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:
If you're interested in my Nonfiction Text Features Packets, they can be found on TpT:
- Original Set (featured here): http://3rd.gr/nf_text
- NEW Part 2 Set with 12 additional features: http://3rd.gr/nf_text2
- Discounted Bundle Set: http://3rd.gr/nf_text_complete