Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Nonfiction Note Taking!

Happy Hump Day! I'm finally getting back into my blogging routine. Since it's Wednesday, I'm linking up with the wonderful Jivey for Workshop Wednesday!

According to Common Core Writing Standard 5.2 & 5.7, fifth graders need to research a topic using various sources and then write about. To meet his standard, we spent some time researching environmental issues for a feature article writing assignment.

My biggest struggle was teaching my fifth graders some effective note taking strategies. Some had a difficult time organizing all their thoughts and putting information into their own words. Although, quite a few students were natural note-takers, I had a few organizationally challenged students this year. So, I thought I'd share a few resources that helped me and my fifth graders get through our 2 months-ish of nonfiction reading and research!

To gather research for our feature articles, I shared Jessica Heeren's Nonfiction Notes Graphic Organizer. This laid out a great way to take notes for my students unsure of how or what to take notes on... it always allowed them to easy go back and find important information by source. We color coded our packets so that each source was a different color so we could cite our sources correctly! Best of all, Jessica's graphic organizer is completely FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers! So grab it up and give her some great feedback! 
Jessica's Note-worthy graphic organizer!  

During the researching process, I also used Lightbulb Minds' Nonfiction Writing Unit to help guide some of my mini-lessons and discussions. I used the handouts on plagiarism, choosing a topic, citing sources, writing an "outstanding opening" and creating a glossary. Each of these handouts were well thought out and communicated a clear objective to my students. I loved this pack! Worth every penny! I was easily able to check topics, sources, and glossaries as students conducted their research and carried the piece throughout the writing process!

The finished pieces were amazing! However, students had to publish the "old fashion" way by hand due to snow days so I don't have any digital copies to share. My teaching partner created a feature reflection sheet (grab a copy from dropbox) that allowed students to think and reflect on their own writing!

Check out Ideas by Jivey for more Workshop gems! Why reinvent the worksheet when so many talented teachers are sharing their resources!

Happy Workshop Wednesday!


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  2. Wow! What perfect timing! I will be starting the information text unit next week. These resources are exactly what I need. I just downloaded the nonfiction writing unit and hope I get great results from my students as well. I love the reflection sheet, you will have to pass that on to your colleague. Thanks so much for sharing all these resources!
    Fifth Grade Wit and

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