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Lesson Four


 

Essential Element: Comprehension

 

Framework(s):

  • R.9.5.11 Use such comprehension strategies as establishing purpose, inferring, and

summarizing, to determine essential information

  • R.9.6.11 Use text information and background knowledge to draw conclusions

and to make inferences (e.g., theme, etc.)

 

  • R.9.5.12-6.12 Identify main ideas and supporting evidence in short reading

passage

  • R.9.7.12 Identify main ideas and supporting evidence in short stories and novels

R.9.8.15

 

  • R.9.8.14 Classify and organize information from more than one text, based on

purpose and/or level of importance

 

  • R.9.5.13-7.13 Use the text features to locate and recall information

R.9.8.16

 

  • R.9.5.14-7.14 Use knowledge of text structure(s) to enhance understanding

  • R.9.8.17 Determine text structure(s) to enhance understanding

 

  • R.9.5.15 Classify and organize text information by level of importance in a

variety of ways, including timelines and graphic organizers, to support

and explain ideas

  • R.9.6.15 Classify and organize text information by determining subtopics of

information

 

  • R.9.7.15 Organize information, including simple outlining

R.9.8.18

 

  • R.9.5.16 Scan materials to locate specific information

  • R.9.6.16 Use skimming and scanning to locate specific information to develop a

general overview

 

  • R.9.7.16 Use skimming, scanning, note-taking, outlining, and questioning as

R.9.8.19 study strategies

 

  • R.9.5.17 Skim materials to develop a general overview

  • R.9.6.17 Analyze information from the text, based on purpose and/or level of

Importance

 

 

 

Rationale:

Determining important ideas and information in text is central to making sense of reading and moving toward insight. Nonfiction reading is reading to learn. Readers of nonfiction have to decide and remember what is important in the texts they read if they are going to learn anything from them. Nonfiction is full of features, text cues, and structures that signal importance and scaffold understanding for readers. When kids read and understand nonfiction, they build background for the topic and acquire new knowledge. The ability to identify essential ideas and important information is a prerequisite to developing insight. (Harvey & Goudvis)

The Cornell Method Note-making strategy requires that students determine importance and self-question as they read, comprehension strategies that good readers use to make sense of text.

 

 

Materials:

  • Informational text

  • Cornell Method organizer (or students may create their own)

  • Overhead projector

  • Transparency of first paragraph of reading selection and graphic organizer

 

 

Direct Explanation:

Today we are going to learn a strategy for studying and reviewing important information found in your subject areas. The Cornell Method Note-making strategy is a great organizational tool for recording notes and mastering the information. The Cornell Method organizer is divided into three parts? questions, details, and main idea. First, you will skim the text to note the topics and sub-topics. Then you will change those topics and sub-topics into questions. After reading the text, you’ll jot down any details that answer the questions in the corresponding columns.” (Students write only words and phrases, never sentences and never word-for-word copying.) When appropriate, the students can formulate main ideas that reflect the central thought of the details they’ve listed. They may then be asked to write a summary of the entire passage based on the series of main ideas (optional).

 

 

Model: (Can be done in more than one class session.)

  • Place a short section (with subheadings) of the selected text on the overhead projector.

  • Think aloud as you survey the textbook excerpt, talking about the title, subheadings, etc. Discuss the fact that titles, subheadings, etc. often point to the main idea of the passage.

  • Show students how to convert topics and subtopics into questions by writing questions about the topic based on the title or subheading and any pictures. To do this, ask what the various text features might mean? title, headings, subheadings, etc. (You are formulating questions from the headings, sub-headings, etc.)

  • Display a transparency of the Cornell Method graphic organizer chart as you write your questions in the QUESTION portion of the chart. (See sample solution.) Explain that these questions help provide a focus for reading.

  • Now read the paragraph aloud, underlining/highlighting information that responds to your questions. (Think out loud as you distinguish essential information vs. interesting information.)

  • When finished, write responses to questions in the DETAILS section of the chart (displayed on the overhead) with the details you underlined or highlighted.

  • If there are any unanswered questions, go back through the passage again to find details that match your question. If you cannot find the details, put a question mark (?) next to the question.

 

When appropriate (this may be done at another time when you feel that your students are ready):

  • Discuss the concept of “main idea” with students. Note that:

*The first and last sentences of a paragraph often point to the main idea.

*The title or subheadings may help identify the main idea of a passage.

*Common ideas or concepts in the DETAILS portion of the chart help identify

main idea.

  • Model the process of identifying main idea for students. What is the central thought of the information? What is this passage/section telling me? What does the author want me to remember about this information? Record the “Main Idea” on the chart. (Discuss and answer student questions.)

  • Model how to do a self-assessment using the key at the bottom of the form. (√-I know this; ?-I have a question about this; *I need to review this more.)

  • Tell the students that they can use the self-evaluation key to determine how much of their reading they understand and how much they still have questions about. To model the self-assessment:

*Check off (√) items you understand.

*Put a question mark (?) next to details/questions you are still unsure of.

*Put an asterisk (*) next to all details that you still need to review for understanding.

 

 

Guided Practice:

Now have students read the remainder of the assigned text and work in pairs to practice note-making. Remind students to follow the same procedure that was modeled for them as they make notes for this text selection-questions, details, and main ideas (if appropriate). Stop periodically to collect details and main ideas that answer the corresponding questions. (This should be done collaboratively.) Students can make their notes on a transparency or on chart paper so that they can post and share with the entire class. After students have completed the note-making activity, ask some students to model the information by discussing the questions formulated, the important details included, and the main ideas (if appropriate at this time) that represent the central thoughts. Note the information that is repeated among groups. This helps confirm that they have focused on important information and correctly identified main ideas.

 

 

Application:

Provide enough guided practice for your students so that they feel comfortable with the process.

 

 

Assessment: After students have completed their note-making chart, ask them to write a summary of the information. (Remind them that a summary is essentially a series of main ideas.) The summary will be assessed based on a rubric with an emphasis on essential ideas and important information.

 

 

Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Work in a peer group or with a partner

  • Use Pairs-Read strategy to process the informational text

  • Record questions and details on chart paper

 

Assessment: After students have completed their note-making chart, ask them to write a summary of the information. (Remind them that a summary is essentially a series of main ideas.) The summary will be assessed based on a rubric with an emphasis on essential ideas and important information.

 

 

Tier III Modifications:

  • Work with a peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer, or teacher to determine the important information from the text

  • Use Pairs-Read strategy to process the informational text

  • Record questions and details on chart paper

  • Use sticky notes to record important details and place on chart paper in appropriate column

 

Assessment: Student is responsible for a determined number of essential ideas and important information.

 

 

Tier IV Modifications:

  • Peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer or teacher will read text with student

  • Questions and details will be recorded using drawings, pictures and/or icons

  • Student will record details on chart paper in the appropriate column when prompted to do so.

 

Assessment: Student will be responsible for a determined number of essential ideas and important information.

 

 

 

 

Tier V Modifications:

  • Text length will be shortened and simplified

  • Peer, paraprofessional, parent volunteer or teacher will read text with student

  • Questions and details will be recorded using drawings, pictures and/or icons

 

Assessment: Student will be responsible for selecting an essential idea from the icons/pictures/drawings.

 

Determining Importance + Cornell Note-making

 

References:

 

Harvey and Goudvis (2000) Strategies That Work, Stenhouse Publishers.

 

Arkansas Department of Education (2004) “Smart Step/Next Step Strategies for the Content Areas”

 

Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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