After I've launched Reading Workshop and all of the corresponding mini-lessons about how to hold a book, how to stay in one spot, how to shop for a book, how to only get a tissue when we need one and not just because our friend is getting one, how not to build towers out of our books because that's not actually reading (ahem!), I finally start to introduce content during my mini-lesson time. The first topic we tackle is distinguishing between fiction and non-fiction. Friends, this topic is tricky! The vocabulary seems backwards, and my EL students really struggle. However, we practiced a LOT this week and had a great time doing it!
I introduce the vocabulary using Whole Brain Teaching hand motions and lots of repetition. Students echo that fiction is "made-up" and nonfiction "teaches us". I introduce my anchor chart and all the elements of fiction and nonfiction that readers can look for. I made some printable freebie anchor charts for you to use with your own class! Just click the pictures for the link.
After this, we do a huge fiction and nonfiction sort using books from our classroom library right down the middle of our rug. Each student partnership gets a book and has to decide where to put it. To reinforce the vocabulary, I had students come up to the anchor chart and point to a reason that supported their choice. After this, students go and practice building their stamina. When we come back together, we do our Accountable Talk sentence stems.
Next we play the "Stand Up, Jump Down" game. I show a slideshow of book covers and ask students to stand up if the book is fiction and crouch down if the book is nonfiction. This game is great for getting wiggles out while having great academic conversation. I also show a Harry Kindergarten video that does a similar activity. It goes a bit faster, so it really gets the kids moving!
As the week goes on, we continue to do lots of book sorts. As scaffolds, I have them do a sort in small groups and then with a partner. As the week ends, I have students start writing about their learning. The writing sheet and sort are both included in the free download!
My students worked so hard this week, and I am so proud of their progress! How do you teach fiction vs. nonfiction? I'd love to know about any tips and tricks you have! All the freebies mentioned in this post (and a few more) are located in the following link, just in case you haven't grabbed them yet. Have a great week, teacher friends!