Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Made It: Nonfiction Text Structure Craft

I had every intention of writing this post over the weekend, but then on Saturday we decided to take an impromptu trip to Atlanta to visit the zoo and mall. My little one loved seeing all the animals and this mama loved seeing her excitement! Last week was crazy busy, so this trip was a welcomed one!

My focus in class last week was squeezing in that one last topic I hadn't yet covered before our standardized testing next week: nonfiction text structures. At first I was super anxious and worried that my kids somehow wouldn't understand anything I'd say, or they would forget everything we've ever learned (testing nerves, I'm sure). Much to my surprise and relief, my kids ROCKED text structures! I'm now glad I taught this when I did, because I've already taught all the skills before, but now taught them in terms on their structure in a text.

I definitely contribute my kids' success to the lovely and crazy-talented Deb Hanson. I used 3 of her products in my class and the kids were so engaged during all the lessons. Here's what we did...

To start, I introduced with an anchor chart, while the students also made anchor charts in their notebooks. I wanted them to be engaged and be reacquainted with the names of the thinking maps/organizers we were using.  (Please don't judge my lack of artistic ability!)

At the top of the notebook page is a little excerpt about text structures.. what they are in reference to a "building." We read that together first, then proceeded to our anchor charts.

Next, we used Deb's PowerPoint to further dig into text structures. I whipped up this interactive notebook page to help keep my kids organized, and it went well with the PowerPoint. We looked at each type of structure one by one. Deb made a sample passage (related to soccer) for each type, to give students an example of what it looks and sounds like. She then included a slide that showed the information using an organizer. Also included were questions (seen below) that students should ask themselves to determine the correct structure when reading a passage. These questions are what my kids jotted down and used throughout the week.

My favorite part about the PowerPoint was definitely what followed--more passages, this time with a bubble gum theme (how cool!) to assess students. I had my kids read a selection, write on an index card what they thought, and then we checked, and moved on to the next. My kids even did well on this, mainly because they were so engaged through the entire lesson.

On Tuesday, we did more work in our notebooks.

We started with a passage about sharks (that I found in a random teaching book I have). Here are the steps we took:
1. Read passage
2. Predict which text structure you think you see (using questions already in notebook)
3. Re-read, this time underlining information that supports your thinking
4. Draw your thinking map (using anchor chart), and insert information into your thinking map
5. Did it work?

Many kids thought this passage could have been compare/contrast, so I had them first underline in one color information to support description. We put our descriptive info into our bubble maps, then re-read, this time underlining information in a different color that would support compare/contrast. My kids came to the conclusion through this, that description was a better choice. They also realized, on their own, that sometimes more than one characteristic of a structure may be present.

My kids then practice with 2 more passages from Deb's assessment packet, with more independence this time. Again, they ROCKED it!

See how she marked one out?! Love when they think like this!

On Wednesday we got to the crafting part. Total. Engagement. Seriously! There were a series of passages they had to first read and determine text structure, have checked, and then make their clipboards.

On Friday, when I gave my class their assessment, which was a mixture of more passages from Deb's pack and another reading selection with text structure questions, 16 out of 22 students got an A or B. I was to the moon excited! Thanks, Deb! Definitely check our her amazing resources, and link up for Monday Made It! 

post signature


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love this! I am going to TPT right now to buy these resources. Our curriculum briefly touches on nonfiction text structure so my kiddos give me the deer in the headlights look when I talk about it. This is something that I am going to have to work in before testing! Thanks for sharing. (I am your newest follower!)

    Funky in Fourth

  3. I thought for sure my kids were going to have no idea what I was talking about, but they actually did well! I highly recommend Deb's products! :)

  4. Thank you sooooo much, Mandy!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! It is always exciting to see photos of the things I create being used in other classrooms! I absolutely loved how you created the interactive notebook foldable, and had students write the questions from the PowerPoint under each flap! I am definitely doing this when I teach text structures next year! I'm thrilled that your third graders did so well on the assessment at the end of the week, too!

  5. JEALOUS that you got to go to Atlanta. I love impromptu trips! Did you buy anything fun and exciting at the mall. You definitely rocked the non-fiction text structures in your class. Now you've got me in a panic that I need to go back and review them some more! Lol!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  6. I have to agree with you... Deb's materials are some of the BEST for teaching important common core skills!!!!!


  7. Teachers will stop at nothing to encourage their students. Check out the motivational video teachers at Margate Elementary made for their students.
    FCAT's Going Down