Monday, February 3, 2014

That Darn Groundhog...

So for yesterday's Superbowl here in New Jersey, the weather was a balmy 46 degrees, warmer than in either Seattle or Denver.  I'm not gonna lie, I pretty much watched just to see if my numbers in the pool would win (they didn't). But it was fun anyhow. Kind of like watching Sharknado on turf in its "so bad I can't look away"ness. And then this morning, we woke up to.... what is THAT?!?  Another foot of SNOW? 
The view out my front door right now.  Pretty... but my shoveling hubby might disagree!
 That's right, a snow day... no exclamation points there, because this is our third one this year, which means this time we lose a day of Spring Break, bummer. So the groundhog was correct.  Maybe this is all his fault!  Lol.  I'm not actually upset, though.  My family has the odd situation of dealing with three different school district schedules, since my kids go to school where we live and Handsome Hubs and I each teach in different districts and never the thrain (yeah, totally made that up) shall meet and have the same week of Spring Break. So it's harder for other people to lose Spring Break days than it is for me.

So anyway... back to the Groundhog and his prediction.  We always start our nonfiction reading unit at the beginning of February and I love starting it off with some fiction/nonfiction discussion about Groundhog's Day, because some of it is real and some is legend.  Before reading, we view these free online videos:

Starfall - Groundhog's Day
Mighty Books - Groundhog Day and Possum Night
and I usually find the New York Times slideshow of actual Groundhog's Day pictures.

We discuss why we might categorize these as fiction or nonfiction or elements of both. Then we do the same with Groundhog's Day tests, such as Groundhog Gets a Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow.

Sometimes, if we are lucky, there is a good Scholastic News that goes with Groundhog's Day, too!  

Speaking of Scholastic... Have you ever saved a book order that you didn't use and wondered what you could do with it?  Here's an idea for the beginning of your nonfiction unit - Give each student a book order and have them cut it up and sort the books into fiction/nonfiction!
A few tips I have learned to make this easier for you, since it takes some time for the kids to cut and sort and you may not want this project to go on all day:

1. I use regular construction paper (9 x 12) and have the kids fold it down the middle so they have equal space to glue fiction and nonfiction.

2. When I hand out the book orders, I always tell the kids to open it and cut it down the middle with scissors so they have separate pages to look at and cut from. I have learned by experience (lol) that if you leave the pages together, the kids will invariably cut through all of them when they cut their first few books out.

3. There is often a nonfiction section or page in a book order.  If you have any students who are having trouble finding nonfiction, you can scaffold by helping them find that jackpot nonfiction section.

4. Some books like Magic Tree House or Fly Guy can be a mix of fiction and nonfiction, like the Groundhog's Day books and videos we used. Allow that to open discussion.  When the kids ask, "Where do I put this one?" I turn the question back to them and ask what they think.  Sometimes they will leave it out since it doesn't clearly fit either side, sometimes they put it on the fold in the middle.  Either way, they are thinking about it!
post signature


Post a Comment

Speak to me! :)