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Restating the Question in the Answer (Freebie included!)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

Have you ever given your students a worksheet that contains a reading passage followed by a handful of comprehension questions? If your students are like mine, you have learned over the years that you must explicitly tell students to write their answers in complete sentences. If you forget to mention this requirement, many students will compose one- or two-word answers. Therefore, I have found that taking the time to teach students to "restate the question" in the answer is well worth the time it takes. Since upper elementary students still love read-alouds, this is a fun lesson in which you can feature your favorite upper elementary picture book. (Full disclosure: An Amazon affiliate book link is included in this blog post.) As you will see below, I decided to use His Royal Dogness, Guy the Beagle, but any book will work with this lesson.

Before Reading

Let's back up a moment, though, and let me tell you how I begin this lesson. In preparation of this lesson, I write a list of simple questions based on traditional literature on anchor chart paper. 
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.
Then, when class begins, I also distribute a white board, dry-erase marker, and an eraser to each PAIR of students. When each duo has the supplies it needs, I point out the title on the anchor chart, and tell students that I want them to help me answer each question by writing complete sentences that restate the question in the answer. Take a moment to model your expectations by choosing a student to ask you a random question. Write the answer on the board in a complete sentence. 

Instruct students to read Question #1, and then work with their partner to formulate a correct, complete answer and write it on their white board.
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.
Ask a volunteer to share their answer. If it is correct, have them write it on the anchor chart, as well.

Instruct students to read Question #2, but this time, the other student should write on the white board. Continue this until all of the questions are answered.
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.


During Reading

Once all five questions have been answered, we quickly put away our supplies, and I show them the picture book we're going to read together. I tell them that when we finish the book, they will be given a worksheet with questions about the book, and they will practice the skill of restating the question in the answer.
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.
This is a wonderful picture book for so many reasons! First of all, it reminds students that if you are planning to welcome a new pet into your home, rescuing a pet from an animal shelter is a remarkable option. Secondly, as you can see below, the illustrations are outstanding.
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

Also, this book is also perfect for upper elementary students because the authors use a lot of subtle humor throughout the book. It is fun to stop after sentences like the ones below and ask if they understand what the authors are alluding to when they say "English life isn't all kibble and roses", and why it is funny when the authors say that "in England, dogs go to the bathroom on the left side of the hydrant".
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

After Reading

After you are done enjoying the story with your students, hand out the worksheet (click HERE or on the image below to download it). Remind students to answer the questions in complete sentences that restate the question in the answer.
Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.

If you're looking for another ready-to-go lesson related to this topic, feel free to check out my Restating the Question PowerPoint!

More Ideas!

This blog post is part of a link up I am doing with my Reading Crew friends! I encourage you to check out the other blog posts in this link-up to gather some additional lesson ideas that feature mentor texts. 
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


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Teach your students to answer comprehension questions the right way: by putting the question in the answer. This blog post features a complete lesson which includes an anchor chart, a mentor text, and a FREE practice worksheet.


Summarizing Fiction... Somebody Wanted But So Then

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Have you ever heard of the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy? If you have, I would be interested to hear your opinion on this strategy. When I have talked to people about this summarizing approach in the past, it seems to elicit strong opinions- they either love it or hate it. I must confess... for several years I leaned toward the "strongly dislike" end of this spectrum. However, I recently changed my tune and have come to truly appreciate this strategy. Today, I'm going to tell you about how my change in attitude came about, and I'm going to share a mentor text lesson with you. (If you're short on time, feel free to skip to the mentor text section. Also, full disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.)
Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!


My Personal Experience with the SWBST Strategy

I first learned of this strategy when I attended a teacher-inservice meeting several years ago. Initially, I was intrigued. The examples shared by the presenter were strong summaries! Plus, I liked the idea of having a prescribed "formula" where you just plug in each element. However, when I took this approach back to my classroom and prepared to use it with students, I struggled with it... a lot. Two problems kept holding me back from embracing this strategy. First, I realized that when I used the SWBST strategy, I had to leave out some pretty significant details. Yes, I knew summaries were supposed to be short, but I kept thinking that some details were just too important to skip! Second, I kept running into examples where the SWBST "formula" did not work, and this left me feeling frustrated and confused. Needless to say, I ultimately decided against using the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" strategy, and opted instead for a different approach.

Recently, however, I read a book (Reading Nonfiction by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst) where they devoted an entire section of their book to a version of the SWBST strategy. It renewed my interest in the approach. As I dug deeper, I realized that building a summary based on the words "Somebody Wanted But So Then" did not provide quite enough support for me. Once I found some anchor questions to accompany each word, I began to experience a lot more success when I used the strategy.

Just as I was reacquainting myself with this approach, a teacher just happened to contact me and ask if I would ever consider making a set of summarizing fiction tri-folds using the Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. It felt like fate at the time, and I decided that I needed to give it a try. Much to my surprise, I was able to overcome the two obstacles that blocked me several years earlier. I realized that I needed to "get over" my love for details and that they really should be extremely limited in a summary. As for the times when the SWBST strategy fell short, I eventually came to the conclusion that at those times, students can start by applying the SWBST strategy, but that it's also okay to add in critical information that might not fit into the "formula". (If you would like to view an example of how I address the notion of adding critical information that does not fit the SWBST formula with my students, check out the preview of my Summarizing PowerPoint.)

It took a few years, but now I can say that I am comfortable with the "Somebody Wanted But Then So" summarizing strategy. In fact, I now look forward to teaching this topic to students!

A Mentor Text Lesson

This lesson is designed to occur fairly early in your summarizing fiction unit. Personally, I would introduce the concept of summarizing fiction by using my PowerPoint on Day 1, and this lesson would happen on Day 2. At the beginning of class, I would ask the students to recall the name of the summarizing strategy we learned yesterday. Then, I would ask students to recall the anchor question that goes with each element. As students share, I would write their answers on the anchor chart, leaving space between each section. Therefore, when we are done reviewing, this is what the anchor chart would look like:

Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!


Next, I would read aloud Carnivores, by Aaron Reynolds. This is a fun picture book that appeals to upper elementary students because of the author's clever humor. The three main characters feel hurt and left out because the rest of the animal kingdom fears them, so they try to change their carnivorous ways.
Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!
Click HERE to check this book out on Amazon.
Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!

Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!

After reading the book, I would return to the anchor chart, asking students to answer each question. Therefore, when finished, the anchor chart would look like this:

Summarizing Fiction Anchor Chart- Use the Somebody Wanted But So Then strategy when teaching your students to write a summary.


Once the anchor questions are answered, writing the summary is a breeze!
Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!

If you happen to be searching for resources you can use when teaching students to write a summary, feel free to check out my Summarizing Fiction Bundle!
Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This summarizing fiction bundle includes a PowerPoint, a Readers' Theater activity, and 6 practice worksheets.


 Thanks for stopping by!




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Writing a summary is simple when you use the "Somebody Wanted But So Then" summarizing strategy. This blog post contains a summarizing fiction anchor chart and a mentor text lesson idea!

Notice and Note Nonfiction Signposts: FREE Resources

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
When I read Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst a few years ago, I was spellbound. In that first signpost book, they explained how teachers can introduce six signposts to their students that will guide them in identifying and analyzing meaningful moments in fiction literature. I was such a huge fan of that book that I wrote a blog post about it and created a handful of free supplemental resources for teachers who had also read the book and wanted to implement the strategies into their instruction. (Click here to read the post that focuses on the six fiction signposts.)

At that time, I vowed to read their new nonfiction signpost book as soon as I had a chance, and to create supplemental free materials to accompany that book, as well. Needless to say, it took me a whole lot longer to get this done than I originally planned. Thanks to the teachers who emailed me over the past few years asking about these... a few weeks ago, I finally decided to make reading Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies a priority! (I don't know about you, but for me, when it comes to reading professional books, I can always seem to think of something else that I "need" to do before I can make time to sit down and read the book.)

As I anticipated, I was very impressed with their nonfiction signpost book. I am convinced that teaching these signposts will result in students who go beyond a "read-once-and-discuss" approach, and they will acquire a much deeper understanding of that nonfiction text than their peers who are not exposed to these signposts.
FREE Notice and Note Nonfiction Posters and Task Cards! This blog post includes resources and passages to supplement the strategies outlined in the book Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note by Beers and Probst.


Click on the image below (which includes an Amazon affiliate link) to check out the book. It is divided into four parts. Part 1 focuses on issues to consider when teaching students to read nonfiction. It includes research findings and addresses many challenges faced by teachers and students alike.
Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Beers and Probst: This blog post contains free supplemental classroom resources to accompany these strategies!

Part 2 focuses on the importance of stance. The authors share three Big Questions that encourage an attentive stance when it comes to reading nonfiction:

  • What surprised me?
  • What did the author think I already knew?
  • What challenged, changed, or confirmed what I already knew?


Part 3 focuses on the five signposts. This is my favorite part, as it contains 5 well-crafted classroom-tested lessons that you can use to introduce the nonfiction signposts to your students.

  

Finally, Part 4 contains a treasure trove of seven unique strategies that students can use when reading nonfiction gets tough. Some of these were strategies that I have used with students many times in the past (like KWL 2.0), but the authors included some insightful thoughts on how to best use the strategies with nonfiction texts. Others were almost totally new to me (like Genre Reformulation).

If you decide to read the book and introduce these nonfiction signposts to your students, feel free to download the posters and task cards I created. (Just click here or on the cover image below to download them!) My intention is for the task cards to be used as a review activity after all of the signposts have been individually introduced.
FREE Notice and Note Nonfiction Posters and Task Cards! This blog post includes resources and passages to supplement the strategies outlined in the book Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note by Beers and Probst.

I included an answer sheet, but please remember that the answers shown are only possible answers. As long as students write a plausible answer that refers back to the text, I would most likely accept it as correct. 

FREE Notice and Note Nonfiction Posters and Task Cards! These FREE resources and passages are designed to supplement the strategies outlined in the book Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note by Beers and Probst.

I would love to hear about your experience with introducing signposts to your students. Feel free to comment below. Thanks for stopping by!



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FREE Notice and Note Nonfiction Posters and Task Cards! This blog post includes resources and passages to supplement the strategies outlined in the book Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note by Beers and Probst.

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