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Time to 'operate' and find text features

Published on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

students "operate" during group work

BCSD provided photo 

A cool thing about this little “surgical” procedure is that these third-graders actually got to work together because they were in full COVID protection gear.

Students learned about text features through a mock open surgery activity: they searched for specific terms and examples in a magazine, cut them out and then pasted them into a cutout of body.

Hanahan Elementary third-grade teacher Susan Cappello said this lesson is the brainchild of her colleague Kristi Burns, another third-grade teacher at Hanahan Elementary, who shared the idea and was given the surgical PPE from a friend at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Cappello also said her co-teacher, Iliana Espinoza, also helped make the lesson possible.

“I have one of the third-grade ELL inclusion classes so this whole lesson wouldn't have been possible without all the work she did during the week to help my students learn about text features and how to use them,” Cappello said.

The goal was for the students to locate various text features such as captions, headings, words in bold print and others in Scholastic News issues. Those items were then cut out and “transplanted” into the “patient.”


-A “body” cutout (about the size of a small third-grader)

-Medical gown, surgical gloves, hair net

-Clipboard with checklist of possible “transplants” they could complete (text features to find)


One aspect of the project the students liked was being given titles.

For each round, Cappello assigned each student in their group a title and a responsibility. For example, there was a surgeon who was in charge of cutting, an anesthesiologist who was in charge of finding the text feature, an OR nurse who was in charge of the clipboard and reading the text feature to be found, and a surgical resident who was in charge of would glue the feature down on the right side of the body.

They rotated enough times so that each student got to do every job.

“Besides having a great time getting dressed up, the students enjoyed the scavenger hunt aspect of having to locate the text features that had been learning about all week,” Capello said.

students holding up finished product of assignment

BCSD provided photo