Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
May 9, 2016

Before, During, and After Informational Text Activities

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    We all have our go to teaching tools: special books, favorite formative assessments, and special subscriptions. With the limited budget of a teacher, I always try to find the finances to make sure that my class has a subscription to the Scholastic magazine of my grade level. In kindergarten, that magazine is called, Let’s Find Out. In preschool it’s called My Big World with Clifford.

    If these subscriptions were just for magazines, I might have to rethink my devotion to them, but there is so much more provided that your students will love and will make your life so much easier. I have broken down the activities into before reading the magazine, during reading the magazine, and after reading the magazine.

    You can use these strategies with any informational text. I’m using the Scholastic magazines as my example because they provide all the important before, during, and after materials for me, but you can incorporate all of these ideas on your own with a little time.

    My Big World with CliffordLet's Find Out

    Before:

    The teacher guide that accompanies your subscription provides a worksheet that is easily copied (no weird binding, just lay the sheet out flat and hit "start"). These are great sheets to either begin your day with, or use it as a focus activity and have your students complete it as they come together. These sheets are typically skill based and often math related.

    Daniel Working

    Background knowledge is a key to any experience that your children have during their academic career. For a lot of the upper grades, the background knowledge comes from the previous grades. For our beginning learners in pre-k and kindergarten, we need to provide a lot of that background knowledge. The videos that are part of Scholastic magazines' online materials are perfect for that. They also introduce your class to important vocabulary that they will encounter throughout the learning.

    Video Vocabulary

    User Tip: Have your class watch the video all the way through the first time. Then replay the video and stop to ask questions. Make sure to use a variety of questions (recall, comparing, and higher order) with your class.

    During:

    Of course the "during" is actually using the informational text. Once you have established some level of background knowledge for everyone, then you get to do the teaching, the instruction, the meat of the lesson. Talking about vocabulary, reading fluently, and active engagement through questions are just a few of the great things that occur while using informational text.

    Every issue of the Scholastic magazine comes with a big copy of the magazine. This makes it so much easier for kids to follow along as we go through the information.

    Big Copy

    Working on informational text is the perfect time to pull in science and social studies topics. This is another reason that I love my Scholastic magazines. They send monthly packs of magazines that are seasonally themed and always go along with what I need to cover with my class.

     Following along with Informational Text

    This is the part of the lesson where you hear the kids making their connections! Even if that connection comes out during a lesson on dolphins as “My aunt has a dolphin tattoo on her shoulder where the dolphin is jumping up just like this picture!”  A connection is a connection!

    The back page of the magazine usually has a fun activity that the class loves doing. The skills covered on these pages are typically skills that I need to assess. By giving directions and letting them show me what they can do, I have assessment data that shows their current level of mastery, but the kids never feel stressed out.

    Victor

    User Tip: Incorporate movement during the three parts of an informational text lesson. Between each section, have the students move to different parts of the room.

    After:

    The online content contains two things that are always great wrap-up activities. The first is paper/pencil activity. Many times this material covers vocabulary or a more specific skill that is covered while going over the magazine.

    The other online content is an online game. I project the game as I do the video during the "before" activity and we play as a class. Different students get called up to answer the questions. This is always a favorite time for the class.

    Online Game

    User Tip: I have my class count to three with me before they call out the answer during the game. This gives everyone a chance to come up with an answer before the answer is called out.

    I need to make sure that I point out one more thing about Scholastic magazines. In My Big World with Clifford, the page numbers are there but then beside that number is a corresponding number of pictures associated with that issues topic (e.g. starfish in the dolphin issue). Every part of these magazines offer opportunities to learn or review.

    page 2 Page 3

    Remember, you don't have to have a subscription to use the before, during, and after activities although with the Scholastic magazines I am able to spend my planning time on other needs because they cover all these areas so well.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time . . . for the best summer reading list ever

    We all have our go to teaching tools: special books, favorite formative assessments, and special subscriptions. With the limited budget of a teacher, I always try to find the finances to make sure that my class has a subscription to the Scholastic magazine of my grade level. In kindergarten, that magazine is called, Let’s Find Out. In preschool it’s called My Big World with Clifford.

    If these subscriptions were just for magazines, I might have to rethink my devotion to them, but there is so much more provided that your students will love and will make your life so much easier. I have broken down the activities into before reading the magazine, during reading the magazine, and after reading the magazine.

    You can use these strategies with any informational text. I’m using the Scholastic magazines as my example because they provide all the important before, during, and after materials for me, but you can incorporate all of these ideas on your own with a little time.

    My Big World with CliffordLet's Find Out

    Before:

    The teacher guide that accompanies your subscription provides a worksheet that is easily copied (no weird binding, just lay the sheet out flat and hit "start"). These are great sheets to either begin your day with, or use it as a focus activity and have your students complete it as they come together. These sheets are typically skill based and often math related.

    Daniel Working

    Background knowledge is a key to any experience that your children have during their academic career. For a lot of the upper grades, the background knowledge comes from the previous grades. For our beginning learners in pre-k and kindergarten, we need to provide a lot of that background knowledge. The videos that are part of Scholastic magazines' online materials are perfect for that. They also introduce your class to important vocabulary that they will encounter throughout the learning.

    Video Vocabulary

    User Tip: Have your class watch the video all the way through the first time. Then replay the video and stop to ask questions. Make sure to use a variety of questions (recall, comparing, and higher order) with your class.

    During:

    Of course the "during" is actually using the informational text. Once you have established some level of background knowledge for everyone, then you get to do the teaching, the instruction, the meat of the lesson. Talking about vocabulary, reading fluently, and active engagement through questions are just a few of the great things that occur while using informational text.

    Every issue of the Scholastic magazine comes with a big copy of the magazine. This makes it so much easier for kids to follow along as we go through the information.

    Big Copy

    Working on informational text is the perfect time to pull in science and social studies topics. This is another reason that I love my Scholastic magazines. They send monthly packs of magazines that are seasonally themed and always go along with what I need to cover with my class.

     Following along with Informational Text

    This is the part of the lesson where you hear the kids making their connections! Even if that connection comes out during a lesson on dolphins as “My aunt has a dolphin tattoo on her shoulder where the dolphin is jumping up just like this picture!”  A connection is a connection!

    The back page of the magazine usually has a fun activity that the class loves doing. The skills covered on these pages are typically skills that I need to assess. By giving directions and letting them show me what they can do, I have assessment data that shows their current level of mastery, but the kids never feel stressed out.

    Victor

    User Tip: Incorporate movement during the three parts of an informational text lesson. Between each section, have the students move to different parts of the room.

    After:

    The online content contains two things that are always great wrap-up activities. The first is paper/pencil activity. Many times this material covers vocabulary or a more specific skill that is covered while going over the magazine.

    The other online content is an online game. I project the game as I do the video during the "before" activity and we play as a class. Different students get called up to answer the questions. This is always a favorite time for the class.

    Online Game

    User Tip: I have my class count to three with me before they call out the answer during the game. This gives everyone a chance to come up with an answer before the answer is called out.

    I need to make sure that I point out one more thing about Scholastic magazines. In My Big World with Clifford, the page numbers are there but then beside that number is a corresponding number of pictures associated with that issues topic (e.g. starfish in the dolphin issue). Every part of these magazines offer opportunities to learn or review.

    page 2 Page 3

    Remember, you don't have to have a subscription to use the before, during, and after activities although with the Scholastic magazines I am able to spend my planning time on other needs because they cover all these areas so well.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next time . . . for the best summer reading list ever

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Brian's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Book Buzz: Successfully Welcome New Students

You never know when you will be adding one more student to your classroom family. Use these books and ideas to make it a smooth and successful transition for everyone involved.

By Brian Smith
October 31, 2016
Blog Post
Book Buzz: An Election for All Ages

Presidential elections can be tricky to teach. Use these books and activities to teach the process without the politics.

By Brian Smith
September 19, 2016
Blog Post
Book Buzz: Icebreaker Activities

Use these four books and icebreaker activities to get your Pre-K and lower elementary schools students sharing and engaged those first few days of school.

By Brian Smith
August 22, 2016
My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us