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Intriguing Notices as Mini-Lessons


I’m always intrigued by the notices posted around us. Many are perfect for mini-lessons focused on close reading of informational text. Check out this one I saw in a restroom in Chico, CA. For a close reading exercise, I would put this on the document camera or Smart board and ask students some of the following questions –

  • What is the author’s main/central idea/point of view/purpose? (Common Core State Standard – Reading Informational Text 2, 6)
  • What can you infer? (If you don’t wash your hands, you are not a decent person!) (CCSS RI 1)
  • What is meant by “common decency”? How does that position an employee who does or does not wash their hands? (CCSS RI 4)
  • Why do you think so? What’s the textual evidence (as well as your background experience) that makes you think so? (CCSS RI 1)

Below are two notices I saw in the airport – loaded with content for teaching. Challenge small groups to engage in close reading and discussion of these signs (using similar questions to those above) and to share out what they noticed or came to understand – independently and collectively.



The tricky part is transferring skills developed with short texts like notices to longer more complex texts. What did we do here as readers that we can do when we read other longer, more complex texts independently? That would be a follow-up lesson (or several) with more opportunities for students to read and discuss texts.

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