Using Informational Texts as Warm-Ups

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Nov 29, 2015 11:54:10 PM

Many teachers find it daunting to help students deal with informational texts with the regularity that brings confidence and skill.  It is important for students to read longer, more complicated texts and primary source documents; however, small daily doses can also be a strategy for student success with informational texts. Today, I am sharing an idea to incorporate these texts into a short, daily warm-up activity.

Here's how the warm-up would work: 

  1. Post a link to a short article for students to read.  If students do not have access to the link, you could also project it for the class to keep things paperless.
  2. Use the Simply Novel Smart Flip Question Stems to ask 2-3 questions about the article.
  3. Create a routine discussion technique or written log to keep students accountable to reading and analyzing the texts.

Tips for setting up:

      • Where to find articles: I like to use Google News to find articles about politics, pop culture, business, and other general interest topics. It takes about 10 minutes per day to pick an article to share. Here are a couple of examples that I found today.  Each would take my class about 5-10 minutes to read and respond to.
      • How to distribute link: There are many ways to distribute a link for students to read on their own devices, including posting it to your class website, or using a social media account like twitterschoology or edmodo.
      • How to use question stems: Simply Novel question stemsare set up to aid teachers in easily creating questions to meet common core standards. I suggest posing 1-2 questions. Here's a quick video that explains the resources:


  • Assessment: Once students have read the article and the 1-2 questions posed from the question stems, you can set up a quick routine discussion or written response like a pair share or journal.  Once the routine is established, students can move through the warm-up quickly so you can get to the other business of your curriculum.


  • Students will feel comfortable with informational texts.  They will read a variety of them on a regular basis.
  • Students will feel comfortable with common core language.  Using the stems will help teach the kind of academic and testing language that students will need come test day.
  • Students will practice critical reading and thinking techniques.  When students regularly practice analyzing the structure and arguments of professional writers, they will naturally pick up on much of the rhetoric.

Would you use this warm-up idea? How do you incorporate informational texts in your curriculum? Leave us a comment below!

Topics: Assessments, Common Core, informational texts, warm-up, SmartFlips

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