structure, the purpose of each text is different. Invite students to write the purpose and how they know for each text in the appropriate spot on the graphic organizer.

  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

“How is the information provided in the two texts the same?” (Both texts describe the biodiversity of the rainforest.)

“How did the author give information about biodiversity in the excerpt from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World?” (The author described specific plants and animals in one rainforest.)

“How did the author give information about biodiversity in ‘Rainforests and Why They Are Important’?” (The author explained the diversity of plants and animals in broader terms.)

“How did the structure influence the information presented about biodiversity in each text?” (In the excerpt from The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, the author wanted to describe Blue Creek and did so by describing the plants and animals found there. In “Rainforests and Why They Are Important,” the author wanted to give reasons and evidence explaining the importance of the rainforest and did so by talking generally about the variety of plants and animals in the rainforest.)

  • If productive, cue students to expand the conversation by giving an example, and to listen carefully:

“Can you give an example?” (Responses will vary.)

“Who can repeat what your classmate said?” (Responses will vary.)

  • Point out that even though both texts are about the rainforest and talk about the biodiversity there, the specific information given is different because the author’s purpose is different.

  • Tell students they will have a chance to compare other texts about the rainforest later in the unit.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: To provide a visual reminder of the structures they are comparing, invite students to sketch the visual map representing each text structure next to the names of the structures on the Comparing Text Structures anchor chart. (MMAE)

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Provide alternative graphic organizers with prompts under each category. Example:

    • 1. The purpose for the text is ________.

I know because ______.

  • Consider providing a word bank for students to select from to fill in the blanks. (MMAE)

B. Guided Practice: Rereading to Answer Research Questions (20 minutes)

  • Remind students of the research question:

    • “Why do scientists study the rainforest?”
  • Distribute and display the Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher.

  • Read each column’s heading and explain what they should record in each column:

    • In the “When I read or see that (evidence) …” column, they should copy evidence, or quotes from the text that answer the research question.
    • In the “It makes me think that scientists study the rainforest because …” column, they should explain their inference about the quote.
  • Focus students on the Source box at the top of the note-catcher. Explain that they need to record the source in case they need to find the text again and also so someone else can check that the information is correct. Tell students that the source should include the author, if given; the web page title and link; and the date accessed. Model completing this part of the note-catcher and invite students to do the same on their note-catcher.

  • Invite students to use their device to access “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”

  • Model how to complete the columns on the Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher:

    • Refer to the headings and photographs in the article to find information.
    • Reread the first paragraph aloud, inviting students to chorally read it with you.
    • Identify specific quotes that answer the research question: “Why do scientists study the rainforest?”
    • Record this evidence in the appropriate column on the note-catcher.
    • Complete the “It makes me think that scientists study the rainforest because …” column for each piece of evidence recorded.
  • Repeat for the remaining paragraphs of the text, using student ideas to model how to complete the two columns on the note-catcher and inviting students to do the same on their note-catcher. Refer to the Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.

  • 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.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with comprehension: Point out that the phrase “makes me think that” means “makes me believe” or convinces me of something. Practice using “It makes me think _____ because _____.” (MMR) Ask:

“If you see dark clouds in the sky, what does that make you think? Why?” (It makes me think that it might rain because dark clouds come out in rainy weather.)

“If you come to class and there is a substitute, what does that make you think? Why?” (It makes me think the teacher is sick because we always have a substitute when the teacher is sick.)

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with writing: Students may need additional think time to complete this exercise. Allow students to work together. One student can scribe while they both discuss any points of confusion. If necessary, provide additional wait time so all students can participate. (MMAE)

  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Include lines on the Research: “Rainforests and Why They Are Important” note-catcher to make it easier for students to write neatly. (MMR, MME)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Interactive Word Wall (10 minutes)

  • Move students into predetermined pairs.

  • Tell them they are now going to use the Interactive Word Wall protocol to better understand some of the words and meanings they have encountered in this module.

  • Direct students’ attention to the Domain-Specific Word Wall and invite students to take out their vocabulary logs, their copy of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World, and “Rainforests and Why They Are Important.”

  • Distribute large index cards. Invite students to work with their partner to choose a domain-specific word they have encountered so far in this unit and write it on the front of the index card. Say: “Domain-specific vocabulary words are words about a specific topic, domain, or content area. Your pair should think of a word you’ve encountered relating to the rainforest. For example, biodiversity, habitat, and climate stability are all domain-specific words about the topic of rainforests.”

  • Invite students to decide on their word and write it on the front of their index card.

  • After 2 minutes, invite each pair to find another pair, forming a group of four. Tell students to share the words they have written on their index cards.

  • Refocus whole group.

  • Invite groups to interact or engage with the words on their cards by comparing and contrasting them or using them to create a description (about the rainforest).

  • Invite groups to begin working.

  • Circulate to monitor groups as they interact with the words. Preselect groups to share out that have come up with creative ways to compare and contrast their words or create descriptions.

  • After 5 minutes, refocus whole group and call on preselected groups to share out.

  • Collect students’ index cards and add them to the Domain-Specific Word Wall.

  • For ELLs: As students interact, jot down samples of effective communication. Also jot down one or two common language errors (pervasive, stigmatizing, critical). Share each of these with the class, allowing students to take pride in the effective communication and correct the errors. (It’s not necessary to identify who communicated well or who made errors. However, you might wish to pull the student aside to make it clear.)

  • To facilitate discussion, provide students with sentence starters or sentence strips. Examples:

    • “Our words are similar because _____.”
    • “Our words are different because _____.” (MMAE)

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. (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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