Become the Author

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SWBAT look at a nonfiction text and create the text features that would be most helpful in helping a person to comprehend the text.

Big Idea

Putting students in a real life, unpredictable situation increases the rigor and will further their understanding of nonfiction text features.

Authors Make Decisions

10 minutes

This lesson begins with my posing a question:  Who decides what goes into a book?.  Many students respond at once, "The author!"  I tell them they are correct and then hold up some examples of favorite books from our classroom library- any books will do.  I chose a couple of fiction and a couple nonfiction.  I hold up a nonfiction and ask the students what I could expect to find.  They reply, "A Table of Contents", "A Glossary", etc.  I open the book to reveal that there is no table of contents or glossary.  After they get over the shock- because SURELY all nonfiction books have EVERY feature we've learned about- we discuss that very fact.  Not all nonfiction books have EVERY one of the features we've learned about.  

I wonder aloud why this particular book doesn't have a table of contents or index or glossary. The students say, "Maybe he didn't want one" and "Maybe there wasn't enough pages" and my personal favorite, "Maybe he made a mistake".  

I tell them that I've picked out all these books (I reveal a basket of nonfiction books from our classroom library that are full of these "mistakes" and it is their job to fix the mistakes.  They must create or add some nonfiction text features to make their book complete.

They will use a planning guide to begin.

Authors at Work

40 minutes

Before I let the students begin, we go over the rubric at the bottom of the planning guide.  I always want the students to know what the requirements are before they begin.  (We are learning the 7 Habits of Happy Kids at my school and Habit 5 is "Begin with the end in mind").

The students begin working on their nonfiction text features.  I give them most of the hour to work and while they're working, I have the opportunity to sit in each student group for a while to monitor their progress, answer questions and work with students who are having trouble.

The students were so excited about this lesson and worked for the entire time.  At the end of the time, I gather the students back together, collect the items so nothing gets lost and do a wrap up/ check in.

Authors Review Their Work

10 minutes

After the clean up and collection of materials, we gather back as a whole group to do a rubric check.  I ask each student to pull out their rubric and check in form.  We go over the rubric again to be sure each student aligns their work today with what they have to do tomorrow.  I then give them a minute or two to set their mindset for tomorrow's work by filling out the check in form.  

I will take the check in forms and arrange groups that are at a similar point and have them work together tomorrow.  It makes it easier for me to monitor and I think it gives the students support in finishing their work when they are grouped with people who are at the same point as them.