Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teaching About Text Features!

When you take a close look at the Common Core Standards, or the Prescribed Learning Outcomes that we have here in BC, you will notice that a great many refer to Text Features.  Because of this, I dedicated a large portion of time to specifically teaching about Text Features with my grade 7's and 8's last year.  In the past, we have done some quick  mini lessons on them, but this time I spent a good couple of days focusing on specific Text Feature based lessons.  When they wrote their R.A.D. (a reading test that we have in BC) at the end of the school year, I was pleasantly surprised with how much better they did with the sections relating to Text Features, simply because we had focused some strategic time on learning about them.

The lessons went so well that I am actually planning on starting the school year with some of the activities this year.  This time, however, I am going to team up with the science teacher, and use their science textbook for a lot of the activities.  It will be a great introduction to the text features we will refer back to throughout the year, as well as a great introduction to their science textbook and curriculum.  I love, love, love finding opportunities to integrate different subject areas.

One of my favorite activities that we did involves the large chart paper posters that you can see in the above pictures.  After taking some notes on different text features, I divided the class up into groups.  Each group was given a sheet of chart paper, a marker, and a stack of magazines and newspapers.  Their job was to create an informational poster that displayed and explained a variety of text features.  As you can see from the above pictures, the end results were awesome!  I left them up on my classroom walls for the entire school  year, and we referred back to them often.

Another item that I refer back to throughout the year are my Text Feature classroom posters.  I hang these on my walls at the start of the year, and have found them to be really helpful.  I like that when a student comes to me and tells me that they can't find something in their textbook, I can refer them to the class posters and have them figure out where they should be looking to find the information.

This year, I plan to have my classes do a whole section in their Interactive Reading Notebooks about Text Features.  We will take some class notes, create a foldable or two, and finally create a mini book where they have to explain and illustrate the different text features.  Like the classroom signs, the kids will be able to refer back to the information throughout the year, which is fantastic.

All of the activities I mentioned above and plan to use next year, including my classroom signs, are available here:

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