Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Text Mapping and Context Clues

This week our focus in reading is reviewing context clues. Recently, our school purchased an amazing resource to support the informational genre- The Comprehension Toolkit. The more that we use this resource, the more I. LOVE. IT!!...and so do the students! :) Each reading strategy is centered around several informational articles taken from sources like National Geographic for Kids, Discovery Kids, Time for Kids, and many others. The articles are all centered around high interest topics and subjects that the students can really relate to! THANK YOU to the creators of this toolkit.

It just so happens that our strategy of using context clues this week, leads us to an article in the Toolkit about the Titanic. The students have been so interested in this amazing "colossus", because the 100th anniversary is approaching. What an awesome time to introduce this article! The students had a great time sharing their "BK" (background knowledge) about the subject. It was very interesting listening to them discuss what they know about the ship! :) My favorite was that there were "signs" in the water that an iceberg was there but the captain wouldn't listen!

We reviewed inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words by discussing the different types of clues to help us in figuring out the unknown word. We also discussed the equation- BK+TC=I...Background Knowledge+ Text Clues= Inference.

The students then went into their groups and used the Titanic article from Kid's Discovery magazine to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words. The Titanic article is a lengthy 9 page article, so for the students to work easily together without flipping back and forth through pages, we used a strategy called text mapping. In text mapping, an article's pages are laid out side my side to make it easy for many to see all at one time.

The students then read the article and charted words they were unfamiliar with on a context clues graphic organizer. They were to apply their background knowledge plus context clues to infer the meanings of these words, and then use each word in a new sentence.

Each pair of students completed a graphic organizer. All in all, they did an awesome job with inferring the meanings of unknown words. It makes me so happy to see that they have also transferred our equation- BK+TC=I into other avenues of their learning. I. LOVE. IT!! Way to go guys! :)

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