KinderGals: Reading and Writing Nonfiction Text...with a Freebee!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading and Writing Nonfiction Text...with a Freebee!

Ever panic? I mean REALLY panic? I think we all do every year. We start off the year remembering where our kids were last year or we begin a new unit of study only remembering what our kids could do at the END of the unit.  Ever hear yourself saying, "These are the lowest kids I've EVER had"? In this post I was in my friend Kathleen's room. We were developing readers and writers of nonfiction text!
My friend Kath is a fabulous teacher. When I arrived in her room, she was in full panic mode. Her kids weren't writing nonfiction text like she remembered her kids last year doing. I also love that she is a true learner, always seeking a new and better way.  She handed over her class and let me give it a try. Here's what we did:
Activate Prior Knowledge
Before I arrived, Kath was teaching her kiddos about jungle animals. I decided to build on that theme and use lions as a topic to explore nonfiction text.  As the kiddos came in that morning, Kathleen posted the question on the smartboard, "What do you know about lions?" We had them think about the things they already knew about lions and enter that information in their journals.
Mini Lesson
I collected a few non fiction books about animals. First, I had them turn and talk with their partner about everything they already know about lions. For the teach, I wanted the kids to see how I didn’t have to read the whole book, just look for the parts I wanted to know about. I modeled how I could look through the books and look for pictures of lions. Then, I would read the information about lions. After doing that for a few books, I told them that sometimes authors make a table of contents to help the reader find the information more quickly. Then, I had a few books with table of contents and we found which pages were about Lions and just turned to that page! For the active engagement, I provided the kids with the remaining animals books. They were to look at pictures or use the table of contents to see if they could find more information about lions. As we were reading and locating the information, they were using a previous lesson—when they came to something that they already knew from other readings, they said“I know that!” or when they came to something that is new they said, “I didn’t know that!” If you have my Powerful Partnerships Unit 2 Reader’s Workshop, in that unit we teach the kids how to share these items with a partner using post it notes. Find it here:
Writing Mini Lesson
Later in the day we gathered once again on the rug for the writing mini lesson.  My instructional focus was, "Writers get organized to write." To model this concept, we made a tree map together. I made it on the smart board and the kiddos each had their own tree map to record our thoughts. I did make a large one on paper, too so that we could display it. While I liked making it on the smart board, I want to be able to have that finished product up for the kids to see.
Application Time
Each child now made their own non fiction book about Lions. They selected one item under each of the tree map headings to record in their books. Different children selected different items. Some children elaborated while others simply recorded the fact straight from the tree map.
Here are the blacklines we used. Click on each to download the freebee.
Lion Tree Map Student Version
All About Lions Title Page
Lion Tree Map Teacher Version
In my next post I am going to show you how we displayed our lion tree maps on a super cute lion craftivity while learning about ___ing words!
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School Sparks Renee said...

This is a great unit and I love your graphics. The tree map page is adorable. Renee

teacher244 said...

Love! Curious...what was the boy typing in the ipad? Interested in seeing how that was incorporated!

Thanks! Stephanie

Kim and Megan said...

Stephanie, That little cutie is non verbal. He has a trac and doesn't speak. He is really good with that ipad. It is quite amazing to watch him. He is a real smartie!

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