Digital Skills: Developing Online Assessment Skills in Everyday Classroom Activities Western Reserve Public Media
Contribution to Text
I can:

Determine a piece of text’s contribution to an overall text.

Tech Skills:
  • Highlighting
Materials and Resources:

Activity 1

  • Printed copies (1 per student) of a grade level appropriate text of your choosing.

  • Highlighters or clear plastic sleeves with light colored dry erase markers.


Activity 2

  • Digital copy of a grade level appropriate text with one copy for each student and one copy for projection.

  • A digital highlighter add on for your browser, such as the free extension Super Simple Highlighter for Chrome

  • Or, you can use digital resources you may already have access to, such as a digital copy of your textbook and a built in highlighter.


***Suggested resource: Actively Learn has a variety of free digital texts. There is a built in highlighter that can be used for this lesson plan.

Grade Level:
  • 5th-8th Grade
Subject Area:
  • Language Arts

Activity 1

  • Provide students with a copy of a short text of your choosing and a highlighter. Or, you may wish to provide students with clear plastic sleeves and a light colored dry erase marker.

  • Depending on your chosen text, whether it is a drama, poem, informational text, or literature, remind your students that texts are organized in a manner that allows the author to build on certain ideas or aspects of the text. Small pieces of text can contribute to the whole text in a variety of ways.

    For example, a paragraph in a piece of literature might introduce a conflict or describe a setting.

    A chapter in an informational text may develop a specific idea or introduce a topic.

  • On a separate sheet of paper, digitally projected, or orally, ask students a variety of questions related to the text.

  • Focus on questions that will allow students to highlight a paragraph, sentence, or phrase that develops the text in a specific way.

    For example: Highlight the paragraph that introduces the story’s main conflict.

    Highlight the sentence that develops the idea that hybrid cars produce less pollution.

    Highlight the part of scene two in which the setting is described by the narrator.

    Highlight the stanza that shows how the speaker feels about leaving home.

  • Remind students to only highlight what is needed to support their answer. This could be a phrase, a sentence, or even a paragraph.

  • As students progress, ask students to highlight a piece of text and then write a short answer response in which they analyze how the piece of text contributes to the overall text. For added practice, ask students to quote the text as evidence in their response.



Activity 2

  • Repeat a similar style activity with a digital text, increasing the reading level of the text as appropriate.

  • Incorporate multiple choice and other styles of questions and allow students to highlight text as support for their answers.

  • Repeat similar activities with a variety of genres. This will allow students to practice analyzing a variety of texts in order to see that how texts are structured allows the parts to build on each other and contribute to the text overall.


Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.

Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.

Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.

Supplementary Resources:

Actively Learn has a variety of free texts and a built in highlighting tool.

Visit at


Edulastic is an assessment builder with similar question styles to state tests, including a sentence response question style, which allows students to select pieces of text as answers.

Visit at

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