Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scientists in the Field - and in the Learning Commons!

The last project 4th graders did before summer vacation helped them practice several crucial skills they would need for middle school: cooperating in a group, comprehending nonfiction, and paraphrasing information in one's own words.

They took books from the fantastic Scientists in the Field series that shows the exciting work real-life scientists do, and adapted them for younger readers.

Working in groups of 3, 4th graders took on the roles of author, illustrator and editor. Together each group chose a book and read it, took notes, determined the most important facts to convey, coordinated text with illustrations, and produced lovely books that we spiral bound and gave to Mr. Hollinger to keep in the science room as a resource! 

Understanding nonfiction requires readers to notice details, make connections and exert sustained attention in a different way than fiction reading does. Sometimes avid fiction readers struggle with the transition to middle school-level nonfiction reading expectations. This new site, The Nonfiction Minute, is a fun and stimulating way to expose your student to more nonfiction, support their comprehension skills and whet their appetite for nonfiction reading.

One of the site's founders is David Schwartz, the math and science author who entertained us last year! Another is Roxie Munro, creator of many clever, interactive books and apps; her Ecomazes, very popular with our students, was a Smithsonian "Best Science Book" pick!

Here are some more samples of the great work our 4th graders produced:

Front cover

Back cover!