Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
Teachers need to check students understanding of material. The first part of the lesson serves as a review of the homework, which was to look for organizational features in the article on America's Car Culture.
I put the Informative/Explanatory Text Powerpoint back up on the Smartboard to quickly review those organizational structures. We are not reviewing the entire Powerpoint but just that one slide.
After the quick review we go back into the text of The End Of America's Car Culture (First Page) article to find each of these organizational structures:
As students are giving their answers, I make sure they focus on specific passages from the article. Some students tend to be very general but I want students to refer back to specific sections of the text. This serves also as a way to annotate the article. This is an example of Organizational Structures from a student example.
After students understand organizational structures in context through reading, the next important step is to practice this in writing. The best way to improve on writing is through practice. Students will spend the rest of class period practicing writing different organizational structures using research from their Funky Elements Project. This will serve as prewriting for the informative text portion of their project.
I keep the list of organizational structures on the board. Students experiment with writing different structures using information based on their element. As students work on this practice, I rotate around the room to see how students are doing. This is a great opportunity for differentiation instruction. Lower level students can work on the basic organizational structures of definition and description. Higher level students can work on structures like cause and effect and classification.
As students are working on these structures , there are also working on incorporating research into the writing so this addresses different aspects of the common core: research and informative text writing.