Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RI TeacherFest Handout: Helping Students Overcome Their Biggest Nonficiton Writing Roadblocks

Today Sarah Albee and I are leading a 90-minute session at the Rhode Island Teacherfest. We will begin by asking the educators in the audience to share the most common nonfiction writing challenges their students face, and then we will suggest solutions. We will also invite audience members to share their own creative ideas with one another.
Based on our experience offering similar sessions at nErDcamp Long Island and the Massachusetts Reading Association Annual Conference, the links below address some of the topics we expect to discuss:

Why Kids Copy their Research Sources, and How to Break the Habit


Adding Voice to Nonfiction Writing


 
Why Middle School Students Think Research Is Boring


Convincing Students to Revise


Teaching Nonfiction Text Structure



Organizing Information When Writing Nonfiction

 
When Students Have Trouble Choosing a Topic

RI Teacherfest Handout: The Nonfiction Triumvirate

Nonfiction Categories

Life Story
The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman
 
Brave Girl by Michelle Markle

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
 
Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari
 
El Deafo by Cece Bell
 
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

Lives of the Presidents (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
 
A Mother’s Journey by Sandra Markle

Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatium

Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet


Survey Book
Eyewitness Books
 
The Horrible, Miserable Middle Ages by Kathy Allen

Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

Lightning by Seymour Simon

National Geographic Readers
 
Spiders by Nic Bishop

Why’d They Wear That? by Sarah Albee


Specialized Nonfiction
Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery

Drowned City by Don Brown
Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story by Tom Yezerski 

Sniffer Dogs by Nancy Castaldo

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos

The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
 
Concept Book
Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart
 
Just a Second by Steve Jenkins
 
Lifetime by Lola Schaefer
 
Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart

Pink Is for Blobfish by Jess Keating
Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy

A Star in My Orange by Dana Meachan Rau

Trout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre


 
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Writing Styles
Expository
Facts Plus
Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
 
Bone by Bone by Sara Levine

Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World by Lita Judge
 
Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee
 
Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies
 

Fast Facts
Animal Grossapedia by Melissa Stewart
 
Eyewitness Books
  
Guinness Book of World Records
  
Time for Kids Big Book of Why

 
Narrative
Ada's Violin by Susan Hood

Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
 
Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
 
Buried Alive by Elaine Scott
 
The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton 
 
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
 
I Dissent by Debbie Levy

Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
 
Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre
 
When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
  
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Common Text Structures
Description  
A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
 
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
 
Creep and Flutter by Jim Arnosky

Dolphins! by Melissa Stewart
 
Frogs by Nic Bishop
 
Lightship by Brian Floca
 
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies

 
Sequence
Chronological narrative
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman

Buried Alive by Elaine Scott
 
The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton 
 
Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully 
 
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola
  
Pop: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Megan McCarthy
 
The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass 
 
Some Writer by Melissa Sweet

What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley 
 

Episodic narrative
Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
  
Brave Girl by Michelle Markel
 
Fearless Flyer by Heather Lang

When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan


Braided narrative

Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
  
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
 
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
 
We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson
  

Journey narrative
If Stones Could Speak by Marc Aronson
 
Lost Treasure of the Inca by Peter Lourie
 
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo by Sy Montgomery
 
The Great White Shark Scientist by Sy Montgomery
 
 
Cycle narrative
Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari

A Drop of Water by Gordon Morrison
  
Frog in a Bog by John Himmelman
 
Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
 
A Seed Is the Start by Melissa Stewart
 
 
Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre
  
 
Chronological expository
Bugged: How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee
 
Poison by Sarah Albee

Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee
 
Why'd They Wear That?: Fashion as the Mirror of History by Sarah Albee
 
 
Cumulative expository
Here Is the Tropical Rain Forest by Madeleine Dunphy
 
No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
 
Older Than the Stars by Karen C. Fox
 

How-to expository
Dessert Designers: Creations You Can Make and Eat by Dana Meachen Rau
 
How to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
  
The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes by Doug Stillinger
 
Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes by Josie Fison and Felicity Dahl
  
Try This! 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You by Karen Romano Young
 
 
Compare & Contrast
Dueling spreads
Frog or Toad? How Do You Know? by Melissa Stewart
  
Mosquito Bite by Alexandra Siy
 
Neo Leo by Gene Barretta
  
Those Rebels, Tom & John by Barbara Kerley
 
 
List book
Born in the Wild by Lita Judge
 
Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World by Lita Judge
  
Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins 
 
Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
 
Move by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
 
My First Day by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
 
Just One Bite by Lola Schaefer

 
Cause & Effect
Earth: Feeling the Heat by Brenda Z. Guiberson
 
Frog in a Bog by John Himmelman

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart
 
When Rain Falls by Melissa Stewart

Problem—Solution
The Great Monkey Rescue by Sandra Markle   
 
A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart
 
Mesmerized  by Mara Rockliff

Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean

 

Q & A Books
Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons by Sarah Levine

Good Question series (Sterling)
 
Creature Features by Steve Jenkins& Robin Page

Hatch! by Roxie Munro

Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde

Scholastic Question & Answer series

What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

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Mixing & Matching
If you’re writing a Life Story . . .
  • Probably sequence (chronological) structure
  • Narrative writing style
If you’re writing a Survey Book . . .
  • Description/explanation, sequence, Q & A
  • Expository writing style
If you’re writing Specialized Nonfiction . . .
  • Probably sequence, compare & contrast
  • Narrative or expository writing style
If you’re writing a Concept Book . . .
  • Sequence, compare & contrast, Q & A, cause & effect, problem—solution, or invent your own
  • Probably expository writing style

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Droughts


Happy Book Birthday, Droughts.

Welcome to the world!
 
When I began writing Droughts in early 2015, I thought:

"This book will be great for kids in the Western U.S. Drought is a big problem there."
 
But by the time I reviewed the sketches by Andre Ceolin in May 2016, there were hints that climate change was about to make drought a problem in other sections of the country too.
 
In July, officials in my small Massachusetts town announced a ban on all outdoor watering. As the weeks passed, soil dried out. Plants turned brown. Large tree branches started to sag. It was hard to believe.
 
As I reviewed the final art in October 2016, drought was affecting towns and cities in New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, and more. It was unprecedented.
 
This summer couldn't be more different from last year where I live. It's cool and rainy. I'm grateful because the trees need time to recover. But I know that as Earth's continues to heat up, extreme weather is going to become more and more common. There will be more droughts and floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.
 
I'm glad that Droughts is available simultaneously in hardcover and paperback because, now more than ever, books on this topic are a much needed resource for early elementary readers across our country and around the world.