Use details to explain the development of key elements in a text (Inclusive Big Idea #3)
What are students learning?
Reading Informational Text
Grade 6: English Language Arts
Inclusive Big Idea #3: Use details to explain the development of key elements in a text
Standard: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes). RI.6.3
How could I teach this?
Think about how instructional strategies and activities can give students multiple ways to engage with learning. One way won’t work for all, so how can you remove and reduce barriers for all students?
- Biography Posters: Students can present information they learned about key individuals by creating a biography poster. Within the poster, students can draw or place a picture of the figure, and then create symbols around the picture to show various aspects of the person’s life. Specifically, students should describe how key individuals are introduced in a text, how they are illustrated in a text, and how they are elaborated upon in a text. Students can also analyze how individuals interact with other individuals, events, or how individuals influence ideas or events.
- Timelines: Individually, in pairs, or with the whole class, students can draw or complete a timeline to record important events in history or important milestones in a well-known person’s life. Students can create or complete multiple timelines of the same historical period to compare the influence of one thing on something else (e.g., a timeline of important events of the Civil Rights movement and a timeline of the historical Civil Rights legislature that was passed as a result).
- Flowchart: Ask students to plot the relationship between ideas in a flowchart. Students can record effects and their relevant causes as well as map a problem and subsequent solution within a flowchart. Start by modeling the process with a well-known topic, then allow students to complete their own flowcharts independently or with a partner.
- Bubble Map: When determining the main idea and relevant details in a passage, a bubble map can help students prioritize information from a text and present it in a visual way to help clarify the relationship between ideas. After reading a passage, ask students to determine what they think the text is about and place that idea in the center of the bubble map. Then have students (individually, in small groups, or as a whole class) brainstorm the supporting details and place those around the main idea. Students may need support in determining which details from the text are meaningful, so have a discussion about how to determine what information is most important to their understanding of a text.
- Socratic Seminar: To encourage students to think more deeply about texts, lead students in Socratic Seminars. Before meeting with a small group or whole class, make a list of questions to ask about a specific individual, event, or idea from the text. These questions should go beyond literal (who, what, when, where) questions and should begin to ask questions to delve deeper into the topic (how and why). Throughout the seminar, position yourself as a question-asker. Students should have a free-flowing conversation with minimal interruptions from the teacher. See this TIP Sheet for more information on Whole Group Discussions.
- Oral Reports: After learning about key individuals, events, or ideas, students can prepare an oral report about the topic. Students should consider how key individuals are introduced in a text, how they are illustrated in a text, and how they are elaborated upon in a text. Students can also analyze how individuals interact with other individuals, events, or how individuals influence ideas or events. Students should consider their audience (i.e., classmates) when making the report. Then, based on the information learned, students can deliver their informational reports to classmates.
- Think Aloud: The purpose of asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they read by themselves. To model this, read aloud an informational text in front of the class. Then, periodically, stop and ask questions out loud. As you continue to read, begin answering the questions yourself. During this Think Aloud, specifically address how individuals interact with other individuals, events, or how individuals influence ideas or events. See this TIP Sheet for more information on how to model using a Think Aloud.
Don’t stop here! Remember to reduce barriers for all students.
Make reducing barriers a process - take a few minutes to think about your process! Is there a barrier related to:
- interest or engagement? Think about how to incorporate student’s lived experiences, culture, and interests…
- background knowledge? Think about how to highlight key ideas and define key vocabulary…
- showing what they know? Think about having options for how they use learning tools and technology to communicate…
For example, one possible barrier is the amount of information that a student needs to hold in mind.
Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:
- be aware of how much sensory input occurs at once, perhaps offer the option to use headphones
- show examples and provide answers to check along the way
- provide templates or graphic organizers
- allow use of spell checks and other tools
Use these Inclusive Strategies to help reduce barriers.
Tell me more about this Inclusive Big Idea (I need a refresher)
Brush up on the content of this Inclusive Big Idea. It will help you and your colleagues to understand and teach this content better.
- The Big Idea: Use details to explain the development of key elements in a text
- Tell me more about… Using Details
- The supporting details of informational text are information that helps to clarify the reader’s understanding of the most important points that the author is trying to make about a specific subject. Identifying and categorizing main ideas within informational text is critical to successful readers. You support your main idea by explaining it, describing it, defining it, or otherwise giving information about it.
- Tell me more about… Developing Key Elements
- The key elements of an informational text are the most important points that the author is trying to make about a specific subject. Identifying and categorizing main ideas within informational text is critical to successful readers. To be able to explain the development of key elements, students must be able to comprehend the information and how their knowledge of the key elements changes throughout the text.
Looking for more suggestions? Target student common misconceptions, build on interdisciplinary links, and implement strategies and supports across multiple lessons or units.
Common Student Misconceptions
- Text Types: Students may be unfamiliar with the different informational text types. Provide concrete definitions and examples of each text type to support their understanding of the text structures and content within the text.
- Prioritizing Information: Students may have difficulty prioritizing information within a text to determine the key elements and supporting details. They will need modeling and support to make progress with this skill.
Links Across Content Areas
- Have students record the key elements and details about the topic or text across all content areas.
- In the Counselor’s Office: After identifying the key elements in the text, have students identify a challenge in their own lives, and discuss methods of resolution.
Show me other related Inclusive Big Ideas
Explore other Inclusive Big Ideas to think about the content you are teaching. How can you connect what you are teaching now to what has been taught before or what will be taught in the future?
The Inclusive Big Ideas were adapted from resources created by the NCSC Project , a federal grant from the US Department of Education (PR/Award #: H373X100002), However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.