Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Helping Your Students Compare and Contrast Fiction with Non-Fiction Text

I am delighted to have Jill Richardson along as a guest blogger today...her work is amazing!!!

It is so exciting to be able to share with you today.  My name is Jill Richardson.

Do you need another way to build excitement and enjoyment of learning for your students?  Try pairing fiction and non-fiction texts.  Most of my career has been in teaching reading in the primary grades.  This year I am teaching English as a Second Language and loving it! 

Pairing fiction and nonfiction texts is an authentic way to integrate Language Arts, Science and Social Studies.  It can provide the bridge our ELL’s need as well as benefiting all students. It is a great way to build vocabulary and show children the same words in different genres.  It helps the children to make connections with the world and themselves.

I participated in a Book Study this year on Rigor is Not a Four-Letter Word. In the book, Barbara Blackburn talked about how pairing the two builds rigor.  I thought I would incorporate it more with my students.  Wow, my students and I loved it!  It helped to build my excitement because I could pick some of my favorite classic books to experiment with and the children loved connecting the two because of their natural curiosity.  We had so much fun!

I used what I had in my room as my first pairing. One of my groups was reading at a guided reading level H so I chose, The Goat in the Chile Patch by Lada Josefa Kratky and Goats are Great by Alyse Sweeney (a Reading A to Z book).  I would suggest you pick a fiction book that you enjoy and look for a non-fiction pairing.

Here is a list of Pairings that Scholastic suggests and others that I added.

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Bats by Gail Gibbons

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman

Police Officers on the Go by Alyse Sweeney

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Snowy Weather Days by Katie Marsico

Recycle That! by Fay Robinson

New York City by David F. Marx

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Ducks! by Gail Gibbons

Verdi by Janell Cannon
Pythons: Fun Facts & Pictures For Kids by Lilly Carle

Here are a few tips to help you get started. I have included photographs from my classroom for visual support.

1.Pre-teach vocabulary words.  (3-5 words)

Choose words that are in both the fiction and nonfiction texts.

Review 1-2 Tier One Words. (Basic words that are commonly spoken.)

Teach 2-4 Tier Two Words (High frequency words used in many contexts)

Teach 1-2 Tier Three Words (Words that are content related or applicable to a specific subject.)

2. Complete a  KWL anchor chart or KWL printable on the subject in which the children are reading.
For example Ducks
What do you know?
What do you want to find out?
What did you learn?

3.  Have the students read the texts. You may choose what best meets the needs of your students.

Interactive Read Aloud
Partner Reading
Guided Reading

4. Have the children complete a story map or plot summary of the fiction book.

5. Have the children fill in the KWL after reading the non-fiction text.

6. Complete a venn diagram or graphic organizer comparing the two texts.

7.  Compare and contrast in writing how the two are alike and different. Our English Language Learners may need to be supported by using sentence frames.

Pairing fiction and nonfiction provides rigor in your classroom!  It enhances your students reading comprehension, expands their vocabulary, knowledge and interests and builds great excitement for learning!  It is effective no matter what grade you teach.  You might want to give it a try.

Please enjoy for free: Verdi!  Compare and Contrast Verdi with a real Python! (Paired Reading!)
Jill is an ESL teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Her love is teaching reading in the primary grades.  She has been teaching for over twenty five years in both private and public schools.  She has been a literacy teacher for grades K-5, early education director, literacy facilitator, and classroom teacher of Kindergarten, first and second grades.

Jill Richardson TPT   Jill Richardson Facebook Page  

Many thanks Jill.  Click on the links above, beside Jill's photo (Jill Richardson TPT or Jill Richardson Facebook Page) to check out other awesome resources and ideas from Jill or to follow her to find out about future projects !

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Shark Week -vs- Shark Fest - There's commotion in the ocean

I have been reading lots of blog posts about Shark Week in the U.S. so I decided to investigate more about it.  To be honest, I had never heard of it before and I certainly can't see it taking off in wrong was I?!!!

Shark Week was established by the Discovery Channel in the U.S. and is a week devoted to TV viewing about sharks, sometime in July.  Shark Fest is also a series in the U.S. that apparently is competing with Discovery Channel's Shark Week - you can read about the controversy here.

Now there is also Shark Week in Australia, again via Discovery Channel, but it starts on 1 December apparently.  Click on the links to find out more.

I started thinking about my favourite picture books that feature sharks as main characters and two of these are "Nugget and Fang" by Tammi Sauer and "The Three Little Fish and the Big, Bad Shark" by Ken Geist.  

"The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark” is an innovation on “The Three Little Pigs.”

“Nugget and Fang” has parallels to “Finding Nemo” so these are both excellent texts for explicitly teaching text-to-text connections.

Here are some links to resources for each:

"Nugget and Fang"
"The Three Little Fish and the Big, Bad Shark"
So, to avoid studying, I created a resource for these two picture books that focuses on higher order thinking and reading comprehension.  Click on the image below to find out more.

Here are some other resources you may find useful:

Facts about sharks for kids - YouTube clip (some interesting facts that I didn't know!)

Global shark tracker - interesting...

I still can't see this taking off in Australia, because of all the shark attacks we have over here, however these two picture books are adorable for any time of the year.

"Nugget and Fang" is terrific for individual differences and friendship.  "The Three Little Fish and the Big, Bad Shark" is terrific for fractured fairytales or innovating on texts.