Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Text Features, Nonfiction, and Wondering

Jumping back into I'm a little rusty, so please bear with any technical issues... if you see any... or just be a dear and don't tell me... :)

My class is awesome this year.  It is the most diverse class I've ever taught... ranging from ESL (from China.. whoa!) and some attention issues, but they are sweethearts to the core.  This makes for a fun but challenging day.

In reading, which takes up the biggest part of our day (two hours!) we are working on Questioning/Wondering in Nonfiction texts.  If you've followed before, my district recently adopted a comprehension program called Making Meaning.  Like any program, it has its good and bad, but I do really like and enjoy using it.

Downside to this, we have been wondering forever.  Seriously, like

Almost feels like we are wandering through wondering... First, we began in fiction.  Then we compared fiction to nonfiction.  Now we are exclusively nonfiction.   I've found lots of good nonfiction resources on blogs, TPT, and on Pinterest to tie into my small groups and remainder of my whole group time.  Making Meaning only takes 2-3 days and it's also not every week, so we have lots of holes to fill.  

Well, with all the snow days we've had, I've jumped the gun on Making Meaning and gone ahead and started doing text features with my class.  What's it gonna hurt?? They've enjoyed doing scavenger hunts and connecting wondering to helping to locate information in those captions, headings, etc.  

Here's what we did today in small group.

We started by previewing our leveled books, looking for text features.  We wrote down the page numbers of any we found.  I printed their checklist on post-it notes (which blew their minds.... they thought that was so awesome...) and stuck them in their reading response notebooks.  

We discussed what they found and worked on clearing up any questions or confusion about what they found or didn't find.  Then, as they read, I had them write down at least two things they wondered about from the text.  We are working on trying to "wonder" about things as we read, not so much "general" questions like, Are robots silly?  or  Do caterpillars have arms?  It's hard for second graders to think because their schema isn't as developed as older students (not to mention crossing language barriers...) but we are making steady progress.

We ended by sharing what we wondered about and if our questions could be answered in the text.  Some of the questions and I wonder statements were really insightful.  Here's what some wrote: 

I found the idea for the post-it notes on TPT from Primarily Primary so huge shout out there!  I'm a font junkie so I changed the header font to one of Jen Jones' Hello Fonts! because I heart, heart, heart them.  

How do you teach text features and questioning?