How Not to Sound Like a Robot

Launching Inquiry, HSE Schools, Thursday, June 8, 2017

Elevating Nonfiction Writing in the Elementary Classroom

Our students' nonfiction writing doesn't have to sound dry as toast. With the right mentor texts, writers will want to experiment with craft. Participants will walk away with mini-lesson ideas that will take writers from topic generation to publication.



A lot of mixed messages

Authentic audience...

High stakes testing...



Presentation Outline

Here is a presentation outline:

If I Ruled the World... (cue the Nas song featuring Lauryn Hill)
Ideal conditions for the production of awesome nonfiction writing

- Read alouds

- Whole Book Approach

- Nonfiction Notice & Note - stop the F/NF tcharts

Enough with the puppies and kitties already
Topic selection

- Database browse

- Dinner table conversations

- Wonder wall vs. Nonfiction writing wall ?

It's OK to VETO topics!

It is also Ok to be a stickler about not abandoning a topic

Too small versus too big

Does that make sense? No, it doesn't.

- Sorting, revising, and revisiting notes

- Table of contents

- Headings and subheadings

Huh? You mean I have do something with these notes?
From research notes to sentences to paragraphs

- to research or not to research?

- I Remember strategy (Hoyt)

- Reading with a Question in Mind (Harvey & Daniels)



What do you mean add more details? I'm done.
Strategies for getting writers to expand their work

- Alphaboxes
- Kristine Mraz video

- Invest in a handbook-manual

Reasonable grade level expectations for bibliographies

  • - The why over the how
  • - K-2, Learn More page
  • - 3-4, Bibliography

  • Getting over Gail Gibbons
    Mentor authors for nonfiction writing with kids

    • Gene Barretta
    • Nic Bishop
    • Loree Griffin Burns
    • Jason Chin
    • Nicola Davies
    • Bruce Goldstone
    • Steve Jenkins
    • Irene Kelly
    • Thomas Locker
    • Sandra Markle
    • Megan McCarthy
    • Kadir Nelson
    • Doreen Rappaport
    • April Pulley Sayre
    • Seymour Simon
    • Melissa Stewart

    Thank you to Franki Sibberson for sharing her list of nonfiction mentor authors and mentor texts. Her blog is a A Year of Reading.

    Break out the cookies made in a peanut-free facility!

    Electronic - Katie Wood Ray calls this fancy publishing.

    1. Have students take photos of work. Record with voice using Shadows Puppets Edu or iMovie.

    2. Have students take photos of work. Have them upload to Seesaw or Blackboard. Import images into Word. Save as PDF. Upload to FlipSnack Edu to create an eAnthology.

    3. Pull links to student work into a Symbaloo. Share one link instead of 25 with families.

    4. Pull links to student videos into a YouTube playlist. Again, share one link instead of 25 with families.

    5. Make a class website with Weebly. Everything is drag and drop.

    6. Create a class Wikispace. Everyone contributes a page!

    7. Smore! We think of it for newsletters but can be easy, awesome way to publish student work.

    Big things to remember

    - Goal setting

    - When things feel shaky, talk and talk some more

    - Go back to the texts, go back to the texts, go back to the texts

    Your goals

    - Read aloud more nonfiction with your students

    - Subscribe to The Week or the The Skimm

    - Give yourself more permission with the teaching of nonfiction writing

    Kristin Patrick, MLIS

    School Library Media Specialist, Brooks School Elementary

    Adjunct Faculty, IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing

    Vice President-Elect, Indiana State Reading Association

    Teacher Consultant, National Writing Project

    Co-Host with Mrs. Dale of Two Kitties in A Window, a podcast dedicated to children's books and the people who read and make them. Available in iTunes.