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ELA G4:M2B:U1:L5

Reading Scientific Text: Building Expertise on Animal Defense Mechanisms

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can paraphrase portions of a text that is read aloud to me. (SL.4.2)
  • I can interpret information presented through charts or graphs. I can explain how that information helps me understand the text around it. (RI.4.7)
  • I can determine the main idea using specific details from the text. (RI.4.2)

Supporting Targets

Learning TargetsOngoing Assessments
  • I can paraphrase information presented in a read-aloud on animal defense mechanisms.
  • I can make inferences about animal defense mechanisms by examining articles that include text and visuals.
  • I can determine the main idea of a section of Animal Behaviors: Animal Defenses.
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (page 7 of Animal Defenses research journal)
  • Examining Visuals note-catcher (page 8 of Animal Defenses research journal)
  • Determining Main Ideas note-catcher (pages 9 and 10 of Animal Defenses research journal)
  • Observation of participation during Jigsaw

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud of Venom (10 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Examining Visuals (20 minutes)

B. Rereading an Informational Text: Determining the Main Idea (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL Chart (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Continue your independent reading.

  • During the Opening of this lesson, students listen and take notes as a section in Venom titled, “A Meal to Remember,” is read aloud.  Note that in Unit 2 students will reread this excerpt of as a part of their mid and end of unit assessment.  Students will need to reference their notes on this section of the text during these assessments, so be sure they keep their notes.
  • Students begin the same process used in Lessons 2–4 to closely read a section of the central text Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses. They examine a visual and think about how it helps them better understand the text, then read and reread the same section for the main idea and supporting details. This process continues into Lesson 6.
  • Students will use the Jigsaw protocol to read the predetermined sections in Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses. In Lesson 5, they work with their expert groups to closely examine a visual and determine the main idea of their section. In Lesson 6, they will continue working in these groups to identify details that support that main idea, and then will meet with students who read different sections of the text to share the main idea and supporting details.
  • The four sections from Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses that students work with in Lessons 5 and 6 were chosen based on the overall structure of the book. By reading these specific sections, students will get a general overview of what animal defense mechanisms are as well as an introduction to several types of defense mechanisms (chemical defenses and warning colors, venom, and mimicry).
  • Since one section is about venom, which has been discussed in previous lessons, consider assigning this section to students who are struggling. The background knowledge they have built in Lessons 1–4 will support them in tackling this text.
  • In advance: Determine expert groups for Jigsaw protocol (three groups total).
  • Review: Jigsaw protocol (see Appendix).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

VocabularyMaterials

determine, camouflage, mimicry

  • Venom (book for teacher read-aloud, pages 74–75)
  • Document camera
  • Animal Defenses Research Journal (from Lesson 1)
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (page 7 of Animal Defenses research journal; one per student and one to display)
  • Listening Closely note-catcher (completed, for teacher reference)
  • Equity sticks
  • Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses (one per student and one to display)

–   Teacher model—“Avoiding Danger” (pages 7–9, stopping at “Self-Defense”; last 2 paragraphs on page 21; “Escape Artists” first two paragraphs on page 22)      

–   Group 1—“Bad Smells, Bad Tastes, and Powerful Poisons” (page 55–top of 56, stopping at “Poisonous Prey”; pages 58–60)

–   Group 2—“Venomous Stings and Bites” (page 83; “How Venom Works” box on page 86; “Stinging Tentacles” pages 77–78)

–   Group 3—“Mimicry” (pages 91–94)

  • Examining Visuals note-catcher (page 8 of Animal Defenses research journal; one per student and one to display)
  • Examining Visuals note-catcher (completed, for teacher reference)
  • Sticky notes
  • Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (pages 9 and 10 of Animal Defenses research journal; one per student and one to display)
  • Determining the Main Idea note-catcher (completed, for teacher reference)
  • Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL Chart (page 1 of Animal Defenses research journal; from Lesson 1; one per student and one to display)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Read-aloud of Venom (10 minutes)

  • Display the cover of Venom so all students can see. Open to pages 26 and 27 and ask:

*   “What did we learn about animal defense mechanisms when we read aloud Venom a few days ago?” 

  • Listen for responses like: “Fire ants sting their enemies to defend themselves.” Validate responses and explain to students that they will be listening to another section of Venom today.
  • Using a document camera, display blank Listening Closely note-catcher and invite students to open to the next one on page 7 in their Animal Defenses research journals. Remind students that they have been using this note-catcher to record information heard during a read-aloud.
  • Use equity sticks to call on students. Review how to use the note-catcher by asking:

*   “What kind of information do we record in each part of this note-catcher?”

  • Listen for responses like: “We record facts about ants in the first column, how ants protect themselves in the middle column, and explain how that helps the ant survive in the right-hand column. We write a gist statement at the bottom.”
  • Remind students that they will listen to a new part of Venom read aloud several times. Remind them that the first time they hear it, they should simply listen to what is being read. The second time they hear it read, they should begin to fill in the table.
  • Read aloud the section “A Meal to Remember—If You Live That Long” on pages 74 and 75. Do not read the other sections: “Danger Down Below” or “And Now for Something Completely Different.”
  • Invite students to turn and talk with a neighbor, sharing one interesting thing they heard during the read-aloud. Use equity sticks to call on two students to share what their partners found interesting.
  • Tell students that they will now hear pages 74 and 75 read aloud a second time and should now record notes in the note-catcher.
  • Read aloud pages 74 and 75 in Venom, stopping briefly after each paragraph. If necessary during each short pause, remind students to fill in notes on their note-catchers.
  • Invite students to turn and talk with a partner. Ask:

*   “What is an example of how pufferfish protect themselves?”

  • Listen for responses like: “They inflate themselves so they are too large to swallow.”
  • Ask:

*   “What was the gist of this section?”

  • Listen for responses like: “This section was mostly about how pufferfish protect themselves by inflating or by their poison.”
  • Point to the question below the table on the graphic organizer—“Explain in your own words what this section of Venom was about?” Tell students to jot down the gist of this part of the text on these lines. If necessary, prompt students by asking: “What was this part of the text mostly about?”
  • Remind students they will have many more opportunities to read this book, and can read through it on their own during independent reading or in their free time during the school day if they wish
  • Whole class discussions encourage respectful and active listening, as well as social construction of knowledge.
  • Hearing a complex text read slowly, fluently, and without interruption or explanation promotes fluency for students; they are hearing a strong reader read the text aloud with accuracy and expression, and are simultaneously looking at and thinking about the words on the printed page. Be sure to set clear expectations that students read along silently in their heads as you read the text aloud.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Use equity sticks to call on a student to read the remaining learning targets:

–   “I can paraphrase information presented in a read-aloud on animal defense mechanisms.”

–   “I can make inferences about animal defense mechanisms by examining articles that include text and visuals.”

–   “I can determine the main idea of a section of Animal Behaviors: Animal Defenses.

  • Tell students that they will begin reading a new text about animal defense mechanisms. Build up the excitement!
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Examining Visuals (20 minutes)

  • Distribute copies of Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses. Invite students to flip through the book and Think-Pair-Share, discussing what they notice and wonder about the book.
  • Use equity sticks to call on students to share their observations and questions. Listen for students sharing observations about the parts of the book like the table of contents, glossary, and index and point out these parts if students do not share them on their own. Only answer clarifying questions for now; for other questions, respond with something like: “You’ll find that out as you read this book and work with it more closely throughout this module.”
  • Preview Lessons 5 and 6: Tell students that they are going to go through the same process they just went through in reading “Award-Winning Survival Skills” to closely read and reread sections of this book in order to learn more about animal defense mechanisms. Explain that they will begin by examining visuals and reading sections for the gist, then reread for the main idea and supporting details, and then reread it again to create a scientific drawing. They will work in expert groups to read specific sections and then, in the next lesson, share what they have learned from that section in Jigsaw groups.
  • Tell students that today, they will start by examining a visual in a section of the book using the Examining Visuals note-catcher (page 8 of their research journals) to record information and inferences about the visual their group is examining closely. Remind students that they did this in Lesson 2. Display a copy of the note-catcher and invite students to turn to the Examining Visuals note-catcher on page 8 of their research journals.
  • Briefly review Steps 1–3 and the first two columns on the note-catcher. Clarify that students will complete only the first two columns prior to reading their section of text. Review Steps 4 and 5 and the heading of the last column (“Details in the Text That Support My Inferences”). Clarify that students will read their section of the text and then complete the last column.
  • Explain to students that before they break into groups to do this, they will practice while looking at a visual in the text together.
  • Invite students to turn to page 8 in the book and examine the photograph and caption, thinking about what details they notice. Use equity sticks to call on three to four students to share their observations. Listen for things like: “I noticed that this is also a photograph of a springbok,” or “The springbok bounces into the air with stiff legs to show predators they are hard to catch.” Add students’ observations to the “Details from the Visual” column. Tell students not to write anything on their graphic organizers.
  • Point to Step 3 on the graphic organizer and explain to students that now they will use the details they observed in the visual and their background knowledge to make inferences about the springbok.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share. Ask:

*   “What do you infer about the springbok? What details from the visual did you base your inference on?”

  • Once students have had time to discuss their inferences, use equity sticks to call on students to share an inference. Tell students to use the sentence frame: “We infer _______ because the visual/caption shows/says _______.” Record what students share in the “My Inferences” column on the graphic organizer.
  • If necessary, model briefly. Say something like: “I infer that the springbok’s jumping shows it’s hard to catch because the predator can see its muscles and see how quick it is. I infer this because the visual shows the springbok’s leg muscles and the caption says ‘hard to catch,’ which means they must be fast.” [Write inference in the “My Inferences” column.]
  • Point to the note on the graphic organizer and remind students that they will not be filling in the right-hand column yet. Explain that now they will listen to the text read aloud, listening for details that support their inferences.
  • Read aloud pages 7–9, the last two paragraphs on page 21, and the first two paragraphs on page 22. Invite students to follow along in their copies of the text as you read, placing a sticky note in the text by details that support their inferences.
  • After reading, ask:

*   “What details support our inferences about the springbok?” 

  • Listen for responses like: “On page 8 it says, ‘Their odd jumping behavior, called stotting, signals to the cheetah, ‘We have seen you, so do not bother to chase us—we are strong and healthy and can outrun you.’” Model writing details on the note-catcher, including the page number after each detail.
  • Tell students that now they will do this in small groups. Break students into three groups. Tell students to circle their group page assignments on the note-catcher for Steps 1 and 4.
  • Ask students to review what it looks like and sounds like when working in a small group of peers. Listen for responses like: “Wait my turn to speak, so I am heard; don’t shout/speak too loudly; make sure everyone gets a turn to speak; no one person does most/all of the speaking; use information from text to support my ideas.”
  • Prompt students through the steps by inviting them to turn to the visual for their group (the assigned page in Step 1—group 1 turns to page 59, group 2 turns to page 78, and group 3 turns to page 92).
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share. Ask:

*   “What do you infer about the springbok? What details from the visual did you base your inference on?”

  • Once students have had time to discuss their inferences, use equity sticks to call on students to share an inference. Tell students to use the sentence frame: “We infer _______ because the visual/caption shows/says _______.” Record what students share in the “My Inferences” column on the graphic organizer.
  • If necessary, model briefly. Say something like: “I infer that the springbok’s jumping shows it’s hard to catch because the predator can see its muscles and see how quick it is. I infer this because the visual shows the springbok’s leg muscles and the caption says ‘hard to catch,’ which means they must be fast.” [Write inference in the “My Inferences” column.]
  • Point to the note on the graphic organizer and remind students that they will not be filling in the right-hand column yet. Explain that now they will listen to the text read aloud, listening for details that support their inferences.
  • Read aloud pages 7–9, the last two paragraphs on page 21, and the first two paragraphs on page 22. Invite students to follow along in their copies of the text as you read, placing a sticky note in the text by details that support their inferences.
  • After reading, ask:

*   “What details support our inferences about the springbok?” 

  • Listen for responses like: “On page 8 it says, ‘Their odd jumping behavior, called stotting, signals to the cheetah, ‘We have seen you, so do not bother to chase us—we are strong and healthy and can outrun you.’” Model writing details on the note-catcher, including the page number after each detail.
  • Tell students that now they will do this in small groups. Break students into three groups. Tell students to circle their group page assignments on the note-catcher for Steps 1 and 4.
  • Ask students to review what it looks like and sounds like when working in a small group of peers. Listen for responses like: “Wait my turn to speak, so I am heard; don’t shout/speak too loudly; make sure everyone gets a turn to speak; no one person does most/all of the speaking; use information from text to support my ideas.”
  • Prompt students through the steps by inviting them to turn to the visual for their group (the assigned page in Step 1—group 1 turns to page 59, group 2 turns to page 78, and group 3 turns to page 92).
  • After 6–8 minutes, invite students to share initial thinking in their small groups:

*   “What makes sense? What is confusing?”

  • Then ask them to reread their section of the text together, looking for details that support their inferences about the visual examined earlier. Ask students to record these details in the right-hand column of their note-catchers, including the page number where they found that detail. Circulate to support as needed. Probe by asking: “What details support your inferences about the visual?” or “How does that detail support your inference?” Support students who rated themselves with a fist, one finger, or two fingers during the Fist-to-Five for this target in Lesson 2.
  • Use the Fist-to-Five Checking for Understanding technique to have students briefly reflect on the learning target: “I can make inferences about animal defense mechanisms by examining an article that includes text and visuals,” with a fist being “I am not confident that I can meet this target on my own” and a five being “I can make inferences about articles that include texts and visuals on my own.” Note students who show a fist, one, or two fingers to provide further support in future lessons.

  • The teacher may offer selected shorter passages to specific groups based on the readiness and needs of the group. This provides an opportunity for students to read a complex text within the fourth-grade level span, but differentiates the length of the text, not the complexity.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide the necessary scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning. For students needing additional support, provide a partially filled-in graphic organizer.
  • Provide ELLs with a sentence starter or frame to aid in language production. For example: In the visual I see …
  • Some students may benefit from having key sections pre-highlighted in their texts. This will help them focus on small sections rather than scanning the whole text for answers.

B. Rereading an Informational Text: Determining the Main Idea (20 minutes)

  • Tell students they will now reread their section of Animal Behavior: Animal Defenses a second time to determine the main idea of their section. Invite students to open to pages 9 and 10 in their research journals, to the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher.
  • Explain that students will continue to work with their expert groups and determine the main idea of their section and that in the next lesson, they will reread to identify details that support the main idea of their section. Ask:

*   “How do we determine the main idea of a section of text?” 

  • Listen for students describing the process introduced in Lesson 3, saying things like: “We read the text paragraph by paragraph, and after each paragraph ask ourselves, ‘What is this text about?’ We revise our thinking about the main idea as we read.”
  • Tell students they will then write the main idea in the box for their section only. Explain that they should leave the other sections blank for now, and the “Supporting Details” boxes blank for now as well.
  • Review determining the main idea of “Avoiding Danger” (pages 7–9, the last two paragraphs on page 21, and the first two paragraphs on page 22) and going through the process just discussed. Have students turn and talk after each paragraph before discussing the main idea or revised thinking with the whole group. Model recording the main idea in the appropriate box on the Determining the Main Idea note-catcher and ask students to do the same.
  • Review working in a small group by asking:

*   “What does it look like or sound like when working in a small group with your peers?”

  • Listen for responses like: “Wait my turn to speak, so I am heard; don’t shout/speak too loudly; make sure everyone gets a turn to speak; no one person does most/all of the speaking; use information from text to support my ideas.”
  • Give students 15 minutes to work through the steps with their partners to determine the main idea of their section. Circulate and support as needed. Listen for students using the steps to determine the main idea of the text and following class norms when working in a small group. Probe by asking: “What was this section mostly about?” or “How does everything fit together into the one most important idea?”
  • After 15 minutes, invite students to show a thumbs-up if they were able to determine the main idea of their section and a thumbs-down if they were not. Praise students showing a thumbs-up. Be sure to check in with students who gave a thumbs-down during the group work in Lesson 6.
  • The teacher may offer selected shorter passages to specific groups based on the readiness and needs of the group. This provides an opportunity for students to read a complex text within the fourth-grade level span, but differentiates the length of the text, not the complexity.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide the necessary scaffolding that is especially critical for learners with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning. For students needing additional support, provide a partially filled-in graphic organizer.
  • Provide ELLs with a sentence starter or frame to aid in language production. For example: I think this text is about …
  • Some students may benefit from having key sections pre-highlighted in their texts. This will help them focus on small sections rather than scanning the whole text for answers.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL Chart (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to turn to the Animal Defense Mechanisms: KWL chart in their research journals. Remind students that scientists always reflect on and record what they’ve learned.
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share. Ask:

*   “Were any of your questions answered in the text that you read today?”

*   “What new information did you learn from your section of the text?”

  • Tell students to write the answers to any questions they had in the W column in the “I Learned” column, in the “Information” section. Include the name of the book and page number in the “Source” column.
  • Encourage students to also write one new piece of information they learned from the book in the “I Learned” column.

Assessment

None

Homework

Homework
  • Continue your independent reading.

Supporting Materials

None

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