Monday, November 12, 2012

Non-Fiction Fun and a few Freebies!

Thanks to this handy dandy book....

...I have had a lot of success launching my non-fiction unit this year.  I love Debbie's ideas.. especially the conventions notebook & wonderbox (which my kids have also enjoyed!)

We just started last week on Monday.  This is how our week went last week with our Reader's Statements...

Monday- Reader's know that non-fiction texts are different than fiction texts
Tuesday- Reader's make predictions about what they will learn in non-fiction texts
Wednesday- Reader's know they don't have to read a non-fiction text from front to back.
Thursday- Reader's can compare and contrast fiction & non-fiction texts.
Friday- Reader's can notice and remember new learning from a non-fiction text. (Incorporating Schema, and connecting new learning with what we already knew).

For comparing and contrasting Fiction with Non-Fiction, I asked students to come to the carpet with a fiction book and a non-fiction book.  Then, I actually gave each student a Venn diagram.  We talked about what we use Venn diagrams for and how we would fill this one out.  Then, I asked students to work with their reading budding to search their books to find similarities and differences in both texts.  
Click the picture to get a copy of the venn diagram for students to fill out.
They did a really great job on this!  Probably a little bit due to the fact that I strategically assigned their partners.. Whaaat? Teachers never do that.. do they?

So the thing that they were MOST excited about is our Wonderbox!  We've only done it once, but even on FRIDAY AFTERNOON (Yes, Friday afternoon) when we had only about 3 minutes left before the dismissal bell rings, my kiddos are asking, "Ms. G, do we have enough time to figure out a wonderbox question?" I felt awful saying no :(.  Ok, so our Wonderbox (Thanks to Debbie Milller) is just a box in our classroom where students write questions about things they are wondering.  Here is the handy dandy little slip they fill out...

When they have something they are wondering, they write down the questions and drop it in our Wonderbox.  Then, 2-3 times per week, we pull one question out of the box and see if we can find the answer.  This has taught them to think about.. "Hmm, where will we find the answer to this question?? Oh probably in the weather books in the weather bin!" We have also talked about giving credit to the right person and citing our information by writing the title of the book where we found the information, the author, and the page number.  We will build up to using online sources as well.  We have a "Look what we've learned from our non-fiction books" bulletin board.  Students will make small posters that have the question, the answer, and the citation for each Wonderbox question we complete.  

Now- what happens if we can't find the answer to the questions?  What else than to ask other people?  But we all know that's nearly impossible with our crazy days.  So we put up a bulletin board outside of our classroom that says. "We can't find the answers to these questions, can you help us?- Don't forget to tell us where you found your information! Here's an example.." (Pointing to an example)  We attached markers to the paper with string and will check it everyday to see if anybody was able to answer our hard to find questions!  Wish I had a picture of it, but I forgot to take one!

So the last thing we did this week that y'all might like..  On Friday, when I introduced noticing and remembering new learning, we talked a lot about Schema, thinking about what we already knew about the topic we were going to read about, and then keeping track of our new learning on sticky notes.  I referred to the schema as a "File" in their head that stored all of the information about that topic. I had a big file folder cut out of poster paper.  We put what we already knew about weather on one side of the open folder on sticky notes.  Then, we read a book about weather and kept track of our new learning on a different color sticky note and put it on the opposite side.  Last, we made new schema by connecting what we already knew with what we learned to make it easier to remember.  They really got it!  They put it to good use when they got their own "Schema" Folder (I gave each student a file folder).  They had to do the same thing we had done during our mini-lesson.  They seriously loved it!  They keep their Schema folders in the Book Box so that they can always use this strategy.

So- that's what going on in our world of Non-Fiction!  Hope that maybe you can use some of the freebies.  I'll post sometime during the week about our "Conventions Notebooks."  We are starting those this week!  Hope everyone had a great Monday, I know I did.. I LOVE days off!! :)


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