January 22, 2017
by Brandy Metzger

Lesson plan

Colorful Coding

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EL Adjustments
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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Citing Inferences pre-lesson.

Students will be able to distinguish between questions with a directly stated answer and questions with an inferred answer before answering questions about a text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out the first comprehension passage and a set of colored pencils for each student.
  • Display the first passage on the projector or document camera and read the title of the passage.
  • Have students predict what this passage will be about.
  • Tell the students that today they are going to learn to identify types of questions and how to color-code answers.
(30 minutes)
  • Tell the students that you are going to look over the questions before reading the passage. Let students know that there are some keywords that can help identify a question as a "right there" question that they can find the answer to in the text or a "thinking" question in which they will have to infer an answer.
  • Tell students that "right there" questions may begin with a phrase such as "in the passage," "according to the text," or "in the paragraph. " For these questions, they are going to draw an eyeball beside them to remind us we can look for the answer right in the text.
  • Tell the students for other questions they will have to think about what the answer may be or infer. Define infer as a guess that is formed using known facts and text evidence. For these questions, they will draw a brain to remind us to think about the text and our own prior knowledge to determine an answer.
  • Go over each question and have students draw the eyeball or brain based on the kind of question asked. Read the passage out loud to the students stopping to review any unfamiliar words or concepts.
  • Guide students through the first half of the questions in the following manner. For "right there" questions, have students choose a color and underline the question in that color. Then, have them flip back to the passage and find the answer. They will use the same colored pencil to underline the answer in the passage. For "thinking" questions, talk the students through the overall text ideas and their own prior knowledge to select the best answer choice.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to work together with a partner to color-code the rest of the questions.
  • Circulate the room to check for understanding and make sure students are only coding "right there" questions.
  • When everyone has finished, check the questions and compare what was color-coded. Some students may have coded different areas of the passage.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out an additional comprehension passage.
  • Students will code questions with symbols and colors on their own.


  • Offer students a shortened, grade-level text with "right there" and "thinking questions." Allow them to compare their answers with partners afterward.


  • Have them develop their own questions about the text that would have to be inferred.
(10 minutes)
  • Allow students to compare answers from their independent practice and ask them to justify to their partner their answers if they have different answers.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to their partner about the difference between a "right there" question and a "thinking" question.
  • Have them write their answers on an index card.
(10 minutes)
  • As a review, discuss the difference in "right there" questions and "thinking" questions.
  • Ask students why it is important to refer back to the text as they answer comprehension questions.

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