Investigating Apples

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With support, SWBAT research a topic and recall facts to write about that topic.

Big Idea

Students take informational texts to the new level by using them for research.


5 minutes

To go along with our Johnny Appleseed and apples week, we will take a closer look at apples. In Science we are doing some investigation with apples. In ELA we are going to take a look at a nonfiction book about apples.

We have talked about the features you find in nonfiction books in previous lessons. Today we are going to create our own nonfiction books about apples. Our next unit is about animals where we will be researching animals and creating our own nonfiction books about the animals they choose.

I show them 2 books about apples, one fiction and one nonfiction. I ask student to identify which is which. I tell them that we are going to be looking at the nonfiction apple book.

Read Aloud

15 minutes

I discuss with my students that since we don't know much about apples we will read the whole book. As I read the book we note important facts about apples on our circle map, and discuss the text features we encounter. We talk about what the text features teach us as we encounter them, ex: the table of contents lets us know which page we can find information, the headings let us know what the information under it is going to be about, and that the captions tell us more information about the pictures.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Since it is our first research book we will be doing most of the work together so that they will understand what to do. This activity builds up to our animal unit research project. Later on in the animal unit, they will do their own research and create their own informational text on an animal of their choosing.

So I modeled how to take information we put on our circle map of apples, and use it to make our book. I chose this template for our book, which can be found in the resource section, to help my students succeed in this task. It is a bit scaffolded for first grade, but this is their first time ever being exposed to anything like this before. It is our first year implementing Common Core and my students do not have exposure to informational texts let alone creating one. If your students have already been exposed to activities similar to this, or have experience with informational text, then you may be able to adjust the activity to have more independent creativity when creating the book. They may need less scaffolding and can create their own book on another topic in the independent practice section. However, this year my students have not been exposed to informational texts, are far below grade level in reading, and many are ESL students, so I will provide a lot of support. I modeled how to create the first few pages of the book together.

Partner Practice

20 minutes

I choose partners for my students to help each other complete this activity. I partnered my lower readers with my stronger students. They were expected to complete their own book, but could share ideas and ask each other questions. I wanted students to feel successful and a confident when creating their pages. They work well with partners, and we have worked on establishing guidelines and expectations when working with partners using "my job" I-charts. If your students are more advanced then you may choose to let them complete this task on their own, or have them create an informational text on a topic of their choice.

Students are going to create their own informational text about apples. They use the information on our circle map to help them fill in the pages of the book template. I have included the template in the resource section. They can cut out pictures of apples from old magazines that I have in the classroom. 



5 minutes