Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nonfiction Writing

Good times in our Reading and Writing Workshop this past week.  We jumped into nonfiction studies.  I handed 2-3 nonfiction books to each reading partner with some Post-it notes.   I asked them to put the notes in areas of the book that looked different from the story books we have been reading.

I circulated the room and commented on those who found nonfiction text features. I did this is a slightly louder voice, so others quickly caught on. Once we came back together we charted the things we noticed.   After they left, I took some photo copies and re-wrote this chart.

 We then read a couple of nonfiction books about polar bears.
On day one we put our facts down in light blue.  On day two (book two) we added new facts in darker blue.  It is hard to tell in this picture, but it is a great way for us to check our schema and monitor our learning.

I then set out to write my own nonfiction text. I modeled going back to the above chart over and over.

Here is the book I wrote with my kiddos.

 We also worked in a little polar bear action into my morning message  (which was a Riddle of the Day). It is a great way to work in inferential thinking!

I get my riddles here.
Click on the image to find this book on Amazon

 Sadly, I do not have any student samples to show you.  I had three students start a piece of nonfiction writing, but we only had a few days to work on it, so it would be premature to show it.  However, I am confident some, if not most, of my other students will jump on board and start one this week.

I will keep you posted!!!


  1. This is too cute. I especially love the page where you drew the bubbles of the things the polar bear eats. I think your drawings rock. I always tell my class "Ms. Fleming is a teacher not an artist!"

    Where do you get your riddles or do you make them up? Thanks.
    Randi @ Teach It With Class
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  2. Wow! What wonderful ideas!
    I love:
    - the two colours used when charting facts
    - the illustrative tools for sharing ideas

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Love this! You draw very well, I am always impressed with your little books. The last time I drew some people on our morning message my students shouted "Yay! Aliens!" I just went with it, of course I was trying to draw aliens! LOL

  4. I. LOVE. YOUR. WRITING. POSTS! They are so helpful and full of information.
    Ms. A

  5. Thanks guys! Randi, I edited my post and added the Riddle of the Day source. I should have done that with the original post. I LOVE this book. We use it all year long.

  6. I really need to make that anchor chart about non-fiction books!!!! I confuse my kiddos because I say non-fiction, but in the common core they call it informational. Do you just call it both?

    Great post!

  7. Hi Deedee!
    I've been using a lot of your ideas in my writing block and it's been working great! When you write a book with your class do you just do a page a day with them? Do they all want to write about the same thing that you do??? That's one of the problems I'm facing. How do you encourage original ideas?
    Little Warriors

  8. Hi Katie! Yes, I do a page a day with my kiddos. At first, my kids want to write what I write, but over time, they venture into their own ideas. This becomes a little trick (like right now) because I would like my class to write nonfiction, but they are still interested in their own stories.

    You know everyday you have kids bursting to tell you a story about something that happened in their life. I listen enthusiastically then say, "Oh my! You know, you could write about that." Parents tell me their child says the same thing to them at home."Oh Mom! I could write about this."

    My hope is that the kids write for themselves and not for me. I want them to write about the rich stories they have to tell. See you soon!

  9. I bought the Riddle of the Day from Scholastic after you recommended it last year and love it! We are doing our non-fiction unit on penguins this week and the non-fiction anchor chart is genius! I always love reading your posts :) You are the BOMB!
    Eberhart’s Explorers

  10. What kinds of activities do you do with your polar bears? I am a new teacher and want to do a winter unit that is informational! Any tips or suggestions?!

  11. I love your book! Compared to my drawings, you would definitely win a Caldecott - I can't even draw stick people very well! I also love the anchor chart on nonfiction - I might have to make one next week!
    Teachin' First

  12. Deedee, I just LOVED this post... and all of your great non-fiction ideas. We just wrapped up our Non-Fiction writing unit. It was an awesome time of growth for my writers! : )

    You can check out my post (with a shout out to you!) here:
    Literacy and Laughter


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