Thursday, March 5, 2015

Learning About Text Features

Mrs. Yollis' class is learning about informational text

Informational text, or nonfiction writing, is based on facts, real events, and real people. There are many helpful text features found in nonfiction writing. Some common text features are:  headings, subheadings, captions, diagrams, time lines, maps, charts, and the glossary.

Below is a humdinger of a video made by Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich. They hope their video helps you greenhorns learn about about these important reading features!


Here it is on Vimeo if YouTube is blocked.

The Nonfiction Trail from Jonah Salsich on Vimeo.

 What are your favorite text features?

(Headings, subheadings, captions, diagrams, time lines, maps, charts, and the glossary.)

Share something you learned from a text feature! 
Add a hyperlink if appropriate.


  1. Howdy! Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich,

    Did you buckaroos know that I'm going to become an expert on sea otters?
    Otter Facts
    Otters can grow to be about four to five feet and can weigh about sixty to eighty pounds. That is a ton! They have webbed toes so they can gracefully swim. They sleep in a mold of kelp and sea weed. They swim in the water on their back, and fall asleep face up. People killed otter for their skin,but now killing otters is against the law. They live mostly in eastern Asia and North America. Otters eat shellfish, octopuses, sea urchins, and squids. That is a mighty weird diet that I would never have!

    Do you know anything else about otters?

    Your cowgirl,

    1. Howdy, Asha!

      I reckon you are a humdinger of an expert on otters!

      When I was up at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, (dependent clause alert!) I thoroughly enjoyed watching the otters dive and dart around. Such playful animals!

      Yes, 60-80 pounds is a lot. However, it is not a ton. A ton is 2,000 pounds. Were you using hyperbole? :-)

      I went into World Book Online on looked at the caption. I learned that the otter babies spend much of their day on top of their mother who floats on her back. Sounds like a good life!

      Do sea otters live in all of the oceans? I wonder if you could find a map of otter habitat. What is the life span of a sea otter?

      Yee haw!

      Sheriff Y♥llis

    2. Howdy Mrs.Yollis!

      In fact I was using hyperbole for my comment on sea otters.

      Some sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. The usual lifespan of a sea otter is 10-12 years, and at most 25 years.

      I am going to insert a picture of a sea otter and a map about where they live on my Google doc.

      Your cowgirl,
      Sheriff Asha


  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    I researched about coyotes. I learned full grown coyotes stand up to 2 feet tall ,and they weigh up to 25 to 30 pounds.

    I used the text feature article (the words).



    1. Howdy Partner!

      That's a bull's eye of a compound sentence, green horn! Not only did you use the conjunction and, but you used html to put the text in italics. Go, cowboy!

      I must stop you right here on the learnin' trail to clarify somethin'. Text is text. The words are not a text feature, unless the text is bolded. Do you know what I mean?

      What is the lifespan of a coyote?

      Yours truly,
      Sheriff Yollis

  3. Howdy! Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich,

    My favorite text features are the diagrams and captions. The captions really help to explain the pictures and the diagrams help me to better understand the information given in the text. While reading about guide dogs I learned from a caption that German Shepherds were the first breed of dogs to be trained as guide dogs. In a diagram, I learned that the three common breeds of guide dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds.

    Cowboy Derrick

    1. Dear Derrick,

      I liked your blog about Golden Retrievers, because they have always been my favorite dog. I always beg my mom to get our family one! I did not know that they were guide dogs. I found out that they love to swim in water. Their outer coat of hair repels water. They also need a lot of outdoor exercise. They like to roam.

      Cowboy Joshua

  4. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I looked up horses on World Book Online. I found out that a baby horse is called a foal and also that their mother is called a mare. Some race horses can run 45 miles per hour! Some horses become full size when they are 5. Also, most horses live until they are 20 to 30 years old.
    Do you know any other facts about horses?


    1. Howdy, Ty!

      Why...every cowboy needs a horse, so good on you!

      You asked if I could add some new information about horses. You're darn tootin' I will!

      Horses did not live in North or South America originally. They were brought here in the 1500s by the Europeans on ships!

      Have you ever ridden a horse?

      Sheriff Y♥llis

  5. Dear Sheriff Salsich and Sheriff Yollis,

    My favorite text feature is the caption because you can learn about the photograph from it. You can also learn about the book you are reading. That is my favorite text feature.

    In my book about coyotes, I learned from captions and from text that coyotes weigh between 25-50 pounds. I also learned that the coyote is a "trickster". They often go hunting in pairs so one will catch the food while the other one stays nearby and will warn the other coyote if danger is coming.

    Do you think coyotes are useful to farmers? And if so how?

    Your sheriff buddy,

    1. @ Sean,

      Howdy, partner! I love the caption. Captions always accompany photographs and I love that kind of medium.

      I know first hand that coyotes hunt in pairs or packs. In my neighborhood, I can sometimes hear them yelping and barking when they are hunting. It is sad to hear, but I know it is nature's food chain.

      I'm not sure about coyotes and farmers. What do you think?

      Did you notice in World Book Online that there are tabs. I just followed the tabs and found an excellent diagram of a coyote. Check it out!

      Your friend,
      Mrs. Y♥llis

  6. Howdy, Sheriff Yollis,

    I was reading and learning about honeybees. I learned that these incredible insects can probe a flower for nectar. Do any of y'all know what probe means?
    I bet y'all thought there was only one kind of bee, but there are actually over 20,000 species of bees! Bee haw! That's a lot of bees alright! Only honeybees make enough honey for us buckaroos. Honeybees produce honey and beeswax. As you buckaroos can see, bees are fascinating flying creatures.

    Sheriff Ruby yee haw!

    1. Howdy, Ruby!

      You are one heck of a blogger! Why look at the high level vocabulary word that you put in a bold font! Nice text feature, cowgirl!

      I had no idea there were over 20,000 species of bees! Bee haw! (Funny!) I have a honeycomb in my cupboard. Ask me about it tomorrow and we'll take a look!

      We once had a swarm of bees outside our room! Yes, indeed! They called a special company and they came and captured the bees and moved them to another area. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

      Your honey-loving teacher,
      Sheriff Y♥llis

  7. Dear Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich,

    Did you know that I know a lot about Submarines now?
    The word Submarine comes from two words,sub meaning "under" and marine meaning "water".
    Submarines can go thousands of feet deep down the water.
    One of the earliest submarines was used in the revolutionary war between America and Britain named "Turtle" and it was used to attack and scare the British ship "Eagle".
    One of the most important pars of a submarine is "Periscope".
    Nuclear submarines can go thirty miles an hour under the water and that is faster than most of the ships and boats!

    Do you know what a "Periscope" is?

    Your navy seal/cowboy,

    1. Howdy, Kiano!

      Indeed! Sub does mean under and marine does mean water! You have unlocked the meaning of this word! Yee haw!

      I had no idea that submarines were used in the Revolutionary War! Is there a sketch of one in your informational text?

      "Peri" means about or around. "Scope" is to look at. So, I think a periscope is a tool for looking around from inside the submarine. Am I correct?

      Have you ever been in or near a real submarine?

      Go Navy!

      Your friend,
      Sheriff Y♥llis

  8. Dear Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich,

    Your video was outstanding! When my family saw it, they were impressed. I am learning about China.

    China is very interesting. I found out that China has the largest population in the world. The Great Wall of China is the largest manmade structure in the world. It is 4,667 km long. China is in Asia. Here is a link to the information I found in this site:


    1. Howdy, Nicholas!

      Thank you, partner, for your kind words about our movie! What is your favorite text feature and why?

      Yes, China does lead the world in population! How many people live in China? How many Americans are there?

      I have a picture of the Great Wall if you would like to see it. Mr. Yollis took it when he was there. He only saw a piece of it as it is so great.

      Where would you go first if you went to China?

      Your teacher,
      Sheriff Y♥llis

  9. Howdy Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich,

    One of my favorite parts of my book was explained in a caption.
    It explained that some UFOs are fake. This is exactly what it said, "Some UFOs are fakes. People have used balloons with lights in them to fool others." I hope you liked one of my favorite captions that i learned something from. See y'all soon!


  10. Dear Sheriff Yollis & Sheriff Salsich,

    My favorite text feature would have to be "Bold". I like to "bold" my text because it makes the information so much easier to read. When text is "bolded", researching information is easier. "Bolding" is kind of like using a highlighter and I like using highlighters. When I come across "bolded" text in a book, I know it's important information, so I sometimes read it more than once to make sure I fully understand it.

    Good day good sheriffs!


  11. Hello Mrs Yollis and class,

    What a huge coincidence, you guys are doing the same reading strategy as Miss Jordan's class which is "tune into text features in an information text". What activities are you doing in your week of information texts? We are reading our information texts that we got from our local library and because we have i-Pads, we've been recording some text features and facts in our notes.

    From 1 of 27 of Miss Jordan's students,

  12. Hi Mrs Yollis,

    I really enjoy reading about your classroom blog. It seems like you blog is really popular, you had some really good tips about how to leave a quality comment.

    I wish we had as many people visit our class blog, you have a lot more people on your cluster map!

    From Donovan
    (P.S I'm in Miss Jordan's grade which is in Australia)

  13. Howdy! Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich.

    I am learning about the Labrador Retriever I happen to have one of those animals at my house. So you're darn tootin' I am learning about them!

    Lab facts

    These dogs can be used in a field trial. A field trial is were hunters (or cowgirls and boys) have their dog (mostly labs) get tested on how well they can retrieve things, and their ability to fetch, listen, and pay attention. The book also said they are very affectionate dogs and they are very good with kids.

    I need some pictures of the three colors of a lab. Can Sheriff Yollis lend me a hand and lend me a picture of Buck?

    C♥wgirl Aryana


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