Nonfiction text features play a huge role in having our students comprehend informational text. They help readers locate important information and make connections as they read. Each year, I plan out a Text Feature Surgery classroom transformation for my students. It is probably one of the most exciting days of the year! Students dive deep into the informational text. We work on locating, identifying, understanding, and creating nonfiction text features.
Want to host your very own text feature surgery classroom transformation and get your students excited about nonfiction? I’ll walk you through the process of transforming your classroom!
Introducing Text Features
Each week, I introduce 3-4 new text features. I put up our text features posters to match the ones we are learning each week. I usually try to introduce the text features that I know they will be exposed to in their readings.
Text Feature Scavenger Hunt:
Have students work with a buddy to spot the text features inside their textbooks. For example, If you are working on graphs, subheadings, and captions that week, students can use sticky notes to jot down the different pages they found each text feature on.
Then, create a large text feature anchor chart divided into three categories: graphs, subheadings, and captions. Students can stick their post-its onto the chart with the page number where they spotted each text feature.
Watch a Video:
I have found that a great way to introduce text features is through songs and videos. Flocabulary has an amazing text feature rap! (If you are not a member of Flocabulary, I suggest you get on it! It’s a website filled with song videos to match different skills across content areas. A couple of teachers and I split the cost of the membership and it has been totally worth it!) There is also a great Text Features BrainPop Jr. Video available!
The students used a flap book in their interactive reading notebook to track the text features we learned each week. They wrote down the definition and an example of each one under the flaps.
Then, I modeled the process of reading a passage and identifying the text features within it. My third grade students labeled the text features on their own version of a passage. We discussed why they chose each text feature for the different sections in the passage.
Once I felt like my students had a basic understanding of text features, we were ready for a classroom transformation!
Prepping for Surgery Classroom Transformation
In preparation for our text feature surgery, I sent a letter home the week before the classroom transformation. This letter asked parents to donate a school-appropriate magazine for the activity. You can download the letter HERE.
If you really want to get creative, you can hang butcher paper between each of the groups to create individual ‘surgical rooms’.
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Surgery Classroom Transformation Materials:
Surgery Classroom Transformation Activities
Finally, it’s time for text feature surgery! In my class, each student had a text feature booklet with a page for each feature. The students were asked to search through different magazines and cut out the text features and paste them on the correct page.
I searched “Heart Rate Monitor” audio on YouTube to set the mood. I told the students that they had to be completely silent and focused on their surgery. Any little distraction might hurt their patient. ?
They worked collaboratively to search through their magazines to find headings, graphs, maps, diagrams, etc. It was such a fun activity! My students absolutely LOVED it and it really helped them get familiarized with text features.
Text Feature Matching Game
We also worked on sorting and matching text features using this matching text feature game. Students matched the text feature name with its definition and an example.
Follow-Up & Text Feature Assessment
The learning doesn’t stop when the surgery classroom transformation is over! Since we review text features every time we read an informational text, I decided to use some of their work from the text feature surgery as anchor charts around the class.
The students refer to these any time we discuss text features. It is student generated, which makes the referencing even more meaningful.
You can also send home these reference sheets so that students can review text features at any time! Shrink down the size when printing to create mini anchor charts for their interactive notebooks.
Text Feature Freebie
These “cheat sheets” are great to send home for easy reference. They also come in handy when glued into student literacy notebooks.
At the end of the week, I use this simple cut & paste activity to assess what students have learned about text features during our surgery classroom transformation activities.
Bonus: Teach Text Features DIGITALLY!
All of the text feature resources mentioned above are part of the Text Feature Pack in my TPT store. It now includes all of the resources in DIGITAL format as well! All activities are available in a Google Slides version where students can easily drag and drop to complete each activity. You will also find a set of Text Feature Matching Boom Cards inside the resource.
Click below to try out a Martin Luther King, Jr. informational text passage for FREE! (Other passages are included in the full text feature activity pack.)
FREE Informational Text Passage
This free passage will help your students practice text features as they read an informational text passage about Martin Luther King, Jr. Includes printable and digital versions!
More Classroom Transformation Ideas
If you loved the text feature surgery classroom transformation, then be sure to check out some of my other classroom transformation ideas! My students have loved Test Prep Boot Camp as well as Writing Construction Week and Fraction Ice Cream Day.
I LOVE watching you all transform your classrooms! Don’t forget to tag me at @SweetToothTeaching in any photos of your text feature surgery in action!
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