Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Text Feature Anchor Charts

So I'm taking a break from my iPad app posts to show you what's been happening in our Intervention classrooms. A couple of weeks ago, my classes of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders began reviewing nonfiction text features. A pretest showed me that they were pretty comfortable with most of the features, but there were a couple that were tripping them up.

I found a nice power point online. Do you get as excited as I when you don't have to reinvent the wheel? I love that so many teachers are sharing their ideas and talents! So I shared the power point with each class. We discussed each text feature and the students did some note taking. Then I showed the classes a couple of pictures of text feature anchor charts I found. Using these as exemplars, they came up with criteria for what a good anchor chart would include and how it would look.

Once they had an understanding of what would be quality work, I set them loose. I brought in magazines and old text books and they went through them searching for text features, cutting them out, and checking them off their lists. I had all students searching for all text features because I wanted to make sure they were each thinking about all the features.

After a couple of days of looking, the students had found all they needed. At this point, I put them into groups of 3, but they had been bugging me to make their own groups. I worry about letting them do this because it always seems there are one or two students that nobody wants to work with. But all my classes have been getting along so well, I decided to give it a shot. So I told them they would have 2 minutes to quietly and politely create their own groups. If at the end of 2 minutes, they were not ALL in groups, they would have to use the groups I put together. All three grades were able to create their own groups so quickly with nobody left out. And I only had one group in all three classes that didn't really work very well. My 6th graders amaze me every day with their maturity. They managed to get into groups with 1:20 left on the clock!

Now that they were in groups, it was time to put their anchor charts together. With three in the group, their first step was to sort all the text features they had found individually to decide on the best example for each text feature. It took the groups three days to get their anchor charts done. I had told them that we would pick the best three from each grade to take to the elementary so the teachers there could use them. That relevancy really upped their motivation! Below are the best charts for each grade level:
8th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade
As each group worked on their chart, they were continually evaluating it against our criteria to make sure they were doing their best work. I decided when they were done, I needed to do something more with them. So we had a Gallery Walk at each grade level. The groups went around looking at the anchor charts, evaluating them against the criteria and leaving feedback on sticky notes on each poster. Each group had to leave one sticky note of something they felt was done well on the poster and one sticky note suggesting a way the poster could have been better. Once again, my 6th graders impressed me with how seriously they took to their task.

In a couple of days, I will have all the students take the post test. I'm excited to see how much they have retained about text features. Thanks for reading...I will leave you with some delightful pictures of my students diligently giving feedback. :)
7th graders analyze their classmates' chart.

6th graders..."Yea, you're right, they did find a good map!"

6th graders filling out their sticky note.

My all boy groups always make me a little nervous, but these guys were phenomenal!

"Look how eye-catching their picture is!"

6th graders on the move!

7th graders deep in discussion.

6th graders..."What do you think they did well?"

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