Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nonfiction Reading/Writing - Shoo, Shoo, Shooby Doo...

I thought making the title of my post just "Nonfiction Writing" wasn't snazzy enough.  It wouldn't show my enthusiasm for teaching this type of reading & writing...

Shooby Doo...

I weave nonfiction reading into guided reading groups, read alouds and "bless" many a nonfiction book before book shopping on Fridays.  I really hunker down with it a little later in the school year...say April'ish.

I think I like teaching nonfiction because I know how much my first graders gravitate toward it.  Show 'em a bolt of lightning or a photograph of a real brain and they are putty in your hands. Tell them what happens to their food after they chew and swallow...especially the "ending" of that little scenario and they don't move a muscle - never a more attentive audience.  {Same effect when you add the word "but" to your word wall, I digress} Add animals to the mix and you've got 'em right where you want 'em.

I  work real hard to align my reader's workshop mini lessons with my writer's workshop when I delve into nonfiction.  I find that when the kiddos spend a lot of time figuring out how nonfiction works - with its text features/conventions, they are better able to write a nonfiction story. 

I'm thrilled to have finished up my own nonfiction writing unit of study.  I just love how it turned out!  I've used most of its components for the last few years, but spent a lot of time this summer tweaking and explaining exactly what I do, how I do it and cutesied up my my printables. 

Click the picture to find it at my store!

My favorite way to go about this is to use the nonfiction text feature notebooks created by Jen Jones over at Hello Literacy.  Jen wrote a great blog post about her notebooks {here}.  She recently revamped them and aligned them with The Core. 

Here's her preview:

I give each student their own notebook and they take such good care of that thing. I don't know what it is.  It's like their own little nonfiction diary or something.  We study one text feature each day {in the order of the notebook}.  We look for them in nonfiction books {that I keep handy in bins during this entire unit}, we read the descriptor that Jen has written in a way that they understand, and we cut out an example of that text feature and glue it on the page.  Examples are provided in the pack for you to cut and glue.  We also look for them in old Scholastic News or Weekly Readers.

Once the kids have quite a few text features under their belts we delve into my writing pack.  I have my kiddos study an animal because they are super into them and I have a lot of books at their level that they can do research with.  It's a big hullabaloo, for sure, but if you spell it out and take it slowly - the end product is a work of art!!!! :)

You know how I love reader's and writer's celebrations {just search it in my blog and you'll find some ways I like to celebrate our learning!} so I've created a certificate to give to your kiddos once they have completed their first nonfiction story.  Click on the picture to pick yours up for free!

Click the picture to get yours free! {In B&W too}
Tomorrow is my LAST day of freedom.  I told myself I wasn't going in this weekend, but I did end up going in for a bit today.  I did it so I could spend the day with my family tomorrow...without thinking {much} about my classroom! 

Have a great week!



  1. tomorrow's my last day of freedom too!!! waaaaa!!!! I loved seeing what you are working on :)

  2. Holly,
    When I think back to all the things I did this summer, I have to admit that meeting you was one of my highlights! Not only were you "real", (as opposed to my husband thinking you were only "cyber friends!) but you were very nice, funny, and friendly to me. Those little touches have made me feel like I've known you for a long time.
    Today is my last day of freedom, too. But I will be in school all day. My room is near ready. And since it is POURING rain here, I might as well go in.
    I look forward to learning more from you and all the others in blogland. I hope you get off to a good start this year.
    New email address:
    (they just added the R to my last name.)

  3. Can it be time already?!?! We don't officially have to be back for meetings until Wednesday. But, since I did new teacher orientation last week and we have Open House on Wednesday night, I should probably go in today. Hope your meetings are motivational, inspirational and nothing like mine. :)
    Funky First Grade Fun

  4. You put a lot of effort into that- great work! My Kinders love love love non-fiction too, and it blows my mind! I, as a reader, like fiction more... but these little ones just can't get enough of the "real" stuff!! I spend most of the time at the library in the non-fiction section getting more books for the classroom because they keep eating them up!

    Good luck on your first day of school!! **hugs**

    Let's Teach Something


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