Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Frightening Monster Diagrams: A Spooky Nonfiction Text Features Lesson

I along with all teachers across the nation am panicking, dreading, eagerly anticipating tomorrow, October 31st, and all the crazy sugar-high shenanigans that accompany Halloween falling on a school day this year. To prepare for this calm and relaxing day (never!), I wanted to have lessons that keep my students engaged, allow them to release some of their "I can't wait to dress up as __________ (mummy, ladybug, jellyfish, scary masked creature of some sort... you fill in the blank)!!!" energy, and still LEARN.

We are currently studying nonfiction text features, and this week, our focus was on diagrams. My students have been asked to prove their answer when reading a diagram so many times that they are becoming zombies when they use the sentence starter, "I know this because it said on the diagram..." Needless to say, I wanted diagram to become a part of their academic vocabulary. :)

To really make diagrams stick in my students' schema while getting a little spooky, this is the lesson I have planned for tomorrow. I did it with a small group last week during workshop, and it was a HUGE hit!

Diagraming a Monster

1) Read aloud I Need My Monster By: Amanda Noll. (If you haven't read this story before, it's very cute! It's about a little boy who really just wants his own monster, Gabe, who has gone on a fishing trip, to return to his usual spot under the bed. In the meantime, the boy has all of these monsters try to fill in that quite simply aren't scary enough. They come with painted, manicured nails, a bow on a tail, green drool, but they just can't match up to the true terror of Gabe.)

2) Review a diagram (a picture that gives information) as well as labels.

3) Explain to students that today, they will be creating a diagram of their very own monsters. Brainstorm ideas to label on a monster diagram (has eighteen eyes, breathes fire, has a spiked tail, etc.).

4) Model how to draw and label a monster diagram--remind students that this is a diagram, NOT a picture, so you need labels, labels, and more labels!

5) Let students run wild with their creativity as they make their monster diagrams.

6) Have students share their diagrams at the end.

With this lesson in hand and maybe a few Butterfingers, I think I can brave tomorrow! :)

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