Annotations help make students’ thinking visible.
What is this lesson component or teaching method?
When readers annotate a text, they write notes in symbols and words. Annotating can involve highlighting, underlining, marking with symbols (e.g., writing “?” next to confusing sections), asking questions, jotting notes, defining important terms, and writing short summaries of important ideas. Annotating helps students monitor their comprehension and make meaning as they read. It also gives teachers data on students’ reading comprehension before students begin discussing or writing about the text.
How does Newsela fit into this lesson component or teaching method?
Students use Newsela’s built-in annotation tool to annotate articles as they read. They can highlight, mark with symbols, ask questions, jot notes, and write short summaries of important ideas, among other things. If desired, the teacher can even develop a standard set of annotation symbols (e.g., ? for confusing sections, ! for interesting points, * for important information) that students use when reading any text. Teachers can circulate as students read and immediately diagnose misunderstandings. What teachers notice when circulating may prompt a quick conference to guide the student to fill in comprehension gaps or potentially coaching to read the article at a lower or higher reading level.
When teaching students how to annotate, teachers can annotate an article while students watch the Newsela article projected on the board. The teacher can leave the model annotations projected on the board as a reference while students work. Teachers who are users can also share an article with model annotations with students so there is a permanent model students can refer to throughout the year.
Teachers who are users can respond to students’ annotations, perhaps answering questions in writing or praising astute analysis. users can also share questions that require students to think about specific aspects as they read an article, which could prompt students to use a skill taught in that day’s lesson or focus students on particularly important or complex sections.
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