This activity emphasizes the importance of teaching reading and writing strategies for students to use with informational text.
Main Curriculum Tie:
English Language Arts Grade 6 Writing Standard 9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
- Informational text
readings from Internet
- Science classroom
- Variety of trade books
and informational text
- Graphic Organizer
- Posters of the Graphic
Background For Teachers:
who has been taught reading and writing together has the necessary tools
to explore, clarify and think deeply about the ideas and concepts they
encounter in reading. There is no better way to think about a subject than
to take the opportunity to read and write about it.
Teachers who use reading and writing together help students think
about what they will read, and understand what they have read. Teachers
should plan instruction that leads to active text learning. Students need to
act on ideas in print and also interact with one another when learning
with text. This instruction model provides ideas for pre-reading, reading,
and post-reading instruction for Core Curriculum text lessons. The use of
graphic organizers provides the structure for bringing learners and texts
together using multiple texts.
In planning a unit, the teacher should construct a graphic organizer of
the major concepts, and then identify literature for group and individual
investigation. Before actually assigning a graphic organizer to students,
the teacher should prepare for the activity by carefully analyzing the
vocabulary of the material to be learned. List all the terms that are
essential for students to understand. Finally, construct your own
Graphic organizers are easily adapted to learning situations in the
elementary grades. For whole class discussion, construct your graphic
organizer on a large sheet of chart paper or on your chalk/white board.
Ultimately, the student should learn how to create and use different
types of graphic organizers to understand, interpret, and analyze
informational text. The form of the student-constructed graphic organizer
will undoubtedly be different than the teacher’s arrangement. However,
this difference should not be a major source of concern.
Graphic Organizer Samples
- Venn Diagram (compare/contrast)
- Hierarchy (listing)
- Time Line (time)
- Cluster Diagram (description, order of importance)
- Flow Chart (cause/effect, problem/solution)
Teaching Graphic Organizers
- Model the use of graphic organizers.
- Provide opportunities for guided practice.
- Provide opportunities for independent practice.
Graphic organizers encourage students to make connections with the
text by creating a structure for students to explore text and consider
different sides of an issue in discussion before drawing conclusions.
- Prepare your students for reading by activating prior knowledge,
raising questions, and making predictions about the text.
- Assign students to read the selection, then introduce the graphic
organizer. Have the students work in pairs to generate a
completed graphic organizer.
- Combine pairs into groups of four to compare responses, work
together toward consensus, and reach a conclusion as a group.
- Give each group three minutes to decide which of all the reasons
given best supports the group’s conclusion.
- Have your students follow up the whole class discussion by
individually writing their responses on the graphic organizer (not
necessary every time).
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Use this approach to activate prior knowledge, raise questions, or
make predictions about the text. Ask, “How many different things do
you know about the chosen topic to be studied?” Brainstorm ideas,
vocabulary words, or major concepts about a given topic. As the students
suggest different ideas, create a graphic organizer on the board. Let
students make the connections that they understand. Later, after reading
text, doing an experiment, or hands-on activity, the students can make
any necessary changes to the class-generated graphic organizer.
Constructing the Graphic Organizers as a Pre-assessment
(Whole Group Participation)
- List all the vocabulary words/word phrases/pictures that students
give about the content area topic.
- Arrange the list of words until there is a scheme that shows the
connections among the concepts particular to the learning task.
- Evaluate the organizer. Ask, “Can the organizer be simplified and
still effectively communicate the ideas you consider crucial?”
- Introduce students to a previously determined section of the text
to read. Allow them to compare and evaluate their own
understanding according to their reading. Experiments and hands-on
activities for connections to learning may also be used.
- After reading, discuss as a class any additional information
learned that may be added to the graphic organizer.
Modeling for the Students How to Make Their Own Connections
(Small Group Participation)
- Type the keywords/word phrases/pictures and make copies for the
students to use.
- Have students form small groups of three to four students each.
- Distribute the list of terms, pictures, major concepts, and chart
paper to each group.
- Have them work together to decide on a spatial arrangement of
the words that depicts the connections between the words.
- As students work, offer assistance as needed.
- Provide reading text to increase content area information.
- Initiate a discussion of the constructed organizer.
Allowing the Students to Use a Teacher-created Graphic
Organizer (Individual Participation)
- Prepare the organizer with a schema that shows the
interrelationships among the concepts particular to the learning
- Provide a blank graphic organizer with some connections made,
the remaining will be completed by the student.
- Provide a reading passage that furnishes information with key
concepts for students to locate and add to the graphic organizer.
- As students add specific information/vocabulary words to the
graphic organizer, create as much discussion as possible.
- Model a graphic organizer that can be used with Core Curriculum
- Using trade books, textbooks, or other content area readings, have
the student transfer identified information onto a graphic
- Teachers should scaffold every graphic organizer many times to
prepare students to create their own graphic organizer.
- Scaffolding also applies to the writing assignments. Students
need to be taught how to write a summary, a compare and contrast
paper, a description paper, and a question and answer paper.
Ability to complete a graphic organizer does not indicate that the
student knows how to accomplish the writing task.
- Students should engage in a writing activity after each text
reading and completion of a graphic organizer.
- Create a graphic organizer with your class according to the
content of your texts:
Moon Cycle = Time Sequencing
Solar System = Compare/Contrast
Microorganism = Cause/Effect
Heat, Light, Sound = Problem/Solution
Planets in our Universe = Listing
- Convert graphic organizers into writing assignments.
- Teach the students to use other graphic organizers while reading
nonfiction trade books. Graphic organizers should be taught one
at a time. Use different graphic organizers before, during, and
after any hands-on group activity, experiment, or when reading
informational text. Use graphic organizers when viewing
informational videos to engage the students in listening and
comprehending science concepts.
- Construct a graphic organizer as an assessment. Give the students
a blank graphic organizer to complete using a given list of
vocabulary words, pictures, or description word phrases.
- Have students use the graphic organizer to write an expository
paper reflecting what they learned.
Created Date :
Nov 04 2004 14:25 PM