Whenever I think of loving to read, I think of fiction and novels. According to Educational Leadership (December 2012-January 2013): "The average child in the United States spends roughly 4 hours and 29 minutes a day watching TV, 2 hours and 31 minutes listening to music, and 1 hour and 13 minutes playing video games. And how much of their leisure time to do they spend reading nonfiction? Less than 4 minutes a day." Yikes. . .
You should have seen my students faces light up at the bin of books!
We all agreed one of the best parts of non-fiction books are the beautiful photographs and illustrations. Learning cool facts about REAL plants and animals fascinated my kids. They kept wanting to share their new information, which lent itself perfectly to teaching note-taking.
We taught students about various note-taking strategies, depending on the purpose or organization of the notes.
- Venn diagrams lend themselves to compare & contrast
- T-charts are great for examining two facets of a topic
- Box & Bullets support a thesis statement with evidence
- Flow maps help with sequencing
- Bubble maps are terrific to use with sub-topics and evidence
After several days of using books to research, we then used iPads for more online information.
This was the perfect opportunity to discuss the difference between note-taking in our own words, versus plagiarism!
After all our research, note-taking, discussion, and modeling, students chose a specific plant or animal or habitat to write about its adaptations. After examining all types of non-fiction books, we decided that our books must include a Table of Contents, a map, photographs, a diagram with labels and the class wanted to include Fun Facts. They also added an About the Author page at the end. My partner set up a Google Slides template in Google Classroom. (Google Classroom has changed our teaching!! But that's for another blog post. . .) You can grab the Informational Writing rubric we used here.
The awesome thing about Google Slides is that documents can be printed as books! The books are double-sided and in the right order for you to just fold in half and staple! Voila!
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