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Informational Texts

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Melissa Morris

on 4 October 2013

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Transcript of Informational Texts

Confessions of a Literature Teacher:
I Love Informational Texts!

Incorporating Informational Text
Meatless Mondays
Inquiry-based learning
Students broke off into small groups to tackle individual aspects of the project
Each group assigned a team leader who would present the group's findings
Students collaborated with peers in person and online using Google Docs to help refine their research findings
As a whole-class, students then synthesized and arranged all of their information into a cohesive argument that took the form of a PowerPoint presentation
Students presented their findings to the school administration and then to CPS officials, and Chartwells to roll-out a new Meatless Monday option for our school
How Does It Work?
It starts with choice!
Choosing a controversial or a high-interest text helps engage students on multiple levels
Differentiated instruction made simple
Structure conversations and class discussions to lead students to believe they can make a change
Have students identify the issue and have them collaborate to work on a solution
Real-world application
The outcome of the project should be something that can extend beyond the classroom
Exit Poll
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

For grade 8:
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g. print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

For grade 12:
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or a problem.
Common Core State Standard for Informational Text
Everything's an Argument
Food Inc.
Documentary released in 2009 exposes the food industry's influence on everything we consume
Main focus was to have students understand how rhetorical devices utilized in the documentary lead to the viewer to draw a conclusion
After viewing the presentation, students wanted to make a change in our school's cafeteria menu
Texts must be authentic to the students
Must be cohesive with the curriculum (article of the week/cause of the quarter/etc.)
Reading informational texts requires a unique set of reading skills that is slightly different than teaching literature
Author's purpose
Main ideas
Supporting details
Rhetorical triangle (writer-reader-text are all equally important)
Rhetorical devices

Taft Today states that eating the same food every day is harmful to your health.
The Food Safety Modernization bill was passed because it is supposed to insure that our food that is shipped from overseas is not contaminated
While the USDA tried ensuring healthier foods the “USDA plan to place new restrictions on genetically modified crops (in order to protect organic farms from contamination) was reportedly overruled by the White House.”(Michael Pollan).
We do not know which foods are genetically modified and which ones are cloned animals.
The average American eats 200 pounds of meat a year.


"Meatless Monday is not about becoming a vegetarian one day a week; it
is about cutting saturated fat significantly on that one day (by
eliminating its major food sources), which will hopefully perpetuate a
healthful message for the remainder of the week that eating a diet low
in saturated fat is not only good for us, but that it’s not difficult
and can be delicious too" (Vegan RD).

"According to researchers, the average person who cuts out meat and
high-fat dairy products one day a week will reduce his or her
consumption of saturated fat by 15%. (That's the amount recommended by
the American Heart Association, Healthy People 2010, the US Department
of Health and Human Services, and the USDA.) Thus, if people could
commit to changing their less-than-stellar eating habits just once a
week, it could mean a notable change in health outcomes" (Vegan RD).

"It is also hoped that Veggie Day will have a positive health impact
in the fight against diet-related illnesses such as obesity, cancer
and diabetes" (CNN).

Health Benefits

Serving Size: 1 PIECE (76g)
Servings Per Container: About 10
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 120 Calories 200
% Daily Value*
20%Total Fat 13g
15%Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
12%Cholesterol 35mg
17%Sodium 400mg
3%Total Carbohydrate 10g
0%Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
18%Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0%Vitamin A 0%
Iron 2%Calcium 0%
* Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Facts: Chicken Patty

Health Effects
Menu options

Meatless Mondays

Food Inc
Next steps


Ms. Morris’s 7th Period English II Class

Meatless Mondays




Meatless Monday Awareness

Academy for Global Citizenship (Chicago, Illinois)
Evanston Township High School (Evanston, Illinois)

In Illinois

Meatless Monday’s in America

Chickenless Caesar Salad Wrap
Garden Burgers
Vegetable Wraps
Spaghetti with Marinara
Vegetable tacos/Quesadillas
Grilled Vegetable Panini


Menu Options

Purchase items when they are in season.
Know your audience and purchase accordingly.
Keep produce at the correct temperature to decrease food spoilage and waste.
For some schools, charging by the ounce was a way to save money
Keep the menu small at first
Look for grants to help pay for costs

information from one elementary school that recently implemented a salad bar indicated that the start-up costs were approximately $7,000
If we assume 2,500 kids buy a spicy chicken every day then that is $4,375
Most cheap salad bars cost around $3 which would be around $7,500 if every kid bought a salad


Effects it can have

Sausage (on pizza)
Meat on nachos

Meat Served at Schools

Health Effects

Managing the Workflow
Students establish essential question
Identify main ideas from the film and connect them to our current school lunch, establishing areas of inquiry
Break off into small self-selected groups to research areas of inquiry
Students collaborate in class and online (via Google and social media such as Facebook) to share findings
Students store bookmarks for sites using delicious
Students evaluate sources to determine credibility
Students work together to establish the narrative for the presentation
Peer-edit to revise
Practice presenting
Revise again
Present to the administration

How much informational text?
By grade 4: 50% literary/50% informational
By grade 8: 45% literary/55% informational
By grade 12: 30% literary/70% informational
How do we meet the standard?
What types of informational text do we use now?
What are some challenges in incorporating it into the classroom?
How do we make it meaningful and applicable to our students?
Poll Question
Sources for Informational Texts?
Ask students what they are interested in and what websites they like to read
If you find that those sites or topics are not appropriate for class, always stick with Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher's Article of the Week http://kellygallagher.org/resources/articles.html

Integrating the Article of the Week
I post the article of the week each Monday on Edmodo. Students must:
Annotate the text or take Cornell Notes on it with questions
Highlight or cite in their notes where they become confused in the article
Draft a 1-page reflection and/or argument
On Mondays, I spend up to 15 minutes doing the following:
Giving context (i.e., verbally trying to hook students into the content using 1-3 key points or connections to the "Cause of the Quarter")
Modeling annotating, Cornell Notes
Directly instructing students on difficult vocabulary in the article
Giving students time to get started on the reading task
The goal is to have students select the next "cause of the quarter" and they select the articles and lead the discussions.
Can you keep a secret?
English teachers all across the country have been secretly reading Informational Texts in hiding. And they like them!
What is Informational Text?
text whose primary purpose is to convey information about the natural and social world.
text that typically has characteristic features such as addressing whole classes of things in a timeless way.
text that comes in many different formats, including books, magazines, handouts, brochures, and the Internet.

Teaching the Text
During the viewing, students took Cornell Notes, following the documentary's arguments and generated group discussion questions in the margins
After the viewing, students led a Socratic Seminar debating the arguments presented in the documentary and asked questions to clear up any misconceptions
Students wrote a reflection of their eating habits and pledged to make a change

Will there be a test on this?
Kind of. Nonfiction reading constitutes 85-95% of all adults' daily reading material
Reading informational text is problematic because:
Vocabulary is perplexing
Lack background knowledge on the topic
Trouble understanding structure

Text Features
Informational text (regardless of if it's print or visual) has unique features that guide the reader including:
Table of contents, headings and captions
Illustrations, maps, diagrams, photos
Glossary, indexes
Ask students "how do these features help you understand the text?"Text
Reading Strategies
Skimming for key words
Using an Elmo or SmartBoard, pull up an article and using your finger scan through the text and have students tell you when to stop when they see an interesting word. They record it and then "collect" more words. Based on the words they collected, have them predict the content.
Using a highlighter or pen, students identify the main ideas, connections to other ideas or works, questions, and draw conclusions directly on the text to help guide their understanding
Cornell Notes
Students identify the main ideas in each section and record them
Students create higher-level discussion questions in the margins
Based off of key ideas, students draft a summary at the bottom
Reciprocal Teaching
Each student takes a role, similar to literature circles: wordsmith, questioner, summarizer, connector and then takes turns teaching each other about their findings
Full transcript