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info texts for students grades 4-8

Writing with Mentor Texts – App Reviews in Grades 6-8

Is anybody else sick of the five-paragraph essay? The book Writing with Mentors (Marchetti & O’Dell, 2015) was so refreshing to read as I ponder how to keep students excited about reading and writing analytically. The authors provide insight into how we can engage students in writing for authentic purposes in a variety of non-five-paragraph …Read more

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Tips for using ‘Reading A to Z’ texts for close reading

Reading A to Z is a common classroom resource for leveled informational texts. There are some good texts in this collection – I would just be cautious, read for quality, and choose with clear objectives or text-dependent questions in mind. Below I describe how a group of teachers and I chose excerpts from Reading A …Read more

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Bootleg by Blumenthal – Recommended read for 7th-8th grade

Blumenthal’s writing is always solid and her research is exquisite. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition (2011) is no exception. This would be a great read for students who are researching prohibition or this time period and wanting lots of juicy-interesting details. Blumenthal’s purpose is to explain the many, many factors involved …Read more

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Please dump traditional book report requirements and try…

My daughter is enjoying a new school in a new state, but I was dismayed to see the traditional, worn out book report requirements for her 5th grade class. I want to say first – her teacher is  hosting some amazing learning experiences – they are currently studying the eye, are engaged in research reports …Read more

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Read This Book on Titanic Not That One

A Night to Remember (Lord, 1955) is listed as an exemplar text in Appendix B of the Common Core. It’s okay, but not stellar. Instead I would recommend reading Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Hopkinson, 2012). It is a better exemplar of what 6-8th grade students should be reading. See my blog on Hopkinson’s book …Read more

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Displaying Nonfiction in Your Classroom Library

Here’s a model for displaying nonfiction in your classroom library. Notice how the books are facing forward in baskets – easy to flip through and find a title of interest. Also, if you zoom in, you’ll see the books are categorized and coded – “Transportation NF#5.” The codes are marked on the back of the …Read more

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Intriguing Notices as Mini-Lessons

I’m always intrigued by the notices posted around us. Many are perfect for mini-lessons focused on close reading of informational text. Check out this one I saw in a restroom in Chico, CA. For a close reading exercise, I would put this on the document camera or Smart board and ask students some of the …Read more

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Review of Exemplar Text in Appendix B – Grades 6-8 – Oh, my!

So I’m reading all of the texts on the Common Core Appendix B Exemplar Informational Text list. My reading is focused on what makes these texts rigorous for a particular grade band, what makes them hard for students, what do we need to think about when students are reading texts like these with a lot …Read more

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Museums as Nonfiction Sources with Central Ideas

  I’ve always found field trips frustrating. The students are very excited, but most of the learning is superficial. But what if we treated field trip locations as nonfiction texts that have central ideas? What if, while on a field trip to a museum, we did the kind of thinking we do to make sense …Read more

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The Mighty Mars Rovers – Close Reading Lesson

If you’re exploring the new Next Generation Science Standards and wondering how to get started, I’d start by reading this book aloud to your students. The standards have added “engineering and technology” to the landscape of science instruction and the authors have shifted from “methods” to “practice” in their descriptions of what scientists and engineers …Read more

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