Common Core: Helping Students Master Text Structure Presented by TCI www.teachtci.com (800) 497-6138 Text Structure Purpose Signal Words Description to begin with, for example, for instance, most important, just to describe in front, beside, near, sensory words: looks like, sounds like, etc. Sequence or Timeline first, second, third, before, to convey events or on (date), not long after, after that, next, at the same steps that must be time, finally, then, following presented in order Compare and Contrast like, unlike, but, in contrast, to present on the other hand, however, likenesses and both, also, too, as well as differences Causes and Effects so, therefore, consequently, this led to, as a result, to explain evidence of because, if…then causes and effects Problem and Solution to describe a problem because, one part of, as a P. (and possibly the result, consequently, this causes/effects of it), led to, if…then, remedy, Steps the desired solution, one step of the solution is…. and the steps taken to Desired Solution solve it Argument and Evidence therefore, accordingly, as to convince the reader to you can see, in addition to, do or believe something by another reason, finally, In making a strong claim and conclusion providing evidence for it Beach Ball Strategy Sequence: to convey events or steps that must be presented in order Have students write a paragraph describing the sequence of how to blow up a beach ball. Be sure to: • Have them include all of the steps in order. • Model the steps as they describe them. • Insert signal words like “first, before, next, etc.” Sequence and Timeline Example Before playing with the beach ball, the sequence of preparing it must be followed. First, the ball is taken out of the package and unfolded. Next, the thumb and index finger pinch the nozzle of the beach ball. After that, a deep breath is taken and air is blown through the nozzle into the ball. Remember to stop every so often and take a deep breath. Once the ball is blown up, put the plug into the nozzle and then push the nozzle down into the ball. Finally, the ball is ready to toss around and play with! Description: just to describe Have students describe the characteristics of the beach ball. Be sure to: • Have an extra ball ready if your class is large. • Have students toss it GENTLY and then explore it. • Encourage students to use their senses. • Discuss the signal words that should be used, and have students rehearse with a partner out loud. Description Example A beach ball is a three dimensional circle, or a sphere. It contains a plastic smell, and it is very light, despite its size. Beach balls can vary in design, but this one has large stripes of bright color. Beach balls can be easily tossed, caught, kicked, and passed. Because of their large size once blown up, they are easy to handle. Do be careful, because the light plastic can snag on something sharp and pop. Cause and Effect: to explain evidence of cause and effect Have students write about the positive effects of playing with the beach ball as a class. Be sure to: • Discuss as a class what it was like to play. • Focus on the positive effects. • Rehearse with a partner. Cause and Effect Example Playing with the beach ball as a group can cause positive effects. Just doing something a little different creates positive feelings for the participants. Everyone feels more awake with the movement, and happy to be part of a group. Tossing and catching provide an opportunity to experience many characteristics of the ball, such as what it feels like, how it sounds, and how easy it is to pass back and forth. Finally, playing with the ball is a fun experience that causes many students to enjoy the class more than usual. Problem and Solution: describe a problem, the solution and the steps to get there Have students consider a possible problem they might encounter with a beach ball and the steps they would take to solve it. Be sure to: • Have students consider problems that could happen. • Brainstorm problems as a class. • Have students write about one problem, steps to solve it and a desired solution. Problem and Solution Example “Pop!” Imagine playing catch with a beach ball when out of nowhere a dog runs up and catches it in his mouth. The ball now has a hole in it. Some possible steps to solve this problem would be to get some duct tape and cover the hole. If that doesn’t work, another possible solution would be to use some liquid rubber and fill the hole. If all else fails, go to the store and get another ball. After all, the desired solution is to continue playing with the ball! Compare and Contrast: to present likenesses and differences Have students write a paragraph comparing a beach ball to a hacky sack. Be sure to: • Explain how a hacky sack is traditional passed from person to person. • Allow students time to explore the hacky sack with their senses. • Give students the chance to process information with a Venn diagram. • Have students rehearse with a partner. Compare and Contrast Example While both the beach ball and the hacky sacks are spheres that people play with, there are several differences. The beach ball is large, filled with air, and very lightweight. On the other hand, the hacky sack is small enough to fit inside a fist, it’s filled with beads, and it’s fairly heavy for its size. It has a lot of mass. Both can be played in groups. But the beach ball is usually tossed by hand, while the hacky sack is generally kicked. Argument & Evidence: to convince the reader to do or believe something based on evidence Have students rite a paragraph that argues their position on which is better: a beach ball or a hacky sack. They should support their argument with evidence. Be sure to: • Brainstorm pros and cons as a class. • Show examples of counter arguments. Argument & Evidence Example It is true that both a beach ball and a hacky sack are fun to play with. But the beach ball is better because of its versatility and ease. It can be folded up into a very small package and it’s easy to transport in a pocket, backpack or purse. It’s easy to blow up, so it can be used at the beach, at a park, inside or outside. A hacky sack requires skill to catch and pass with a foot, so a beach ball is much easier to play with. It can be tossed, kicked, and it’s easy to catch. Some say that a hacky sack provides more of a challenge. But the beauty of the beach ball is that it can be played at all different levels, from simple to advanced. As you can see, a beach ball is far superior to a hacky sack. Introduction to text structure Other topics for paragraphs: • riding a bike (vs. skate boarding) • playing an instrument • making cookies • taking a trip to a location • doing a chore • walking a dog Reading Non-fiction Text 1. Preview the text. Read the title Read the introduction Read the headings 2. Notice the special features/illustrations. 3. Predict what you’re going to read about. 4. Identify the text structure (based on author’s purpose). 5. Activate your schema. 6. Read –pay attention to: Special font styles Pronunciations Special Features 7. Re-check text structure. 8. Summarize/Retell important information (on paper or in your head).
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