As soon as I saw them I knew they’d be perfect for my students:
- Topics that would appeal to the boys in my classes (75% of my students are boys this year). With titles like: The 10 Strangest Mysteries, The 10 Deadliest Military Inventions, The 10 Most Extreme Sports, The 10 Worst Natural Disaster, Greatest Hockey Teams, Most Extreme Jobs etc., I knew I’d found the mother lode.
- Many of the topics would also interest my girls and for those that wanted something a little more . . . girly, they could choose The 10 Greatest Fashion Trends
- They’d provide me with opportunities to teach students the skills needed to read nonfiction as outlined in our curriculum.
- They’d be perfect for linking reading to writing. I could already feel my mind spinning.
I introduced the project by giving students a chance to look the magazines over quickly and jot down which 3 of the magazines they’d most be interested in reading. They were in from the get-go; the titles alone got them excited to read. I put students into groups - literature circles - and for the past few weeks we’ve been reading, discussing, and writing about the articles. This has been the first time I’ve used nonfiction literature circles in such a lengthy project, and it definitely won’t be my last.
Through the reading I’ve been able to:
- review QAR with students and have them come up with questions (Author and You, On My Own) to use in response journals or as discussion points in their literature circles. Using QAR with nonfiction has allowed students to transfer questioning skills learned with fiction to nonfiction.
- review the features of nonfiction texts (text boxes, captions, subheadings, etc.)
- have students practice paraphrasing and summarizing, orally and in writing
- give students the opportunities to apply self-monitoring and fix-up strategies (self-questioning, word-attack strategies, etc.) with the aid of group members
Although we’re still in the process of finishing up the reading - on #3 - we’ve started working on our own Top 10 writing. But, that’s a ‘coming soon’ post!