Making Meaning out of Nonfiction
Why does everybody want to hang out with the mushroom?
Cause he’s a FUNGI!
They didn’t laugh. I don’t think they got it.
Anyway, this is why I told them that joke: This week, with my struggling fourth and fifth graders, I wanted them to read with a purpose! The kids I’ve started pulling out recently have some pretty rough reading habits. Fake reading, mostly, and when I ask a question about their comprehension, a couple of them read a random phrase in the hopes that I will
1. Say. “Close!” and then magically make their phrase into an answer.
2. Tell them a response that should replace their response.
3. Give up and move on to another kid.
I’m pretty stubborn. I don’t do those things.
Kids must be accountable for their thinking and responding! So this week, I pulled out an old Scholastic article about the chytrid fungus attacking frogs in their natural habitats. Hence, the fungi joke.
I chose it for several reasons: Earth day is April 22nd, fourth and fifth graders are currently studying life science (habitats, ecosystems, niches, etc.), and also the pictures of frogs are pretty neat. I hoped it would be high-interest and easily connected to by the kids.
We first previewed the features and made predictions using the information in them. We completed the top half of this chart.
Then I had each student write a question that they expected could be answered in the text. They
recorded these on a post-it. As they read, their purpose was to read for evidence that could help them answer their question. I think that, because the kids wrote their own questions, they were actually pretty engaged and read very deliberately. That was a big improvement.
They read closely and added their evidence to their post-its. Afterwards, we shared and charted out our questions and evidence. The student who originally wrote about the question shared his/her evidence first, and then other students filled in with additional pieces of information they gathered during their reading. This helped us create well-rounded responses to many of the questions.
Here’s my fourth grade chart:
Here’s a similar chart with fifth grade (the second half, where we recorded questions and evidence):
Love , love, love your joke!! 😉
Creating Lifelong Learners