Not too long ago, I was teaching nonfiction text structure to my students. In reality, it can get a bit boring, and I felt I needed to spice it up a bit to engage my students.
First, I began by introducing all five text structures (problem and solution, compare and contrast, cause and effect, description, and sequence) to my students. I created a chart with them detailing what each type was, the signal words, and questions we ask ourselves as we are trying to determine a text’s structure. (See below- forgive my handwriting and messiness.)
Then after I modeled it, I provided students in small groups with their own set of cards. (I actually used the small paragraphs in Deb Hanson’s Text Structure Craftivity, found here. Her craftivity comes with several different topics, such as butterflies, apples, and basketball. I used these to differentiate it as, I felt the paragraphs on apples were a bit more basic, while the paragraphs on bacteria were a bit higher.) As I circulated, I was able to talk to students a bit more about how to use our class chart to help us better determine the text’s organization. (Due to copyright, I wanted to protect Deb’s materials, so there are squiggly lines there for that purpose. Her product does not contain that.)
After we explored text structure with just paragraphs, we moved into full texts by exploring various magazines that pile up in my room- Time for Kids, Storyworks, Scholastic News, so on.
I was very impressed with how well they picked it up and even now, when we aren’t focusing on text structure, someone will still point out the structure of the text we are reading. Those are the moments that you feel you did your job wonderfully!
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