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‘Surgery Day’ emphasizes reading at Clara H. Carlson

Fourth-grade students in Mrs. Deborah Buchanan’s class at Clara H. Carlson School became nonfiction text-feature surgeons in a “hospital setting” as part of a recent class lesson on literacy.

On Surgery Day, each student in Buchanan Hospital was given a “medical chart” that consisted of 12 patients. Each patient had a “reading need” which required the surgeons to “prescribe” a text feature. Once the student decided on the text feature that “cured” their patient, they used books and magazines to find examples of the text feature and they included it in the patient’s chart. Finally, each student completed a “post-op report” for their patients that described the purpose of the text feature they prescribed and how it will help their patient in the future when they are reading.

“As readers, it is essential for children to not only identify text features, but also to understand why the author included that particular feature and how it supports details contained in the text,” Ms. Buchanan said.

Throughout the “surgical procedures,” five emergencies arose and the doctors of room 317 had to pause and address the problems. The emergencies were word problems, each representing one of the math skills learned during the week. Mrs. Buchanan was able to collect important data in a way that was fun for the students and yet afforded her the opportunity to determine students who required support in a particular skill.

The fourth-graders genuinely enjoyed immersing themselves in the activity, from receiving their “official surgeon” badge to dressing in their surgical gear, to seeing and hearing the sounds of a hospital and, most importantly, experiencing a hands-on activity that brought important reading skills to life.

 Photo Captions:

  1. Clara H. Carlson School teacher Deborah Buchanan assisted her students as they examined nonfiction text.

Surgery 1

2. Clara H. Carlson School fourth-grader Hailey Ball located text features in a magazine during the class lesson.

Fourth-grade students in Mrs. Deborah Buchanan’s class at Clara H. Carlson School became nonfiction text-feature surgeons in

3. Clara H. Carlson School students (from left): McKayllah Toussaint, Adryan Morales-Toc and Carina Ojeda are pictured with teacher Deborah Buchanan.

Fourth-grade students in Mrs. Deborah Buchanan’s class at Clara H. Carlson School became nonfiction text-feature surgeons