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Boogieing Up Your Responding to Text with SNOTS

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Strategey for students to annotate text using SNOTS- Text marking using SNOTS

If you teach in a Common Core (or fake CC state like I do) then you are very familiar with the idea of “responding to text” and “close reads”.  These ideas seem to be fixtures on my lesson plans and although we’ve been slowly working on a routine with these two practices, we really didn’t hit a breakthrough with text marking until we started BOOGIEING through it…


You heard me right… BOOGIE… and not the dance kind either!

As in the gross green stuff that comes out of your nose.

As in the stuff you’re constantly telling your kiddos NOT pick…

… and eat (UGH!) #teacherproblems #really


Now, don’t get me wrong, we were doing very well with our close read, but annotating text independently was a struggle. It seemed my kiddos constantly needed me there to “suggest” what was noteworthy. But SNOTS changed all that! Like seriously… Like a slimy green light bulb went off in their heads! Who knew green colored pencils would be such a game changer?

So, I knew I had to share this simple (so simple and silly) idea of SNOTS with you!
Text marking using SNOTS or Small Notes on the Side

What are SNOTS?

“SNOTS” stand for: Small Notes On The Sides.  They are exactly what they say they are… little annotations in the margins of papers of what we, the readers, think, feel, or wonder. Now, I’ve extended SNOTS to include circles of important words and diagrams as well as a way to “zero” in on key terms when answering questions.

I introduced my class to SNOTS after reading a nonfiction article about how plants have spread all over the Earth (Oh yes, Spring has sprung in the Applicious Classroom! More on that later this week!) After reading the article, I had my kiddos write a responding to text question in their RRJs. Then, I pass out our magic pencils and we got to boogieing up our question and then our text!

using evidence to respond to text
We tackled the question first. After re-reading their question,  the kiddos underlined or circled the important words or details to help zero in on what we were being asked to write about. Then, I had the kiddos go back to the text and “SNOT” it up by circling important words they knew they’d want to include, diagrams we thought were helpful, and then make little “notes” on what they had read that they felt they should include in their response. Hello!? Can someone say paraphrasing???!!!! Whoop!
SNOTS example
Later that week, we took all those SNOTS and used them to write our responses in our journals. No whining, no questions, only pencils moving and some giggles spreading through the room as they sorted through their green notes.
responding to text finished product
 Boom!  #nailedit

Persuasive Writing Using SNOTS

This worked so well, I thought we’d try the strategy again with a persuasive essay we were working on later that week. After reading two articles, students chose which opinion they agreed with. Then, we passed out those snotty green pencils and began boogieing through the articles to find evidence to support our position.
using snots to find evidence
Using what we circled and wrote, students made a quick bubble map to organize their thoughts.
organizing writing with a bubble map
using notes in responding to text
Later that week, we turned those notes and our bubble maps into five paragraph essays.
finished product of using evidence


I was REALLY impressed with how easily they were able to pull evidence from the text to support their position on video games! I mean seriously… it’s just a green pencil, folks! #magicpowers #funintheclassroom

Teaching students how to SNOT on text

Do you use SNOTS? Tell me more about how they look in your room below! Or what are some tricks you use to get your students more involved in their learning?

Getting kids to write about text by using SNOTS

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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