Craft and Structure, Deeper Thinking, and Tech Integration

What type of thinking does the Common Core ask of students when it comes to Craft and Structure? Analysis.

Analyzing the author's craft and structure is a shift for students to do, and a shift for teachers to design tasks and questions that require analysis.  This is the critical thinking we want students to engage in.


The big shift in this is the analysis. What does that look like at the elementary level?

How do you teach Craft and Structure?

There are many ways to teach craft and structure. Make sure students are analyzing the text, not just identifying the answers.

Every spring, our school district uses Title IIa funds to pay teachers to attend training. This year, our Spring Academy focuses on various aspects of Common Core... and teaching Craft and Structure is one of the sessions. I was charged with creating a training module for the K-6 sessions.

Training Document: Click here to view document.

DOK 3 Tasks and Activities for Craft and Structure

There's a plethora of activities that can be done with craft and structure, but here's just a few easy ideas:
  • Share evidence of craft and structure: While students are reading text, they can record evidence of word choice (including unknown words, determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings -- to analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone); text features (and the impact it makes on the text); author's purpose or point of view. Use Today's Meet for a backchannel discussion, or Padlet to record evidence on sticky notes.

Final thoughts

It's exciting for me to think about an author's labor of love to select the perfect words and phrases to communicate the message. It's even more rewarding to think of students appreciating that labor of love, to the point of their applying it in their own written or digital stories.
  • If students should analyze craft and structure, then what types of questions and tasks do they need to engage in?
  • How do you engage students in craft and structure?
  • How else did this post connect with you?


  1. I'm finding that the key to teaching craft and structure in the younger grades is constantly making students aware that a real person wrote the words they read on a page or screen, and that person chose the words and structure of their text for a reason. It is a really difficult concept for third graders, who are just starting to realize that not everyone in the world shares the same point of view. We've been putting a twist on author studies by actually connecting with real authors (via blogs, Twitter or Skype) whenever we can this year, and I think this has helped students to analyze an author's thought process a little better. I like the link you shared in your post about the author's revision process---I think we'll need to look at that blog post as a class to discuss word choice soon!


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