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Literature as a Jumping Off Point for Nonfiction Inquiry
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Unit|
|Estimated Time||Six 50-minute sessions|
This lesson uses text sets, collections of multiple text genres with a single focus, to facilitate student inquiry inspired by a fiction book they have read. Students begin by brainstorming a list of symbols and themes in the book. They select a topic on which to focus and search the text for specific references to that topic. Next, they work in small groups to research subtopics within their main topic using text sets. After a brief exploration of the text sets, they generate a list of questions they want to answer about that topic. Finally, students use the text sets to answer the questions they generated, publish their results using an online tool, and present their work to the class.
This lesson uses Tuck Everlasting as an example, but can be adapted for use with any novel students have read or listened to during read aloud sessions.
Books about Water: This booklist includes a variety of nonfiction books about water.
Multigenre Mapper: Students can use this online tool to create original multigenre, multimodal works-one drawing and three written texts—and to name the genres for each section, making the tool flexible for multiple writing activities.
Flip Book: This online tool allows users to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long.
When students conduct research in the classroom, they typically use a traditional resource like an encyclopedia in addition to a few books and Websites. Why not broaden students experiences with research and introduce them to the idea of using many different genres and texts in their research? In her article, "Multiple Texts: Multiple Opportunities for Teaching and Learning," Laura Robb states,"Using multiple texts in a single unit has another benefit: students are introduced to multiple perspectives on a topic rather than being limited to the single view presented in any one text" (31). Multiple texts also give students the opportunity to read "multiple interpretations of events, they provide diverse perspectives for the discussion of social, political, and economic issues" (31). While looking at all of the different information presented, students can make connections and form their own informed decisions. Together, this process will deepen students' knowledge and understanding.
Robb, Laura. "Multiple Texts: Multiple Opportunities for Teaching and Learning." Voices From the Middle 9.4 (May 2002): 28-32.