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April 24, 2015

Tips for Analyzing Nonfiction for the Common Core, Part 2

By Erin Klein
Grades 1–2

    Independence Through Book Clubs

    Using Our R.A.N. (Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction) Charts

    In "Tips for Analyzing Nonfiction for the Common Core, Part 1," I described our setup for introducing students to the various components of nonfiction. Now, I'd like to show how having reading and writing units compliment one another fully supports this learning. Students start to apply what they've learned in writing workshop to their book clubs in reading workshop.  

    Before we place students into book clubs, several things happen to prepare them for success. As a class, we also do a few logistical exercises to get ready for the new unit.  

    • Day 1: Students create their R.A.N. charts.

    • Day 2: Class discussions are held to build excitement for book clubs and generate topics students may be interested in. (I use this list to start forming the clubs of three or four students based on similar interests.)

    • Day 3: Using a mentor text, I model how to think aloud as I'm reading nonfiction. (I model what I do before reading, during reading, and after reading.)

      • Before reading: thinking about what I already know about the topic, wondering what I'll learn, etc.

      • During reading: stopping after certain sections to synthesize what I've just read and put it into my own words, using the text features to support my thinking, etc.

      • After reading: revisiting my original thoughts to see if I was right or not, processing what I've learned, thinking about questions I may still have, etc. 

    • Day 4: Using a mentor text, I model how to use the R.A.N. chart (this is an extension of the previous day's lesson). I jot my thoughts down onto sticky notes and place them onto the R.A.N. chart.

     

    Day 4's lesson is vital to the success of students being able to become independent during the process. They must have a clear understanding of what is expected. Let students know that they will soon be in their book clubs based on the topics they've selected, and practice what happens during a book club as a class so that they all know what to do.

    After I've modeled how to use the R.A.N. chart, I demonstrate how to apply their thinking to the chart. For example, with sticky notes and my R.A.N. chart in hand, I look at my text and begin to think aloud about what I think I know about this topic. I jot each of those ideas onto a separate sticky note and place them onto the R.A.N. chart. As I start to read, stopping and synthesizing after certain sections, I also begin to think of any of "what I thought I knew" has been confirmed or contradicted. If it has, I then move my sticky note to the correct column on the R.A.N. chart. I continue reading. When I come to something I find very interesting or important that is new to me, I jot it down so I remember to share it with my friends during book club. I place that sticky note onto the "new learning" section of the R.A.N. chart.  After I've finished reading, I can jot down any questions I still have and put those thoughts on the "wonderings" section of the chart.

    Now it's about time for the students to go off and try these strategies.  

    Teacher Tip:

    The book I use for a mentor text is one that I have as a class set. I find using the same nonfiction text to launch this unit helps students understand exactly what they're supposed to do. Instead of having to apply the lesson to their own topics, they're able to directly apply the lesson to their reading. For example, I use this book about Sharks as I model Day 4's lesson. Each child will also have a copy of this book as they go off to work in their book clubs. If you don't have a class set of a nonfiction book, just make sure each book club group will have the same copy of a text.  

    Going Off Into Book Clubs:

    During Day 2, we've already explained book clubs, talked about their authenticity, and built real excitement for them. So now students can't wait to get started. After I've modeled Day 4's lesson, we briefly talk about the structure for the book club.

    • First: Meet with your club and decide how far you will read for the day (each member is respectful and stays together for their reading).

    • Second: Go off and read independently, stopping at the place your group decided (during this independent time, complete the R.A.N. chart just as modeled during the mini-lesson).

    • Third: Come back together as a club to share using the R.A.N. chart as a guide to facilitate discussion, not to be read note by note. During this time, I'm really facilitating to support the types of conversations each group should be having.

    Once the book clubs have had a chance to come back together to share, I pull the class back in for a brief wrap-up and whole group share to the lesson.  

    Reflecting On the Use of R.A.N Charts

    What I've learned as the students use their R.A.N. charts during book clubs is that the level of focus, active reading, and quality sharing has been exponentially enhanced within the classroom. Students now have a purpose for reading. They have been given clear expectations, and have tools and resources to support them in the process. Their learning is also enhanced by the learning of their classmates.  

    Getting to share with their group is powerful!

    Where Do I Go After Day 4's Lesson?

    Now that students each have their R.A.N. charts and have had the opportunity to practice the class structure of what book clubs will be like, I model this one or two more times. During this time, I'm also finding multiple copies of nonfiction books based on the topics of interest the students selected from Day 2. Then, I group the students onto paper (for my records) so that when I'm ready to put them in their actual book clubs, everyone will be prepared. Once students get the hang of how to read and analyze nonfiction texts and participate in book clubs, I proceed to passing out each book club's new book for the topics they've selected.  

    For the complete curriculum, click here to download the lessons and resource materials. You will need to scroll all the way down to see the files to download. There will be two separate files: one for the lessons and one for the resources. These lessons are designed for grade two but can be adapted to fit other grade levels. 

     

    Independence Through Book Clubs

    Using Our R.A.N. (Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction) Charts

    In "Tips for Analyzing Nonfiction for the Common Core, Part 1," I described our setup for introducing students to the various components of nonfiction. Now, I'd like to show how having reading and writing units compliment one another fully supports this learning. Students start to apply what they've learned in writing workshop to their book clubs in reading workshop.  

    Before we place students into book clubs, several things happen to prepare them for success. As a class, we also do a few logistical exercises to get ready for the new unit.  

    • Day 1: Students create their R.A.N. charts.

    • Day 2: Class discussions are held to build excitement for book clubs and generate topics students may be interested in. (I use this list to start forming the clubs of three or four students based on similar interests.)

    • Day 3: Using a mentor text, I model how to think aloud as I'm reading nonfiction. (I model what I do before reading, during reading, and after reading.)

      • Before reading: thinking about what I already know about the topic, wondering what I'll learn, etc.

      • During reading: stopping after certain sections to synthesize what I've just read and put it into my own words, using the text features to support my thinking, etc.

      • After reading: revisiting my original thoughts to see if I was right or not, processing what I've learned, thinking about questions I may still have, etc. 

    • Day 4: Using a mentor text, I model how to use the R.A.N. chart (this is an extension of the previous day's lesson). I jot my thoughts down onto sticky notes and place them onto the R.A.N. chart.

     

    Day 4's lesson is vital to the success of students being able to become independent during the process. They must have a clear understanding of what is expected. Let students know that they will soon be in their book clubs based on the topics they've selected, and practice what happens during a book club as a class so that they all know what to do.

    After I've modeled how to use the R.A.N. chart, I demonstrate how to apply their thinking to the chart. For example, with sticky notes and my R.A.N. chart in hand, I look at my text and begin to think aloud about what I think I know about this topic. I jot each of those ideas onto a separate sticky note and place them onto the R.A.N. chart. As I start to read, stopping and synthesizing after certain sections, I also begin to think of any of "what I thought I knew" has been confirmed or contradicted. If it has, I then move my sticky note to the correct column on the R.A.N. chart. I continue reading. When I come to something I find very interesting or important that is new to me, I jot it down so I remember to share it with my friends during book club. I place that sticky note onto the "new learning" section of the R.A.N. chart.  After I've finished reading, I can jot down any questions I still have and put those thoughts on the "wonderings" section of the chart.

    Now it's about time for the students to go off and try these strategies.  

    Teacher Tip:

    The book I use for a mentor text is one that I have as a class set. I find using the same nonfiction text to launch this unit helps students understand exactly what they're supposed to do. Instead of having to apply the lesson to their own topics, they're able to directly apply the lesson to their reading. For example, I use this book about Sharks as I model Day 4's lesson. Each child will also have a copy of this book as they go off to work in their book clubs. If you don't have a class set of a nonfiction book, just make sure each book club group will have the same copy of a text.  

    Going Off Into Book Clubs:

    During Day 2, we've already explained book clubs, talked about their authenticity, and built real excitement for them. So now students can't wait to get started. After I've modeled Day 4's lesson, we briefly talk about the structure for the book club.

    • First: Meet with your club and decide how far you will read for the day (each member is respectful and stays together for their reading).

    • Second: Go off and read independently, stopping at the place your group decided (during this independent time, complete the R.A.N. chart just as modeled during the mini-lesson).

    • Third: Come back together as a club to share using the R.A.N. chart as a guide to facilitate discussion, not to be read note by note. During this time, I'm really facilitating to support the types of conversations each group should be having.

    Once the book clubs have had a chance to come back together to share, I pull the class back in for a brief wrap-up and whole group share to the lesson.  

    Reflecting On the Use of R.A.N Charts

    What I've learned as the students use their R.A.N. charts during book clubs is that the level of focus, active reading, and quality sharing has been exponentially enhanced within the classroom. Students now have a purpose for reading. They have been given clear expectations, and have tools and resources to support them in the process. Their learning is also enhanced by the learning of their classmates.  

    Getting to share with their group is powerful!

    Where Do I Go After Day 4's Lesson?

    Now that students each have their R.A.N. charts and have had the opportunity to practice the class structure of what book clubs will be like, I model this one or two more times. During this time, I'm also finding multiple copies of nonfiction books based on the topics of interest the students selected from Day 2. Then, I group the students onto paper (for my records) so that when I'm ready to put them in their actual book clubs, everyone will be prepared. Once students get the hang of how to read and analyze nonfiction texts and participate in book clubs, I proceed to passing out each book club's new book for the topics they've selected.  

    For the complete curriculum, click here to download the lessons and resource materials. You will need to scroll all the way down to see the files to download. There will be two separate files: one for the lessons and one for the resources. These lessons are designed for grade two but can be adapted to fit other grade levels. 

     

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