Monday, March 30, 2015

NON-FICTION: Is That "REAL STUFF?"

This year my class is SO fascinated by non-fiction text. They can explain many of the non-fiction text features that make it so, but I still hear...Mrs. Harrington, is that really "REAL STUFF?" Whether it is a trip to the school media center to browse the non-fiction books, or reading our Scholastic News Magazines, or a close read of informational text…they are in awe! And as a teacher, I am in heaven…because they are hooked! Teaching Kindergarten and First Grade has its challenges and among them are finding cool, interesting, non fiction text that is at a level where they can feel successful as readers. Like many teachers, if I can't find exactly what I need for my students…then there is only one thing left to do - CREATE IT!  Just a few weeks ago, St. Patrick's Day was upon us and among the excitement of that little, green, leprechaun fellow...I decided to feature something else that was just as exciting and intriguing…and well, GREEN! So, I introduce my friend praying mantis. There was a quiet, collective gasp as I projected this picture of him on the screen in the front of the classroom….you might say I had their complete and undivided attention (and that my friends, doesn't happen every day in paradise!)
I followed up with a few more photos and a little discussion, then gave them a short & sweet close read about this fascinating creature. The students were anxious to get their hands on the information and off they went to read. After reading, I asked for them to turn and talk about something that they learned. I could hear things like "It said it can be green BUT it can be brown too" and "I read it eats its prey head first" (ewwwww!) and "It got its name because it looks like it is praying!" 
The discussion lead to another task which was rereading the information to answer
questions about the praying mantis. I've taught them to find the evidence in the text with a yellow crayon. I like to call it "buttering" which is better known as highlighting; but for Kindergartners and Firsties, I make the analogy - "it's like when you butter toast." So, off they went to read the questions on the front of the flip book, reread, butter the evidence, and write the answer in their own words.
Talk about being busy…and super engaged! WOW. I SO love that!
Do you have a special way that you like to share non-fiction/informational text in the classroom?
We would love to know your secrets and tips of how you hook your students and get them excited about ….the "REAL STUFF."



--teaching, laughter & friends all around; this is paradise found...





2 comments:

  1. Robin... the resources you're making are great! It's a challenge to find age-appropriate informational text for K-1; it's sometimes just easier to make your own like you're doing. I also love the books published by Pebble Books. They have great photos and limited text on the facing pages... perfect for kindergarten and the beginning of 1st grade.

    The informational writing units of study are always a favorite with the kids. They LOVE to be "experts" on a nonfiction topic. Your articles would be great resources for their research!

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  2. As a second grade teacher, it is so exciting to see little guys loving nonfiction. You are inspiring children to take a journey through informational text! I love it!

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