Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • RL:  Reading Standards for Literature 6-\x80\x9312
  • 8:  8th Grade
  • 1: 
    Cite the textual evidence that most strongly
    supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly
    as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Text Graffiti: Previewing Challenging Topics
Lesson Objective: Preview a topic and make predictions based on textual evidence
Grade 8 / ELA / Literacy

Thought starters

  1. What strategies does Ms. Ochoa use to help with time management?
  2. Notice how the written conversations allow for 'think time' and sharing of ideas How does the note card reflection provide closure and prepare students for the next day's reading?
I love this idea, but more than that, I love how comfortable the students appear to be in your classroom. Kudos!
Recommended (0)
Excellent way to get them thinking about a text prior to reading. I'll venture to say that the next day's lesson was more meaningful to the students.
Recommended (2)
My students took to this task as well. Remember to STRESS that what they write should be in some way tied to the piece of text they read. A number of my kids wanted to take the easy way out and just wrote down anything. Since they don't sign their names, and there isn't a "grade" this is a possibility, but I found that most students did at least try to draw connections. The set up takes a little time when you have over 20 students, but it is a good way to introduce a new text. THANK YOU for sharing such wonderful teaching strategies. It not only makes us better but it makes the learning environment of our students better and that is making a difference to peoples lives.
Recommended (3)
I love this activity! I've never used it as an anticipation guide or to begin discussing a topic, but now I can't wait to do so. Your classroom and the atmosphere within are so lovely and comfortable; I wanted to be a student in that class. Thank you so much for sharing, and please continue to share your great ideas and your inspiring classroom!
Recommended (0)
Thank you for sharing this wonderful activity. It was a joy to see your students so engaged in the text. I did this activity in my class using quotes from MLK Jr. The students were totally engaged during the activity and their comments showed a lot of insight. I will be using this activity a lot more as a preview to various text. I modified the lesson plan to be used with non-fiction. Thank you for sharing.
Recommended (1)



    Hi, name is Jennifer Ochoa and I’m an 8th grade


    Hi, name is Jennifer Ochoa and I’m an 8th grade literacy teacher at MS 324 in Washington Heights, and my lesson idea is called Text Graffiti. The aim of the text graffiti lesson is that students are engaged in pieces of text, talking through the text on the paper, and they're really starting to build some ideas, either as a preview for a subject or as a review for a subject. Before the lesson, I cut up lines from stories that we're reading on white pieces of paper, and then I tape them on pieces of colored paper. I also tape the directions to the tables. And I write on the board that we've had a leak in our classroom and some text might have dripped onto their desk.
    Go ahead and start responding.
    The activity begins with the students starting at their own desk, with the text in front on them. It’s sort of a game with reverse musical chairs. I play music for three or four minutes, and they respond to that particular text. If we're previewing a story, they might respond based on what literary elements that piece of text reminds them of. Does it seem like it's a piece of conflict? Does it seem like it's a piece of characterization? Does it seem like it's an event of the plot? And that's the build prediction about what the story might be about.
    Three, four, five.
    When I turn the music off and count to ten, they get up and move to a new piece of text. I turn the music back on. They have three or four minutes to read and respond to that new piece of text and other people's responses. I don't like people to write their names with their responses, so that they feel like they can ask questions, they can wonder about something, and they don't have to worry about what other kinds might say.
    Nine and three quarters...nine and nine tenths...nine and seventy-two seventy-thirds...there we go, ten.
    When I turn the music off and count to ten, they move to a third piece of text, and we just repeat the process. If the texts are shorter, like just a line from a story, they might do four or five rounds. If the texts are longer, like an entire poem, they might just do three or four. I usually like to keep it to about twenty minutes.
    Who would like to share one of the quotes, that's one of the pieces of text that's in front of them, and what you thought it meant, and what other people thought it meant. Bernice?
    "After Butch's last attack, I had about enough of people calling me fruit for one day." My quote was that I think this means he got so beat up that he looked like a ripe fruit.
    STUDENT 2:
    My line said “Everybody knows gay people, they just think they don't.” And I thought that the line was talking about the fact that not everyone is gonna say that they're gay, because of how their friends and their family might feel.
    I’m gonna give everyone a note card, and I want you to think about all of the different pieces of text that you encounter. So what are you wondering about what might be happening? What might the big topic other than bullying be?
    Then I ask them to write down their predictions about what they think the story might be about, and what they're wondering about the story.
    Shauntay says, "I predict that this story is going to be about someone that's being bullied for who he or she is." so based on what you've heard from everybody else, do you think that that's probably a true prediction? Yeah. Mishayla says, "Based on the texts, I think that the story's going to be about people bullying this gay kid, and they call him blue. I think that kids are making fun of him because he's gay."
    In this lesson, they're preparing to read a story called Am I Blue? by Bruce Coville, about a kid who's being bullied because other kids think he's gay. It’s a hard topic to talk about with kids, and I think that using this activity to start it is sort of helping them get ready for reading that story that has a more sensitive topic tomorrow.
    And William, you had one last prediction, and that was, "I think the story might send out a message to the reader." I wonder what the message might be. It’s the lesson we're going to learn about.
    STUDENT 3:
    Don’t let nobody get to you, and tell somebody that you really trust.
    This is a great activity because they can think about what they're wondering about the text, they can say all they know about a piece of text, they can answer each other's questions, and it starts a conversation before we read something together. They also get really excited to see the lines that they remember from the day before while we're reading the story, and the story makes more sense to them when you've done an activity like this first.
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School Details

Ms 324 Patria Mirabal
21 Jumel Place
New York NY 10032
Population: 474

Data Provided By:



Jennifer Ochoa



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Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture