Text Structures – Minimal Teaching Involved

text 1Why is it that four day weeks can seem so long???

This week we had tons to do to prepare for the Writing Basics Unit Exam. Considering the content, this means mostly review with a slight zone in on Inductive and Deductive Reasoning.

Text structures is something which students have been expected to learn all throughout middle school, and I think I have readdressing it about down to a science. Or, at the least, doable in a 100 minute block with focus on the more troublesome aspects for the students.

Based on my teaching experience and student conversation over the years, I lumped the testable structures into categories. I gave notes on each structure and modeling analysis of a sample text. Then, they had a task to complete on their own. Yep, it’s that gradual release thing again.

Anyway, I think the lesson worked because the class average score on this assignment was 92%, above the goal of 85%.

How was it lumped?
Students tend to think chronological and sequential structures are the same thing, but by pairing them together you help students see their differences. We have been looking at roots, and one of the students remembered chrono- as time. From there we linked sequence as steps. Students recognized that the two may have the same key words, but they are actually quite different and serve different purposes.

Next, we looked at compare-contrast because students typically can easily recognize that as well. We went over key words and looked at text samples. Students were solid, and it was a good thing I was experienced enough to expect to be able to skip a few slides in that area.

Finally, we got to cause-effect and problem-solution structures. By putting these together, it has the same effect as having the students look at sequential and chronological together. We reviewed cause-effect first and talked about key terms and that the key strategy is to look for two questions: “What happened?” and “Why did it happen?” I modeled and had them identify key terms and we moved over to problem-solution. Here, I gave the simple strategy of seeing if the students could track the problem and find the proposed solution, or call to action, to address the problem. For this structure especially, students need to be able to pick up implied information as sometime the problem is not directly stated. Again, I modeled and had them find the key words. Then they had to look at text samples and identify which of the two structures the text met. Again, pretty successful for the students who identified the key terms first.

When I think back on the lesson, I think I would try more to include grouping – maybe a carousel in which I have model texts on the wall for students to identify. Maybe try a teaching section where students have different passages and have to identify the key terms and structure and then teach it to a partner. And most definitely, we will hit this skill again when we are looking at thesis statements and topic sentences.

Ideas? Suggestions? I’d love your feedback.

~ Text Structures PPT and Student Tasks – Find it online at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Text-Structures-Teaching-Bundle-Adaptable-PPT-and-DOC-files

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