Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NonFiction shouldn't be a four-letter word in your classroom

Week 2 Here at Teacher's College is all about Reading.  #Favorite

Today we spent our time working with a subject that scares the bejeesus outta me....NON-FICTION! *If you read all the way to the end...I'm sharing some great FREE online resources!

I know what you're thinking, snooze-fest. BUT.....I now realize what a powerful tool this type of writing can be.  Not only can it be high-interest (hello, SHARK WEEK!)
#ForReal  The cross-curricular connections are endless.  What a novel idea, teaching reading while we're in the middle of science? Social studies? 

Idea #1: Read the best parts of several non-fiction texts. 

This is something I've always struggled with.  Instead of drudging through an entire text, why not pick the best examples of the information you're trying to access?  Maybe that author didn't hit all the points you want to make....find another book!  Even better, find a different format to share (maybe an article.) 

Idea #2: Give them artifacts to use while you read.  

A must if you're having them take notes.  Give them a word bank of important academic vocabulary they'll hear in the text.  A map of Africa when reading about Gorillas.  Even better, expect them to interact with those artifacts.  USE that word bank to add to your turn & talk conversations.  Show me on the map where you think the Western Lowland Gorilla might live....why do you think that? 

Idea #3: Give them a strategy to take notes

Guilty!  Are your kids just copying information and regurgitating facts?  Teach them how to dive into that text, find information, and assimilate those facts in a new way.  They need to decide how to organize the information, and what makes the most sense to them.  

Idea #4: Take something unknown and attach it to something known

#CHALLENGE  This is my absolute favorite idea.  If they truly understand the new information, they should be able to flip through their notebook and compare these ideas.  Higher level thinking!!!  
This connects to.....
This fits with......
I love this type of connection!  This is a huge TEK for us in Texas, and I'm sure the Common Core is all over this too.  

Here are some great places to find kid friendly articles: 

News-o-matic : an app with daily news articles for kids...LOVE IT!! : check here to find new articles every day, they even offer articles on different reading levels, and checks for understanding on some!  : This is actually the Smithsonian for kids, lots of great articles, sorted by age level.  

In closing, I am so excited to really start pushing my teaching forward with non-fiction texts.  They're a great way to incorporate and reinforce the habits of good readers all day in any subject.  The possibilities are endless!  

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