Series Analyzing Texts: Analyzing Texts: Overview of a Lesson Series


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • SL:  Speaking and Listening
  • 5:  5th Grade
  • 1:  Engage effectively in a range of collaborative
    discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled)
    with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and
    texts, building on others'\x80\x99 ideas and expressing
    their own clearly.

    a. Come to discussions prepared, having read
    or studied required material; explicitly draw
    on that preparation and other information
    known about the topic to explore ideas under

    b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and
    carry out assigned roles.

    c. Pose and respond to specific questions by
    making comments that contribute to the
    discussion and elaborate on the remarks of

    d. Review the key ideas expressed and draw
    conclusions in light of information and
    knowledge gained from the discussions.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RI:  Reading Standards for Informational Text K-\x80\x935
  • 5:  5th Grade
  • 1: 
    Quote accurately from a text when explaining
    what the text says explicitly and when drawing
    inferences from the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • W:  Writing Standards K-5
  • 5:  5th Grade
  • 2b: 
    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a
    topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    a. Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general
    observation and focus, and group related
    information logically; include formatting (e.g.,
    headings), illustrations, and multimedia when
    useful to aiding comprehension.

    b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions,
    concrete details, quotations, or other
    information and examples related to the topic.

    c. Link ideas within and across categories of
    information using words, phrases, and clauses
    (e.g., in contrast, especially).

    d. Use precise language and domain-specific
    vocabulary to inform about or explain the

    e. Provide a concluding statement or section
    related to the information or explanation

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Analyzing Texts: Overview of a Lesson Series

Lesson Objective: Discuss, analyze, and write about an informational text
Grade 5 / ELA / Nonfiction
ELA.SL.5.1 | ELA.RI.5.1 | ELA.W.5.2b


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Brewer plan tasks that address Common Core Standards across ELA (Speaking & Listening, Reading, and Writing)?
  2. What makes these lessons both distinct and connected?
  3. How does Ms. Brewer think about her particular students when planning these lessons?


  • Private message to Kelsey Pratt

1.) To begin with, Ms. Brewer addresses the Common Core task of engaging effectively in a range of collaborative discussions through incorporating 'Text Talk Time' in her classroom. At this point, all of the students are able to participate in a group-wide discussion by sitting in an open circle on the floor and viewing eachother. In this open setting, the fifth grade students were able to practice the task of quoting accurately from the Lewis and Clark text and drawing inferences. For example, Ms. Brewer hit another common core standard when she asked them to consider the viewpoint of the author towards Lewis and Clark as historical figures. She also asked that they provide textual evidence to support their argument, which is a key skill for young students to develop as they prepare to enter middle school. Finally, students were able to practice their speaking and listening skills through actively hearing what their classmates had to say about the Lewis and Clark text and adjusting their own opinions based off of their peers. 

2.) To make the class engaging for the students, Ms. Brewer breaks the lesson down into three different yet interconnected sections. At the beginning, the fifth graders work in groups to discuss evidence that supports their opinion on the author's viewpoint towards Lewis and Clark. Then, the students take that textual evidence with them as they transition to 'text talk time.' In partiuclar, one student was able to share why she thought that the author viewed the pair as heroic when he described the celebration that Lewis and Clark received upon returning home from their expedition. Finally, Ms. Brewer provided a sentence starter that allowed for her students to answer the main question in writing: "What is the viewpoint of the authors, and why? What textual evidence can you use to support your thoughts?" While sixteen students worked independently to begin writing an answer to this question, Ms. Brewer worked individually with a group of her eight ELL students. This was helpful, as she was able to ensure that they truly understood the meaning of the word "viewpoint" and its relation to the central question that she was asking. Although different parts of the larger lesson required students to critically read, write, and then speak and listen as a class-wide group, all of the skills that the students enacted helped them to develop their understanding of 'viewpoint' in historical texts. 

3.) To begin with, Ms. Brewer addresses the needs of all of her students through incorporating 'text talk time.' As the students began to make textual inferences, they needed a group-wide outlet to discsuss their ideas about the authors' viewpoint towards Lewis and Clark. Overall, Ms. Brewer created a helpful space where students' ideas were either supported or challenged in a healthy manner. Most importantly, Ms. Brewer incorporated a scaffolding activity for a group of her ELL students. She was careful to note that without an accurate understanding of the word 'viewpoint,' the students may be overwhelmed when approaching the central question that asked them to idenitfy the perspective of the author. Through conducting a small group with the ELL's, she provided them with a critical opportunity to verbally formulate a working definition for the word 'viewpoint.' Only when the students understood the word 'viewpoint' to mean 'the way that you see/think about a certain situation' did Ms. Brewer ask them to begin identifying textual evidence that supported their claims. 

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  • Private message to Kasey Uyesugi
Great idea to brainstorm these activities and allow the students to collaborate with eachother! Being able to bounce ideas off eachother (as long as they stay on task) helps the students greatly complete the activity and have everyone participate!
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  • Private message to George Shenouda
I,m so happy to watch Ms Brewer let the student the chance to make groups for the discussion and give all the students the chance in discussion .
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  • Private message to Douglas Jaynes
Excellent activity to help students analyze informational text. Liked the small group brainstorm activity before bringing students to the carpet for whole class discussion. After watching a couple of your videos, I've decided to periodically have kids move desks so we can sit on the carpet. Any thoughts about making the procedure quick and painless? My class has many EL students, and I liked the way you brought your EL students to the back table for more support in understanding the concept of author's viewpoint.
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  • Private message to Patricia Villa-Royster
It is important to allow students the time to discuss ideas in small groups so that they can really think through ideas and so even the most reluctant student can feel like they can participate. This allows students to be able to then share ideas as a class and all students can participate. Great for students of all ages.
Recommended (1)



    00:00:00 STACY BREWER: My name is Stacy Brewer. I teach fifth grade at Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue Washington.


    00:00:00 STACY BREWER: My name is Stacy Brewer. I teach fifth grade at Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue Washington. TEXT:
    Stacy Brewer
    5th Grade teacher
    Stevenson Elementary – Bellevue, WA
    00:00:06 STACY BREWER: My class has a lot of English-as-a-second-language learners in it. Eight of my students are officially ELL students, but sixteen of them speak another language other than English at home.
    00:00:18 STACY BREWER: Today I’m going to have my kids talk about the text that they read, a difficult text that we read about Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark book cover
    00:00:25 STACY BREWER: I wanted them to start by talking in a small group to sort of get their ideas started, and then we were going to meet in a whole group discussion to share those ideas and those thinking all in preparation for a writing assignment.
    00:00:40 STACY BREWER: Was there any evidence that we had that told us how long it took them to get back?
    00:00:45 GIRL: It says, like, to the explorers, a six-month return journey, so that means it probably took six months. TEXT:
    Small Group Brainstorm
    00:00:48 BOY: Finally, they came out on March 23, 1806. Then on September 23, 1806, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived safely back in St. Louis, Missouri. TEXT:
    Common Core:
    Explain and draw inference from a text
    00:01:00 STACY BREWER: Okay. So did that surprise you that it...
    00:01:02 BOY: Oh.
    00:01:03 STACY BREWER: ...took less time to get back?
    00:01:04 BOY: Yeah.
    00:01:04 GIRL: But it also says, where their journey had, began, more than two years earlier.
    00:01:09 STACY BREWER: Oh, you just answered your question.
    00:01:13 STACY BREWER: You don’t need me.
    00:01:14 STACY BREWER: So after we do the small group brainstorm, I ask them to come prepared for text talk time. And text talk time is a discussion structure that I created in order to give the kids an opportunity to talk about a text that we had been reading during the week. TEXT:
    Text Talk Time
    00:01:29 STACY BREWER: It’s an opportunity for them to call the shots and to discuss what they were thinking when they read the text. And it’s also an opportunity for me to ask questions that challenge them and that I’ll later expect them to respond to in writing.
    00:01:45 STACY BREWER: How does the author feel about Lewis and Clark?
    00:01:48 STACY BREWER: Who thinks they found some evidence to back up what they think about how the author feels about Lewis and Clark. TEXT:
    Common Core:
    Identify author’s viewpoint
    00:01:57 STACY BREWER: Let’s go to Alyssa.
    00:01:58 ALYSSA: It says on page 644, from St. Louis and, Lewis and Clark traveled to Washington, D.C., and almost every town they passed through, they brought bands to welcome them as heroes, which meant that like whenever they came in, everyone was like cheering and like congratulate them. And so like the author like put that in to make everyone feel that they were heroes. TEXT:
    Common Core:
    Reading informational text to find evidence
    00:02:20 GIRL: Yeah.
    00:02:20 STACY BREWER: The next question was what is the author’s viewpoint about exploring? And I provided them with a sentence frame to start their answer, the author thinks exploring is.
    00:02:29 BOY: I think it’s exciting, because you could find out new stuff about different things you never knew about.
    00:02:37 STACY BREWER: In the next part of my class, I transition them into writing by asking them to respond in writing to the comprehension questions about author’s viewpoint that we just talked about in text talk time.
    00:02:49 STACY BREWER: I give all my students the same task, and most of the students work individually on this assignment while I pull a smaller group who needs more support from me. But even with a small group, the assignment is the same. TEXT:
    Writing About a Complex Text
    00:03:01 STACY BREWER: Let’s get started. Will you, before we start answering the questions, will you guys remind me what viewpoint is?
    00:03:07 BOY: It’s like something you... TEXT:
    Common Core:
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
    00:03:08 BOY:’s like...
    00:03:09 BOY: ...what you see in your, in your mind, like, what you think.
    00:03:13 STACY BREWER: What you think and what you are seeing...
    00:03:15 BOY: Sometimes, because it says [inaudible].
    00:03:15 STACY BREWER: from your point of view?
    00:03:17 BOY: Yeah.
    00:03:18 BOY: Yeah, like your opinion, not someone else’s.
    00:03:21 STACY BREWER: So I’m hearing a lot of you, your.
    00:03:25 BOY: If you are thinking [inaudible].
    00:03:26 STACY BREWER: Is it always just you, though?
    00:03:28 BOY: No.
    00:03:28 BOY: No, because the…
    00:03:29 STACY BREWER: The small group that I was working with today are all English language learners, so I knew when I started the group that I wanted to give them more opportunities to speak.
    STACY BREWER: But what’s one good starting sentence that we could come up with? Jesus, I haven’t heard from you yet.
    00:03:44 JESUS: Something that I would do is, like, I think that other things that Lewis and Clark are brave. TEXT:
    Common Core:
    Determine main ideas of a text
    00:03:54 BOY: They’re just, they’re like, brave then nothing stops them. They’re, like…
    00:03:59 STACY BREWER: Did, like, if nothing stops you, it’s like determined, like you keep going...
    00:04:02 BOY: They’re [inaudible].
    00:04:02 STACY BREWER: ...sum it up in one word, mm-hmm.
    00:04:04 STACY BREWER: So while I was working with the small group, the rest of the class was expected to respond to those questions independently in writing.
    00:04:12 STACY BREWER: Today, I focused on a couple different standards. The speaking and listening standard on engaging in a variety of collaborative discussions and coming prepared for discussion. The informational reading standard about quoting accurately from a text, and then the writing standard about drawing evidence from a text to support your thinking. TEXT:
    Tch Classroom Takeaways:
    Common Core
    Speaking and Listening:
    1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions
    2. Come to discussion prepared
    3. Quote accurately from a text and draw inferences
    4. Draw evidence to support thinking
    Tch Teaching Channel

School Details

Stevenson Elementary School
14220 Ne 8th St
Bellevue WA 98007
Population: 495

Data Provided By:



Stacy Brewer


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