Friday, March 16, 2012

Nonfiction Text Features & Common Core

There is a lot of discussion going on about aligning our teaching and curriculum with the Common Core.  I have been doing a lot of research on the subject and pouring over the information on their website.  So here is my position on the Common Core:  It's just good teaching practices.  I decided to take a look at what I am currently doing in the classroom and how it stacks up to the Common Core.  For future blog posts, I will make a connection and reference to the Common Core to help teachers realize what we are already doing that matches with the Common Core and some ways to meet the standards. 

My class is working with nonfiction text features as we enter the first phase of our next inquiry project - Ocean Life/Habitats - after spring break.  We are creating an anchor chart modeled after The Comprehension Tool Kit for K-2 by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. It is a work in progress that will continue over the next 3 weeks.  The following shows the chart we have been creating over the past 2 days.  We use Scholastic Readers, and I am able to show the interactive version on our Smart Board.  When we were finished, we cut one of our "magazines" apart to show the nonfictions features the magazine used.  Later in the day, we worked in small groups to identify the nonfiction features in our "magazines."  I save the extra Scholastic Readers every year and laminate them to use for this activity.  This gives us multiple versions on various topics.  I cut Post-it-Note labels into small strips to help color-code their findings.  The students used our anchor chart to help identify and label these features.  My 1st grade students LOVED it!  It was also great fine motor practice too.

Building an Anchor Chart

Sticky Post-it-Labels cut into strips for identifying nonfiction text features

Cooperative Learning:  Identifying nonfiction text features - photographs

We found photographs, illustrations, and labels.

We found more illustrations.  But wait!  The question at this table became, "Are there illustrations in the photographs?"  After looking at the Scholastic Magazine, they were right!  And they were so excited they discovered this on their own.  This led to a conversation about why the author would do that.  Cooperative learning at its finest:)
Update 11/20/12:  I have created a unit along with 2 multimedia files, 2 Power Points,  2 songs, and a 124 page unit to help teach nonfiction text features to our students.

Click HERE to view the blogpost about it.

This Post included:
Common Core for Kindergarten:
 English Language Arts Standards - Reading - Informational Text
Key Ideas and Details RI. K.1, RI. K.2, RI. K.3
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas RI. K.7, K.9
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity RI. K.10

Common Core for 1st Grade: English Language Arts Standards - Reading - Informational Text
Key Ideas and Details RI. 1.1, RI. 1.2, RI. 1.3
Craft and Structure RI 1.4, RI 1.5, RI 1.6
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas RI. 1.7, RI. 1.8, RI. 1.9
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity RI. 1.10

Common Core for 2nd Grade:  English Language Arts Standards - Reading - Informational Text
Craft and Structure RI. 2.4, RI. 2.5, RI. 2.6


  1. Hi Kathy,
    This is Fran from Kindergarten Crayons and I just found your blog and loved all that you have thoughtfully posted about CC. This is what it looks like in a classroom! Fabulous and we will need to do a fifty percent use of non fiction text as part of our alignment. This is a great example. Look at Capstone for even better first grade stuff- in my opinion.

  2. Hi Fran! Glad you found my blog. Don't know if you remember but we met at I Teach K in 2011 when you attended one of my sessions. We took a picture together inside a poster board frame for "We Are in a Book." Thanks for your kinds words. I am becoming a BIG Common Core fan and making it an integral part of the early childhood classroom while still being developmentally appropriate. I am a Capstone fan too:) Thanks for stopping by!

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