Thursday, November 29, 2012

Integrating Nonfiction Studies with Science and Social Studies

The Common Core Standards put as much emphasis on nonfiction as they do literature.  It is important to find ways to incorporate nonfiction into your classroom. We have been studying weather over the last couple weeks in Science and previously we talked about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. I decided for Science this week to grab a big stack of nonfiction books at the library.  I checked out books on different types of storms and natural disasters.  I grabbed Hurricanes: Earth's Mightiest Storms because it is a CC Examplar text, as well as several books by Seymour Simon since his Volcanoes book is an exemplar text. 
I also grabbed other books on tsunamis, mudslides, drought, wildfires, etc. The students had to choose a topic and read the book.  Their task is to create an alphabet book over facts they learned about the weather/storm/natural disaster.  I gave them the option of making the alphabet book as an actual book by hand or making a PowerPoint with a slide for each letter.  They love their Mac's so they all chose a PowerPoint.  We have read other alphabet books already this year on other topics, so they were familiar with the text structure of an alphabet book.

It has been a good assignment though.  I tasked them with the idea that all of their facts have to come from the text and not the internet.  We were able to talk about reading nonfiction with a purpose.  It also gave us a chance to review text features.  Since they are having to use all 26 letters of the alphabet, it makes them think a little differently.  We also talked about helpful resources for this task are to use the index and glossary at the back since they are alphabetized.  How do you incorporate nonfiction? 

I like that they are having to read a longer text and not just an article.  At the end, I am going to have them answer some general questions on the their text.  So, some of them may have to go back and read a little more closely.  Truthfully, this is how many of us read nonfiction though.  Authentically, we often skip around, scan the facts and pictures, skip to the chapters we are most interested in, and then go back and reread.  I want to help them to become authentic and enthusiastic readers.  How do you incorporate nonfiction to meet common core?

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