In this article, I'm sharing resources for introducing or reviewing the Notice & Note signposts in the classroom. Although I now use the close reading strategies outlined in Sadlier's Close Reading of Complex Texts and have created a number of awesome close reading printables that align with this new research-based program, today I'm spotlighting some of my archived Notice & Note resources. If you're looking for posters, student bookmarks, and whole-class and small groups lessons...I have you covered!
Getting Students Using Notice & Note Signposts
My school’s 4th and 5th grade students participate in book clubs each week. The signposts from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst have really helped give my students additional direction about what they should be discussing in their book clubs.
When I first introduced the Notice & Note signposts to my classes (over four years ago), I was surprised to find that my younger students seemed to have an easier time utilizing the signposts to dig deeper. Although I've always used similar tactics to help my students examine the different elements of a text, my 4th and 5th grade students seemed unimpressed by the brightly colored posters with phrases like "Memory Moment" or "Again and Again". So to get some of my reluctant students excited (Close reading is actually very exciting despite what some students may initially think!) I decided we needed to review.
First, we reviewed the six signposts using my classroom posters. Next, I passed out my handy Notice & Note signposts bookmarks. These bookmarks are a great reference for students to use when reading an assigned text or during their personal reading time. Finally, we applied the signposts to a text as a class and in small groups!
Working with Close Reading Signposts as a Class and in Small Groups
To review the signposts with my 5th grade students, I used one of our novel read alouds, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan as my mentor text. With Esperanza Rising I modeled how the signpost gave me deeper understanding of the text. For my small group work, I had my students practice using the signposts with chapter 4 from Joey Pigza Swallowed A Key by Jack Gantos. For each book, I made a guide for myself that includes the signpost, the page the signpost is on, the excerpt from the text where the signpost is located and a summary of what is happening in the book on that page. I've included these guides in my Notice & Note Teacher Kit so grab them now!
We worked on applying signposts to Esperanza Rising and Joey Pigza Swallowed A Key over the course of three days (focusing on two signposts a day). Each day we discussed how by utilizing the signposts, as places to stop, think, and dig deeper into the text, we enhanced our understanding of the text.
Here is how we covered the signposts in three days...
Words of the Wiser
I modeled the Words of the Wiser signpost and Memory Moment signpost using Esperanza Rising. Then my students used chapter 4 from Joey Pigza Swallowed A Key to look for examples of words of the wiser and memory moment.
Contrasts and Contradictions
Again and Again
I modeled the Contrasts and Contradictions signpost and Again and Again signpost with Esperanza Rising. Then my students re-read chapter 4 from Joey Pigza Swallowed A Key focusing only on finding the two signposts contrasts and contradictions and again and again.
I modeled the Aha Moment signpost and Tough Questions signpost with Esperanza Rising. Then my students re-read chapter 4 from Joey Pigza Swallowed A Key focusing only on finding the two signposts aha moment and tough questions.
This may not be the flashiest activity for getting students engaged in using the signposts, but it worked! The more they dug into the text, the more invested they became in the story. Sometimes the excitement of learning a new concept or utilizing a concept they've already been taught doesn't happen for students until they are applying it themselves. Once they were reading and looking for the signposts within a story, it didn't feel like work to them! And that's why the six signposts are so great.
To help get you started on using the six signposts in your classroom I've created a downloadable teacher kit! My Notice & Note Teacher Kit includes ready to hang Notice & Note signposts posters, Notice & Note student bookmarks, and my guides for using Esperanza Rising and Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key to review the signposts as a class and in small group work.