Nonfiction Text Structures Anchor Chart

Nonfiction text structures can be a daunting ELA topic to tackle in upper elementary classrooms.  I remember the first time I saw it on the fifth grade state standards a few years back.  (It was my first year coteaching in fifth grade, and I had worked with kindergarten and first grade ELLs the previous couple of years.) Whoa! I felt like a deer caught in headlights! The fifth grade teacher was hoping that I had a grand idea for teaching this topic, and I didn't want to let her down, so I decided to embrace it. It was a bit rough that first year, but I've come to really enjoy teaching text structures!
Nonfiction Text Structures Anchor Chart... focusing on signal words!
The clipboard was a FREEBIE! by Charlotte's Clips!  So cute and crisp!
The text structure clipart is by Aim Less Daze.

From my experience, these are the three key components to teaching text structures in the upper elementary grades:

1.  Use visuals for each text structure (like the ones above)!  Students who understand and can explain how the graphic is related to the text structure almost always understand the concept of text structures overall.

2.  Read several passages together as a class.  This is a skill in which some students will need lots of guided practice!

3.  Have students write their own paragraphs using each text structure.  This seems to be the best way for students to internalize the various structures!

I recently created a free and complete text structure lesson, and wrote a blog post about it. Click HERE to check out the post and download the FREE 23-page printable resource!

Finally, I want to point out the incredible text structure graphics! They were designed by the talented Jena Flanagan by Aim Less Daze.  Aren't they awesome?!?  I contacted her and asked her to consider designing this set for me, and I sent her a very crude set of drawings! (I could only dream of being as talented as she is!) If you would like to purchase this set, click here! I colored the images on my anchor chart by hand because I was in a coloring sort of mood (and my daughter Brooke wanted me to sit down and color with her!), but the set Jena sent me had blackline images as well as color images (the posters below will give you an idea what her color set looks like)!

These are some of my matching products:

     

Or, if you are interested in checking out a bundle of resources, just click on the image below:


Worksheet Wednesday... Types of Sentences


This is a brand new creation, hot off the presses!
Are you teaching students to identify the four types of sentences? Check out this free practice worksheet!

Click HERE to download!

Isn't the lemonade stand clip art adorable?  I got it for FREE when I started following Cara's Creative Playground blog.  If you haven't checked out her new blog, go check it out TODAY!  It is adorable, and she has so many creative craft ideas!  I am planning to do some of them with my daughters this summer. If you follow her blog by June 30, Cara will send you this enormous pack of goodies!
 Do you see my lemonade stand friends that I used in the worksheet?

I hope you and your students like the worksheet!

Author's Purpose Anchor Chart

Today I am sharing my author's purpose anchor chart:

Author's Purpose PIE'ED Anchor Chart- take author's purpose to the next level for upper elementary students by using the PIE'ED Method!

Does it look a bit different than the author's purpose approach your are used to seeing? I have taught this more advanced version of Author's Purpose {PIE'ED} to upper elementary students (grades 4 and up) for several years now.  Check out this blog post if you're curious about why I switched to teaching Author's Purpose in this manner. (You will find additional FREE posters in this post!)

Also, click on the image below to access my 2-sided worksheet featuring 5 reading passages! All of the passages are related to the days of the week. You can use these worksheets as guided practice or independent practice... whichever best meets your needs!

Finally, if you are looking for related teaching materials, feel free to check out my store. The image below shows my bundle, but all of the items shown can also be purchased individually.

Technology Thursday/Throwback Thursday! [PowerPoint dilemma]

I am linking up with Teaching Trio and Teacher's Desk 6 today to repost what I have learned about "flattening" a PowerPoint so that images can't be "lifted" and fonts can be changed!  I first posted this one back in March at All Things Upper Elementary.





Ever since I learned to make PowerPoint presentations, I have enjoyed making interactive ones to present to my students.  I almost always use a PowerPoint to introduce a new ELA concept.   I tend to follow an established pattern of introducing the concept with the first few slides, and then have several practice opportunities for the remaining slides.

Until a few months ago, though, I was utterly stumped on one particular aspect of making PowerPoints.   I had elaborate visions of what I wanted my PowerPoints to look like- I wanted to use Jen Jones’ Hello fonts that I had purchased from TpT, and I had creative ideas that incorporated my favorite clip artists’ creations- like the fun and visually engaging clip art by Krista Wallden, Away with the Pixels, and A Sketchy Guy!  (And I can't neglect to mention all those great digital papers to use for backgrounds!)

My question was this: How do I create a PowerPoint with full animation that is secure and cannot be edited????  After all, the terms of use with the graphics I wanted to use clearly state (and rightfully so!): “Please make sure all digital files are secured in a PDF file or another secured format so the clipart cannot be copied and used by others.”  However, once I turned my PowerPoint into a PDF, it lost all animation!   My text boxes would no longer “fly” onto the screen!   I was stumped and frustrated.

Let me pause for just a moment and say that I know that some of you already know of a solution to this “dilemma”.  But, I also have to believe (to make myself feel better, if nothing else!) that there are some readers that are stumped by this like I was.  For them, I want to share the solution I found… (The rest of you can read along and let me know if you have an even easier answer!)

Back to my story… I asked the tech teacher at my school, but she admitted that although she knew there was a solution to my question, she hadn’t figured it out yet.  My online searches left me empty-handed… until one day when I must have typed in the magic phrase!  I had my answer!

Keep reading to see how I got from the BEFORE to the AFTER!



Here’s what I figured out: The key is this - Once you have created your PowerPoint, you need to save each slide you want as flattened PNG images!!   Let me explain, showing the steps I take:
  1. Design your PowerPoint presentation.  Save it as you normally would.  (I named mine “Author’s Purpose Revamp”.)
  2. You can now begin the “flattening” process.  “Flattening” refers to each complete slide as a PNG image.   (“Flattening” prevents another user from being able to click on a particular component on a slide and copy it for another [illegal] use.)
    • Delete all of the animated text boxes.
    • Select “Save As”. (Make sure to select Save AS!)
    • Go to the “Save as Type” box (the bottom drop-down box) and select “PNG Portable Network Graphics Format”.
    • Click on “Save”.   (I also give it a new name. In this case, I named it “Author’s Purpose Revamp Slides”.)
    • A box will appear on your screen. Click on “Every Slide”.
    • Once all the slides have been saved as PNG images, return to the folder where you have the PowerPoint saved.
    • Click on the new folder that has just been created.
    • The newly created PNG image of each slide appears here!
    • Select Slide1. Copy (Ctrl C).
    • Open a brand new PowerPoint file. Paste Slide1 PNG (Ctrl V).
    • Insert a new slide. Return to your PNG images and copy Slide2.
    • Paste the Slide2 PNG.
    • Continue copying and pasting slides until all of the flattened PNG slides have been pasted into the new PowerPoint.
    • Use “Save As” again to save this new PowerPoint with a unique name.  (I usually use the word “flattened” in this version, like “Author’s Purpose Revamp flattened”.)
  3. You're almost done - a FINAL step awaits you!  You now just need to add back the animated text boxes from your original PowerPoint file (those you deleted at the beginning of the previous step). 
    •  Return to your original PowerPoint.  Find the first slide with an animated component. Select that animated component, and copy it (Ctrl C).
    • Go to your newly created flattened PowerPoint. Find the appropriate slide and paste it – as a picture.  (Note-I just learned this step a few weeks ago!  Before that, I thought I had to use a standard font on any animated component…but not so!)
    • Add back the animation elements, as you normally would.
Once you have completed the process of adding back any animated text boxes, you should be done! You now have a flattened PowerPoint presentation!

This method has totally changed how I have designed my newest PowerPoints!
This is one of the slides from my favorite PowerPoint- (my Main Idea PowerPoint!)
Furthermore, the use of this flattening method has allowed me to greatly enhance the appearance my PowerPoints.  Armed with my new revelation, I have begun going about revamping all my existing PowerPoint resources – and I’m actually having a lot of fun with it!  Wait… let me rephrase that. While I can’t say that the work involved is “fun”, it is highly gratifying to see my NEW finished products!!)  Here are a few more “before” and “after” shots!






If you enjoy making PowerPoint presentations, give this method a try!  Good luck!

*One final disclaimer – the method described above is applicable to PCs.  I can’t speak to the process involved for Mac users.*
UPDATE!! My blogging friend, Lisa from Grade 4 Buzz, was kind enough to notify me that she tried my process on her Mac, and it worked!  She did note, however, that she needed to take an additional step to improve the resolution of her slides once they were flattened.  She said that under Options, she simply had to change the width to 2999.  Thanks, Lisa!!

Come back tomorrow for a sale announcement and a giveaway!


Worksheet Wednesday... Fat & Skinny Questions


What are the terms you use to help students differentiate between higher-level questions and lower- level questions?

I use the terms "fat" questions and "skinny" questions with my 4th and 5th graders.  I know many teachers use the terms "thick"questions and "thin" questions, and I tried to use these terms for multiple years, also.  However, I quickly realized that these terms were too confusing for my ELLs. I drew pictures and used hand gestures, yet many still had trouble remembering which word was related to higher-level questions, and which words were related to lower-level questions. Finally, I switched to using the terms "fat" and "skinny" because I knew that everyone had a solid understanding of what the terms mean exactly. Once I made this change, my students were much more confident in the questions they were writing because they knew that they were fully understood the concept.

  I found that it worked well to use this worksheet as a lesson before we introduced literature circles for the first time each year. Then, when it was time for students to write their own questions in preparation of their literature circle discussions, they did a great job asking deeper questions!

If you are looking for a worksheet that will help your students differentiate between higher-level and lower-level questions, feel free to download these FREE worksheets for your students! 
If you are looking for a worksheet that will help your students differentiate between higher-level and lower-level questions, feel free to download these FREE worksheets for your students!


If you are looking for a worksheet that will help your students differentiate between higher-level and lower-level questions, feel free to download this for your students!

Anchors Away Monday: Comparatives and Superlatives

Hi everyone!  This is a two-part post!  It's time for another installment of...

                                   
If you missed last week's post, check it out HERE!

Here's the anchor chart I am sharing this week!


The "teeter-totter" rule (for comparatives) and "best ribbon" rule (for superlatives) really seemed to help my lower level ELLs remember when to use each suffix.  If you look carefully (it is rather small), you will notice that I also wrote "is _____er than" on the teeter totter.  This is SUCH a difficult sentence structure for even intermediate and early-advanced ELL's.  There were times when students were writing independently that I spotted students checking the anchor chart for this sentence frame specifically!

An Upper Elementary Take on Author's Purpose


At a staff meeting about five years back, our principal had us look at the previous year's test results, identify one or two areas of weakness, and then write a plan of action for improving that weak strand.  Well, my colleagues and I recognized that Author's Purpose was a weak area for our third and fourth graders that year.  We wrote what we thought was a fabulous plan to help our students to better understand the concept of Author's Purpose... and thus be better equipped to score higher in that area on the annual standardized tests.  Our plan even included placement of a huge "pie" in the central part of the hallway where each class wrote the titles of books they had read that fit into each category!

As teachers, our confidence soared as State Assessment time approached!  (You know what's coming...)  Well, assessment time arrived, and as an ESL teacher, I was providing the accommodations of reading the test questions aloud to limited-English proficient students.  I got a sinking feeling in my stomach as I read various questions related to Author's Purpose.  I realized that the test authors did not limit the answer choices to persuade, inform, and entertain.  Rather, I saw answer choices that included words like explain, describe, and occasionally even illustrate

Furthermore, I realized that sometimes, the test authors required students to differentiate the main idea.  For example, answer choices might include:
A.  To inform the reader about the formations found in caves
B.  To describe the formations in a cave
C.  To entertain readers with a story about a cave
D.  To inform the reader about how caves are formed

It was then that I set out to do more than just teach the basic PIE method for Author's Purpose!  I found the PIE'ED method online, and from there created several materials to support that method.

What is the PIE'ED method of Author's Purpose?
P-persuade (to convince the reader of something)
I-inform (to provide the reader with information)
E- entertain (to provide a story readers will enjoy - it can be sad, scary, or happy, and often includes dialogue)
E-explain (to give the reader directions)
D-describe (to appeal to most or all of the reader's five senses)

The following three items below are FREE in my TpT store for any teacher who might want to try teaching this method to their students (just click on the images)!
An upper elementary version of teaching author's purpose! The author of this blog post explains why she moved toward the PIE'ED approach to author's purpose. FREE worksheets and posters are included!       An upper elementary version of teaching author's purpose! The author of this blog post explains why she moved toward the PIE'ED approach to author's purpose. FREE worksheets and posters are included!

An upper elementary version of teaching author's purpose! The author of this blog post explains why she moved toward the PIE'ED approach to author's purpose. FREE worksheets and posters are included!

I also have several other items available. Feel free to check them out!
    



Inferences Anchor Chart... with a matching free activity!

Those of you who have been following me for a while already know that I believe it is vital to help students build connections in their brain that they can draw on in the future.  One way I do this is by linking real objects to abstract standards... the components of a S'more to the process of making an inference, for example!

If you are teaching students about making inferences, try the s'more analogy. This blog post contains an inference anchor chart that explains the analogy.

When I created this inference anchor chart to use with students, I prepared most of the anchor chart prior to the beginning of class.  I did NOT, however, write on the second set of S'more ingredients (at the bottom of the chart).  Instead, we read the passage and discussed together what should be written on the bottom S'more pieces.  I wrote on them as we discussed the passage.
Inference Anchor Chart using the Smore analogy! A free matching follow-up activity (with a reading passage!) is also included!

 I continue the lesson (and deepen the connection) by having students create a S'more inference themselves! Click HERE if you want to download this FREE passage and practice activity:
Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!

I cut the pieces my students will need before class:
Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!

After completing the anchor chart, the lesson proceeds like this:
Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!
Students read the passage and complete the worksheet.
I have students create the S'more using question #3 on the worksheet.

Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!
Add caption

Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!

Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!

Teaching about making inferences while reading? Check out this anchor chart and FREE inference activity for upper elementary students! This blog post contains a free passage and instructions which will allow your students to make their own s'more inference!

Students are eager to show off their S'more inference. Beware, though, this activity makes everyone crave a s'more. Often I bring the ingredients to class, and we all enjoy an unmelted s'more after we finish the activity. It's not quite as tasty as the real thing, but it's still fun to enjoy a snack! :)

This anchor chart and free activity is actually a "spin-off" of one of my favorite craftivities, My Let's Make S'more Inferences Craftivity.


Point of View Anchor Chart


I remember the first lesson I tried to prepare on teaching students to identify the author's point of view. My state standards indicated that my fifth graders needed to be able to identify first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient points of view.  I "knew" that my first step was teaching students which pronouns were associated with each point of view. For example, I knew I had to teach my students that the pronouns, "I", "me", "our", and "us" were used by authors writing in first person.

As I was looking for text examples to share with my students, however, I found a flaw with my approach. Consider this paragraph:

My heart was beating like a drum when I approached my father. It was time to tell
him the truth. What if he doesn't believe me? What if he thinks she is telling the truth?

In this sample paragraph, there are both first person pronouns and third person pronouns! Now what?! 

I quickly realized that any pronouns within dialogue have to be ignored when determining point of view... and this included spoken dialogue (in quotation marks) and internal dialogue (written in italics). Furthermore, when teaching students to identify the author's point of view, crossing out dialogue had to be done before pronouns were considered. I also realized that there are a few other "rules". For example, if a text contained both first person pronouns and third person pronouns within the narrative (like in the example above), the point of view was always first person.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that a step-by-step approach was going to be the best way to introduce these concepts to students. I created the following anchor chart which helped my students immensely.
Point of View Anchor Chart including first person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient points of view.
Camera clip art is by Ashley Hughes.

I created this anchor chart AFTER my students and I worked through my Point of View PowerPoint, which contains the same concepts. My students had great success when we went through the PowerPoint slides, but then a few of them struggled when the PowerPoint was turned off and they tried to work through the process more independently. I realized that those students still needed a bit of scaffolding before they internalized the process... and that's where this anchor chart came in! It worked like a charm!! Students who needed the support referred to it often. There was no excuse for any student to make a random guess! Also, I always had students justify the point of view they selected by explaining how they found their answer. Referring to this chart helped them to do that!

I also created a flow chart for each student to glue in their interactive notebooks. (I had to reduce the size when I made the copies. Feel free to check out either of these resources by clicking on the images below.)
This 67-slide PowerPoint is a step-by-step presentation that teaches students how to determine the author's point of view. First, students are shown how to determine whether a passage is 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person. Once they have had lots of practice with these passages, they are taught the difference between third person "limited" and "omniscient".


I actually have two versions of the PowerPoint because I work with multiple grade levels.  At our school, fourth graders focus mainly on first and third person, while fifth graders also learn second person and the differentiate between 3rd person limited and 3rd person omniscient.

For those of you that do not teach the 3rd person LIMITED and OMNISCIENT, I have this simpler version of the PowerPoint, as well!
Finally, check out this FREE lesson (with printables to download) that I shared at my collaborative blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots!

Thanks for stopping by today!




Pin this for future reference:
Teaching Point of View to upper elementary students with a simple, sequential approach! First person, second person, third person limited, and third person omniscient.