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May 12, 2016

Engaging With Nonfiction: The Power of a Paper Plate

By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Magazines can be a great resource for any classroom. I might be biased towards the Scholastic brand, but students love the clear, bright images and the range of news from science, to social studies, and current events found in Scholastic News. The teacher materials with each edition provide great guidance so I never have to scour additional places or create discussion points on my own. In our 1:1 classroom, the online components are great for both the whiteboard and to push out to students. That said, there must be more to do with magazines than read and discard. One simple comprehension activity can take any magazine you happen to have and differentiate for any level with endless opportunities with the magic of a simple paper plate.paper plate cutting

    The concept is simple: cut the center from a plate to create a "door" that can be opened and glue it to the center of a sheet of poster paper. Have students write facts about the subject of a magazine article on the poster paper surrounding the plate. To finish the project, students should place a photo (you could cut an image from the magazine) of the article's subject behind the door.

    Students might write about any subject from the Declaration of Independence to a rare breed of toucan. For added difficulty, have students write statements from the point of view of the subject. It the subject is a bird, for example, they might add “I am not a mammal,” or, “I have bright blue feathers.”

    Hang the posters where other students can read the facts and try to guess what object is hidden behind the door. Students can check to see if they guessed correctly by taking a peek.

     

    Finished paper plate posters writing on a poster

     

    Variations

    There are endless ways to use this simple technique. A few ideas to change it up include:

    • Differentiate by giving shorter or less complex topics to students needing more support. Group students by their level of ability Classroom magazine group workor try mixed groupings to let students support each other. Advanced students could work alone.

    • To use as a review, take old copies of magazines containing material previously covered in class and have groups secretly create their posters. The guessing students will have to use their powers of recall to summon up information absorbed earlier. In the process, the lesson taught at an earlier date is reinforced.

    • Have older students create posters for younger grades using their leftover magazines. There’s always that week a magazine doesn’t get taught due to a busy schedule or short week. Ask younger-grade teachers for their extra copies and let the students be the teachers.

    • Hang posters where the rest of the grade level will pass by. Students reading the same material in other classes can interact with your hall display.

    • Encourage extra research. Have students use online resources to find new and unknown facts about a topic discussed in class. Scholastic’s magazines have online resources for teachers and students to use before, during, and after reading.

    • Go digital. There’s no reason a poster has to be paper. Have students make an online poster with a movable bubble to reveal the hidden topic or image. Use a slideshow with hints on each slide until the final slide being the big reveal. Create movie trailers that build suspense and give clues to the unknown item.

    Assessment

    What seems a simple project can prove difficult when students do not comprehend what they have read. Recently, one of my groups was supposed to be writing about the Constitution. Their clues hinted at everything from King George to Paul Revere. Clearly, they didn’t understand what they had read well enough to create the poster. I could have had students redo the work, but instead, I hung all the posters as-is. When the students trying to guess the answers were frustrated by the confusing clues, they gave feedback and also moved on from that particular poster. As it turned out, the group itself asked to redo the work without me ever telling them they were wrong!

    assessing paper plate projects paper plate projects

    Use hidden poster clues with any of Scholastic’s classroom magazines for a fun and engaging reading activity that promotes comprehension, writing, and natural curiosity in the classroom.

     

    Do you want even more ways to use classroom magazines? Check out these great resources from classroom teachers and then explore classroom magazines that will work for you.reading classroom magazine

     

    How could the paper plate project be used in your classroom?

     

    Classroom magazine with markers

     


     

    GIVEAWAY! You could win a free, one-year subscription for one class to a Scholastic Classroom magazine of your choice (ARV $158). To enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post below and include #sweepstakes in your post.

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. One entry per person. Open to legal residents of the United States age 18 or older. All entries must be submitted by 11:59:59 pm ET, May 26, 2016. Read the complete legal rules here. Subject to all applicable laws. Void where prohibited.
     

    Magazines can be a great resource for any classroom. I might be biased towards the Scholastic brand, but students love the clear, bright images and the range of news from science, to social studies, and current events found in Scholastic News. The teacher materials with each edition provide great guidance so I never have to scour additional places or create discussion points on my own. In our 1:1 classroom, the online components are great for both the whiteboard and to push out to students. That said, there must be more to do with magazines than read and discard. One simple comprehension activity can take any magazine you happen to have and differentiate for any level with endless opportunities with the magic of a simple paper plate.paper plate cutting

    The concept is simple: cut the center from a plate to create a "door" that can be opened and glue it to the center of a sheet of poster paper. Have students write facts about the subject of a magazine article on the poster paper surrounding the plate. To finish the project, students should place a photo (you could cut an image from the magazine) of the article's subject behind the door.

    Students might write about any subject from the Declaration of Independence to a rare breed of toucan. For added difficulty, have students write statements from the point of view of the subject. It the subject is a bird, for example, they might add “I am not a mammal,” or, “I have bright blue feathers.”

    Hang the posters where other students can read the facts and try to guess what object is hidden behind the door. Students can check to see if they guessed correctly by taking a peek.

     

    Finished paper plate posters writing on a poster

     

    Variations

    There are endless ways to use this simple technique. A few ideas to change it up include:

    • Differentiate by giving shorter or less complex topics to students needing more support. Group students by their level of ability Classroom magazine group workor try mixed groupings to let students support each other. Advanced students could work alone.

    • To use as a review, take old copies of magazines containing material previously covered in class and have groups secretly create their posters. The guessing students will have to use their powers of recall to summon up information absorbed earlier. In the process, the lesson taught at an earlier date is reinforced.

    • Have older students create posters for younger grades using their leftover magazines. There’s always that week a magazine doesn’t get taught due to a busy schedule or short week. Ask younger-grade teachers for their extra copies and let the students be the teachers.

    • Hang posters where the rest of the grade level will pass by. Students reading the same material in other classes can interact with your hall display.

    • Encourage extra research. Have students use online resources to find new and unknown facts about a topic discussed in class. Scholastic’s magazines have online resources for teachers and students to use before, during, and after reading.

    • Go digital. There’s no reason a poster has to be paper. Have students make an online poster with a movable bubble to reveal the hidden topic or image. Use a slideshow with hints on each slide until the final slide being the big reveal. Create movie trailers that build suspense and give clues to the unknown item.

    Assessment

    What seems a simple project can prove difficult when students do not comprehend what they have read. Recently, one of my groups was supposed to be writing about the Constitution. Their clues hinted at everything from King George to Paul Revere. Clearly, they didn’t understand what they had read well enough to create the poster. I could have had students redo the work, but instead, I hung all the posters as-is. When the students trying to guess the answers were frustrated by the confusing clues, they gave feedback and also moved on from that particular poster. As it turned out, the group itself asked to redo the work without me ever telling them they were wrong!

    assessing paper plate projects paper plate projects

    Use hidden poster clues with any of Scholastic’s classroom magazines for a fun and engaging reading activity that promotes comprehension, writing, and natural curiosity in the classroom.

     

    Do you want even more ways to use classroom magazines? Check out these great resources from classroom teachers and then explore classroom magazines that will work for you.reading classroom magazine

     

    How could the paper plate project be used in your classroom?

     

    Classroom magazine with markers

     


     

    GIVEAWAY! You could win a free, one-year subscription for one class to a Scholastic Classroom magazine of your choice (ARV $158). To enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post below and include #sweepstakes in your post.

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. One entry per person. Open to legal residents of the United States age 18 or older. All entries must be submitted by 11:59:59 pm ET, May 26, 2016. Read the complete legal rules here. Subject to all applicable laws. Void where prohibited.
     

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