Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scholastic News, Nonfiction Text Features & Star Retells.. oh my!

Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!

We are off this whole week and it's going to be wonderful to get caught up- it's amazing how I forget every year how crazy the first few months of school are. Now that the first trimester is over, it is so nice to be in a routine and to really start to delve into the good stuff :)

Now that I've caught my breath a bit, I wanted to let you know a bit about how I teach nonfiction through current events in our class.

First, our class has a weekly subscription to Scholastic News. These are simple magazines (just a cover, two inside pages with articles, and a back page with questions) that cover main events, fun facts, and oftentimes kid reporters, all on a grade-appropriate reading level. Note: Scholastic doesn't know who I am, I'm just sharing my personal opinion :)

One of the features I have been using all of the time this year is their interactive website, found HERE (not sure if you have to be a member to access it, but it's worth exploring nonetheless). This has made Current Events so.much.FUN! There is the full version of the magazine that I project full-screen onto our white board and they also include short 2-4 minute videos for a couple of the articles that week. These have been the highlight, naturally :) It's also very fun for me, too!


We have been using my Nonfiction Text Features packet with Scholastic News this year and it's been so easy -peasy! Last Friday, we worked on finding certain nonfiction text features in the election results issue. I used different color sticky notes for each of the features and that was super-helpful when it came to guided practice.

Here's what my version looked like:


And here's a pic of my cuties working on their copies:


The final version:


There was a map on the back we labeled and we used the nonfiction feature posters to help us. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am obsessed (to put it mildly) with adjusting the print size of PDFs :) These posters were no exception.

I have regular-sized posters for our classroom, but for each table group in my class, I printed off the posters in 1/2 size (using this tutorial HERE and choosing 2 pages per sheet on Landscape Orientation). Luckily, my printer at home prints on front & back, so that saved me even more room and laminating time. I assembled these like I did with my Bloom's Taxonomy cards using a binder ring. This allowed kids quick access if they forgot what a feature was ("caption" still seems to cause us problems).


We then worked on Scholastic's 10-question "No Sweat Test Prep" multiple choice test  (included with the subscription) and began working on our Star Retells. This is a new way for us to approach writing about our reading, especially in nonfiction. I really wanted kids to be more careful readers when it came to nonfiction. My group this year has awesome fiction comprehension, but when it gets to the nitty-gritty of nonfiction, I lose them :(

Enter our Star Retell packet (which I forgot to take pics of- I guess I was already on "break mode," sorry!)


I had the kids practice looking for and underlining the 5 W's in the main article of that week's edition. They then plugged the information into the planning organizer:


We haven't delved into making complete paragraphs yet, but this was a great start. The nicest part about Scholastic News is that it gives us a chance each week to keep on practicing.

If you're interested in picking up either of these units, they are much more extensive than I have even talked about here (the Nonfiction Text Feature Packet has a scavenger hunt that I'll be blogging about when we get back from break- it's a hoot!) and are listed in my TpT Store- make sure to download the previews for a freebie on the Nonfiction Text Feature Unit, too :) Click on the pictures below to be taken to the specific item:



I hope that was a helpful peek into my weekly current events lessons. Do you use these classroom magazines or newspapers to teach current events? I'd love to hear about it- leave me a comment below :)

7 comments:

  1. I love my Scholastic News too. I love all the things you do with it and we do a lot also- One other activity we do is the children have to identify 3 facts from the main article and then write an opinion statement about the main article. Just a quick hit to sneak in Fact and Opinion every week. Thank you so much for all you share Stephanie. I use so many of your products and ideas in my classroom.

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    1. Thank you sososo much for your sweet comment, Nancy~ you totally made my day :) I LOVE your idea incorporating fact & opinion practice, I will definitely need to start doing that with the next issue! Thanks for stopping by :)

      ~Stephanie

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  2. You really are amazing! I can't wait to pick this up and start using it with our subscription! Thanks for the post!
    Angie
    Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls

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    1. You are so incredibly kind, Angie- thanks!!! I am so glad these can help- be sure to let me know how it goes :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stephanie

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  3. Just bought it! I love how you put a set of cards at each table. Great idea!!

    Megan

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

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    1. Thanks, Megan! I have 3-6 kids at each table and it's been so helpful to have these little packs as opposed to only one set of posters in the room or (heaven forbid!) trying to make one for all 27 kids! I hope you enjoy the packet and let me know if you have any questions :) Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stephanie

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  4. Still obsessed with this. It's starting to be creepy. Love it though and just tagged you in my 5 on the 5th post!

    Megan
    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

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Thank you so much for your comments! :)
~Stephanie