I want the kids to focus on the differences and similarities between non-fiction and fiction texts so they begin to distinguish between the two fluidly. I use a Double Bubble with Fiction and Non-fiction, although a Venn Diagram is great, too. I tried assigning the girls to one type of text and the boys to the other to save minutes in the warm up, but they ended up completing both sides out of habit, so I won't bother the next time. It was easy for me to assess the students' understanding.
With the review on what constitutes non-fiction text versus a work of fiction completed, it's time to revisit and analyze the two books: Archeology and Motel of the Mysteries a bit. This will be achieved through the use of two graphic organizers to help the kids clearly compare and contrast the two. This activity is an excellent way to help the kids master CCS as they differentiate between the two types of texts through a solid comparison.
In the T-chart, provided by Scholastic, students write the two book titles and authors at the top and highlight differences, and the word "Both" on the line at the bottom to show similarities. They may refer back to the non-fiction/fiction Double Bubbles from the Warm Up to remind them of characteristics of each. This exercise will help them recollect specific information from both texts.
With the second organizer the students fill out a graph and answer questions about each. I copy and shrink down the book covers to put on the chart because the kids like it, but certainly just the titles will do.
I like the challenge that this activity presents as the students recall and search for information gathered from what they read. This is an ample amount of work, however, and as new 5th graders, they struggled with doing both pages in the same period. Monitor and adjusting to what works with the class is essential.
The T-chart and Graph Student Example together show the extensive amount of practice they get with this skill.
Because I don't have them complete the T-Chart individually, and I let the kids discuss as they're working on it, it's an informal assessment. When I assign the graph with the book covers copied, they are on their own and I collect to evaluate. Although I explained what was expected for them to do with the task at hand, a few of the kids needed help as soon as they were on their own. A question, "Isn't the purpose of both books the same?" I guided this student by telling her to think about what she'd just written in the T-chart about what aspects were in fiction or non-fiction only. A question that came up more than once was, "What does Concepts Specific to each mean?" Had I written Different Concepts to go along with the column that preceded it, Similar Concepts, there probably wouldn't have been a question. I purposely wrote it the way I did to stretch the kids' thinking just a little bit.
After we've completed the compare and contrast for this unit, I enjoy taking them to the library for one more form of assessment. Before our library day, they brainstorm about a topic they'd like to know more about and we compile a class list- trying to avoid any duplicates. Once we visit the library, they're reminded of their choice and it's their job to find both an informational and literature book that fit the topic. They shouldn't switch ideas (any crazy/difficult topics have been flagged by the teacher beforehand.) Using the computer to find subject relationships is easier than they think, such as with FROGS or the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. This could take the bulk of your library lesson time, so clear it with the librarian first, or make a special trip. Either way, it's a nice way to close the lesson.