Common Core asks that students be exposed to more nonfiction texts. As part of our animal unit students are using nonfiction texts to study an animal of their choosing. Students are learning about the text features in nonfiction books and what they contribute to the text. As we further explore these text features, students are putting them in their own nonfiction books about their animals.
We have previously discussed captions in a brief manner when talking about the different text features in nonfiction books. Today we are going to go into more details. I activate their prior knowledge by showing them a photo in a book with a caption under it. I ask them to tell me which text feature this is, and then what does it tell us. I point to the text features posted on our nonfiction bulletin board (see photo in resources).
Prior to this lesson students chose books from the library about an animal. The school librarian has the books labeled by grade level. In my classroom students have a bookmark that tells them which Lexile level they should look for when choosing a book from our classroom library. Since our school library hasn't yet made the switch to Lexile Levels, students also have a grade level range on their bookmark. Some information about Lexile Levels and Grade Level Ranges can be found here. I have also had a lesson about choosing good-fit books. Our librarian, myself, the bookmark, and my students using strategies to find a good-fit book, pick a nonfiction text about an animal that is on their reading level. Although we know now that leveling isn't an exact science, guiding students to choose a book at their approximate lexile/grade level along with allowing them to take some ownership over their choice will help ensure that they have good independent reading material (keeping in mind, of course, we have to supplement indepedent reading books with richer read alouds to get at RL.1.10).
Students use the nonfiction book they checked out of our school library to create pictures with captions for their book about their animal. They have two pages of their book that will be photos with captions. As we talk about each text feature we fill in those pages of our book. Today we talked about captions so my students created the pages of their books that included pictures of our animals with a caption.
I got the pages for the book from this writing unit on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Please see some of the my student's captions from their books in the resource section.
For the closing activity, I took a picture from a calendar and asked students to create a caption for the photo. In the mail I get many free calendars from charity organizations. I use the photos for different lessons. In this closing activity I chose a photo of polar bears.