Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fiction VS. Nonfiction Teaching Ideas

Hello Friends!

One thing I love about the Common Core Standards is the emphasis of our students reading and writing informational texts. My heart is so happy when I see my first graders get excited when I bring new nonfiction books into our classroom! Today I have a few ideas to share that I used in my classroom this year.

When we begun our work learning about nonfiction texts I started the unit by making sure my students understood what made a text fictional and nonfictional. After modeling how I knew, students turned and talked to a partner to explain how they knew the text type. Then I added these posters to our focus wall.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.


These videos were also perfect!

Harry Kindergarten is always a favorite.



 This video has short clips of Happy Feet 2 and March of the Penguins

The next day I planned to start teaching nonfiction text features. I asked, "What are text features?"  I looked out and saw blank stares...heard nothing but crickets....This actually excited me. I love when no one already knows what I am about to teach. :)

Prior to our mini lesson I made these 2 posters (later taped them together) with the text pictures pasted on.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.


You can get these FREE text feature posters I used from Deana at Primary Punch {HERE}.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.

I shrunk the posters down and printed 4 to a page.  I did not prewrite the post-its on the poster, my students and I decided on the notes together as we looked for, discussed, and determined each text feature's purpose we found in our nonfiction books.

It took us 4 mini lessons to determine what these text features were and to understand how they help us while reading nonfiction texts. I hung our anchor chart in a low space accessible to my students while working in the classroom.

Now that my readers had a good foundation of identifying nonfiction books and text features, we moved on to comparing fiction to nonfiction texts. These two familiar books on butterflies were perfect to use as examples of each text type.


Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.


In first grade students must be able to explain major differences between fiction and nonfiction texts. So again, I premade the beginning of our anchor chart to compare texts. I printed and cut out these word strips on cardstock. We built the chart together in a few mini lessons having my students prove the differences in my butterfly texts. 


Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.
Get these attribute printables {HERE}

Later my students sorted the attributes on their own chart. 


Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.



I  used this printable in a center. It was perfect to have students share their thinking with a partner. :)

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.

This printable made a good assessment I shared with parents at conferences.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.

If you are interested in looking closer at this pack you can see it on my TPT shop {HERE}.

Comparing Fiction and Nonfiction - Do your students need help understanding the differences between fiction vs nonfiction texts? These printables are perfect for making an anchor chart for your classroom as your students are learning to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction.

In addition, I have saved a ton of ideas on my Pinterest board Informational Text Ideas, come pin with me!

I would love for you to leave a comment below sharing ideas how you teach your students to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Writing Process {ideas & a freebie!)



Hello Friends!

Do you love teaching writing as much as I do? Let's talk the writing process!

Our primary students have so many stories to tell. Have your students ever walked in your door in the morning eager to tell you a story? Mine do, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Writer's Workshop is such a great way to let them do just so.

I love hearing their stories and letting them have the chance to speak through their writing.  I love that my first graders are so eager to learn that they practically try to emulate an author mentor or my writing style. I love that we can ignite their desire to write more by calling them "authors" and giving them "special tools" to publish their revised drafts of stories they have written.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about Writer's Workshop!

Today I want to share with you specifically how I publish stories with my first graders, it is so powerful that it is something I have done for more years than I remember. :)

I launch Writer's Workshop at the beginning of the year with narrative writing. Even at the beginning of the year I start to introduce the writing process to my first graders. I hang this anchor chart up as a so we can reference the process during mini lessons.


You can find this chart for FREE in my shop {HERE}

Through modeling and direct instruction my students develop an understanding of how writers prewrite, draft, revise, and edit (self, peer, teacher) their work. However, during the first two months of school we do not usually publish our stories. It is more important in my opinion for my students to be completely independent and capable writers before I can add book publishing to our learning. Plus I always like to save some things for later in the year to motivate and reignite their love of writing.

By the second quarter, we start writing to inform with procedural writing (how to) writing. This unit is by far my students and my favorite text type. My students are eager to teach others through their writing things they have "expert" knowledge of.

By the end of the unit my students revise and edit their How To writing templates and choose their favorite piece to publish.


You can see more of this writing template {HERE}


 Now we are ready to publish! I created a WORD doc template that my students can use to type their stories. For the first published book, I have them create only the cover, title page, and materials need page in the document. They learn how to create text in a text box, change the font if desired and import a picture for their cover. We can print two copies and use one as a title page.




Once printed, I ask a parent volunteer to assemble pages in their book so they can write and illustrate their masterpiece. They are so eager to finish writing their edited text and add illustrations with special publishing tools (markers, twistables, glitter crayons etc.).


I make a big deal about them being authors, give them time to share their books and send them home with a letter to their parents. IT IS A BIG DEAL!!!

Parent letter

Later in the year when my students have more stamina, I encourage them to type their entire text with the published book template. It does take a while for them to publish these books as most of my students are still "hunting and pecking" to type their words. :) But it is sooooo worth it!

How cute is this....she googled how to help the bird ;) 

If you have never published books with your students, I want to encourage you to do so. Suddenly writing is exciting again, there is a purpose, students are reading and talking to each other about their stories, they are beaming with pride.... (and you will be the best teacher ever!!!)

If you are interested in taking a closer look at the publishing templates you can click the pictures below.




I am so glad you stopped by, I would love to hear any ideas in the comments you have on published writing or author celebrations!