Saturday, February 6, 2016

Using Nonfiction Research as Enrichment

This weekend I am writing about something that I am really loving this year-

I have a guided reading group that is already several reading levels into second grade territory, so I wanted a way for them to have something to work on that is above and beyond what we would typically be doing at this point in first grade.

I started working on some animal research units that we could use that would all follow the same format. This was particularly important because I wanted it to be something that we could work on together once, but then be more of an independent activity for home or school.

For our first foray into nonfiction research, I had my kids work with a partner and pick an animal that they wanted to learn more about. The two boys picked giraffes and the two girls picked flamingos. I put together a pack with some challenging text, questions that would require text-based evidence, and additional comprehension activities.

On day one, we read the text and came up with some details to describe our animals in a web.

On day two, we re-read the text and worked on some of the short-answer questions. I had them use a highlighter to show where they found their answer in the text.

One of my favorite parts of this pack is the animal adaptations writing. Students are asked to describe why an animal's features are helpful to their survival. For flamingos, we wrote about the hair-like combs in the flamingo's bill and the webbed feet.

 On day three, they all came in with their packs finished (or close to finished)! I got a note from one of the parents saying how excited their child was to be working on this project that she hadn't been able to wait for us to do it together! 

They really enjoyed labeling and coloring a flamingo.

The true/false statements allowed me to see what they understood from their reading of the passage.

The flamingo pack includes a short writing on whether a flamingo would make a good pet. As much as I would want one, both girls agreed that a flamingo would NOT make a good pet!

I added a word search that included some key vocabulary related to their chosen animal. This group is obsessed with word searches!

One of the little girls even made a poster of a labeled flamingo for me to display in the classroom!

Since the kids were so excited and so engaged with the material, I had them pick another animal and made them some packs to work on independently.

The two girls are already working hard on the polar bear pack.

Since they blew through their first pack so fast, I added a project option to this new pack. We are going to be doing additional research online and at the library with our final goal to be some kind of project that can be shared with the class. I gave them these options: PowerPoint, poster, informational writing, or a diorama. Although they are working with a partner for the research aspect of the project, they will be completing their own project. 

I picked several options for the projects so that they could choose the one that appealed to their strengths the best. I already know that one of them is choosing the PowerPoint presentation and another loves to build, so he is leaning towards the diorama.

You can find my differentiated nonfiction units here. They are also bundled in a growing bundle.

Check out my facebook page for a giveaway of your choice of nonfiction unit!
(giveaway ends Wednesday,  February 10)

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