Thursday, December 14, 2017

Genres and nonfiction text features and websites, oh my!

We are about 1/3 of the way through the school year and I do feel like I am getting into a groove. I know (most) kids' names and have made some connections with what they are interested in and what they like to read. This was a busy week really diving into to some of the core material I want each grade to be competent in by the end of the year.

Kindergartners heard After the Fall, which is a new book that explores what happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall. It's a beautifully illustrated book by a Caldecott honoree and tells a great story about not letting adversity get you down.

My Student Learning Goal this year is for 1st grade and it centers on knowing the difference between fiction and nonfiction. While we have covered some of the basics, I want to spend a few weeks diving deeper into nonfiction text features and how they can help you understand nonfiction. Eventually, there are 6 text features I want them to feel comfortable with, but we started off with 3 today: bold print, headings and captions. Using the document camera and some handouts I made, we walked through what each of these features means, and then they did a matching activity at the tables. Nearly every student completed the activity successfully - I am very hopeful that this will be rote by the end of the year.

2nd grade continued our study into genres. I chose to take a segment of folktales, and focused on the fairly tale subset. We brainstormed some of the common characteristics of fairy tales and used 3 Little Pigs as a mentor text to see if we could see some of these elements reflected in the story. We then read a fractured fairy tale - The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! - by Jon Scieszka, and compared what we heard with the traditional story. I truly love the fractured fairy tale sub-genre - I'd like to think of more ways to explore this next year.

3rd grade also took a detour into folktales, but I plan to take a few weeks to review all the different types of folktales. I'll be honest - this isn't my favorite genre, so I am going to need to get creative so they don't pick up on my feelings! This week we tackled fables - we filled out a graphic organizer as a class about The City Mouse and Country Mouse, and then in small groups, students analyzed a fable in the same way. They did a great job picking apart the nuances of this sub-genre.

4th grade kicked off a multi-week unit on Author's Purpose. We did an overview of the 3 main purposes - Persuade, Inform and Entertain (or PIE, for short), and read one of my recent favorite picture books, The Day the Crayons Quit, to analyze what makes an argument persuasive. As if the PIE acronym wasn't enough, students used OREO (Opinion, Reason, Example, Opinion restated), to break down each crayon's letter and decide if they were persuasive or not.

Last, but never least, 5th grade had one last library lesson on research before setting them loose to freely research their Passion Projects. I don't feel extremely confident that they have had a lot of experience evaluating websites, so that is what we did today. I adapted this lesson from Common Sense Media with pretty good success. I don't harbor any illusions that they are going to fully go through the checklist for every website they visit, but if they at least check a few of the criteria, I'll feel ok!

No comments:

Post a Comment