Ranch Elementary Students Using Different Techniques

By Cheryl Mireles – Title I Teacher  – J.O. Combs School District

Fifth and sixth-grade students at Ranch Elementary School in the J.O. Combs School District have been working on improving their reading comprehension while learning about the 12 different types of rainbows. Students used several different strategies and techniques to filter and organize information from a nonfiction passage in order to understand and remember what they read. 

Thinking Maps provided them with tools to visually organize new and difficult information. The Circle Map was used to brainstorm what they already knew about rainbows, add new knowledge, and discuss what they had learned. They developed an awareness of their own learning through this activity. The Tree Map was used for classifying, or grouping, details into categories and piecing together information that was given throughout the passage.

The Close Reading method was used to dissect the important details from each paragraph. Students blocked and numbered the paragraphs for easy reference. They were given a purpose for reading each paragraph and were instructed to underline the important details and highlight unknown words. Discussion and retelling the information followed each paragraph.

The passage contained scientific words specific to the topic of rainbows. Students wrote definitions, used words in sentences, and made an illustration for each word. Explaining their illustrations using the vocabulary helped them with understanding the text.

Students referred to their work as they discussed and retold what they had learned. Using these techniques and strategies helped the students to work smarter, not harder!