“I can analyze documents to find text evidence that answers the question.”
As a special educator, my approach to a lesson is to think about IEP goals and how I can transform a lesson to make it more accessible for students. Many students with IEPs have goals related to reading comprehension of expository text. I consider what about the target or lesson will be difficult. Students can usually find text evidence – but it is not always linked directly to the question being asked! So I wanted to emphasize the need to connect text evidence to the question, while infusing the lesson with something engaging and multi-sensory.
Our documents were about hurricanes with the question “Why are hurricanes dangerous?” with a focus on cause vs. effect, or why vs. what.
We started by sharing the story of Pecos Bill, the cowboy who was so expert at lassoing that he once lassoed a tornado. I brought in a homemade lasso and demonstrated what happened if you throw it but don’t hold on to the rope! We then gave every student their own miniature lasso (string tied with a slip knot) and showed them how they can lasso evidence but have to connect or hold the end to the question. (see photo) They first used the lassos and then circled with pencil the evidence that answered the question, underlining evidence that was more focused on the effects.
Students were highly engaged as they explored the documents, deciding whether the evidence was connected to the “Why” in the original question. I am excited to have one more tool that I can use to make text work more interactive, as well as a memorable analogy to help students make connections.