Tuesday, September 30, 2014

American Symbols -Connecting Reading Literature and Informational Text

Reading informational text wall
 The kids have really gotten used to identifying texts as informational or narrative.  I really think that teaching these blocks explicitly has helped the kids not only in comprehension, but also in writing.  They are beginning to connect the structure of each of the types of texts and that is helping them when they read and write.  We just finished American symbols.  When I looked for good literature books at first grade reading level that connected with the unit on American Symbols I had a tough time.  So I decided to write a shared reading text and a companion (much easier level) student book.  I was worried that the kids would miss the color version in their student book, but they loved it (partially because I think they loved the cute character -thanks Melonheadz illustration:).  With the reading literature component we retold the story, worked on characterization, setting, and vocabulary.  We worked daily a little bit in our fiction block on the reading literature activities.  Even still, during Daily 5 the kids reached for their Bob and Kaya book :)  For informational text time we worked on close reading of articles on American Symbols, took notes, answered questions, and then wrote informational pieces on each symbol.  If interested in the unit see below: 

Sample student papers from the unit.

Shared reading pictures with modeled note taking and vocabulary cards on reading literature board.

Students taking notes while exploring multimedia on American Symbols.

Connecting Literature to Social Studies

Students putting together an opinion piece as a pre-writing activity.
In conjunction with our Rules, Rights, and Responsibilities unit we did the literature unit Bud's Day Out from the first grade Houghton Mifflin anthology.  We connected the concepts of rules and responsibilities to the story by discussing how the dog Bud didn't follow the rules.  We covered character traits, setting, retelling, and we connected the whole unit with opinion writing.  The kids had so much fun deciding whether Bud was naughty or just being a dog. Their writing was priceless and they brought up so many points that I hadn't thought of in their opinion pieces.  I created a unit for these activities, and if you're interested it can be accessed below: