As promised, here is another SMART Notebook lesson that you can use in your libraries. This lesson is a fiction vs. nonfiction lesson for first graders. This lesson corresponds with my discussion of teaching the characteristics of fiction and nonfiction on page 17 of The Tibrarian Handbook. I structured the plans for this lesson a bit differently, which (I think) will make it easier to follow.
- The only materials needed for the lesson are a SMART board, a computer loaded with SMART Notebook software, an LCD projector, a fiction book, and a nonfiction book.
- When students enter the library, gather them together in front of the SMART board. To focus students’ attention, you should ask them to identify the two main types of books that can be found in the library. Students will likely answer that there are “learning books” and “story books” in the library, if you used those simplified terms prior to this lesson. Tell students that today they will learn the ‘official’ names for these two important types of books and you will work together to try to figure out how these books are similar and different.
- Begin the instructional part of the lesson by showing students the first slide (the term “slide” refers to a page of a SMART Notebook lesson) in the lesson.
- After reading the information aloud, ask students which type of books (story or learning) are referred to by the word “fiction”. Once a volunteer has answered that fiction books are story books, ask a second volunteer to show the section in the library where the fiction books are housed.
- You should then repeat this process with the second slide, having students identify that nonfiction books are the learning books and asking another volunteer to show the nonfiction section.
- To help students begin to compare and contrast the two types of books, you can ask two volunteers to pull one fiction and one nonfiction book from the library shelves. Flip through each of the books so that students can see the pages and then ask students to identify things that are similar about both books.
- Next, display the third slide in the lesson and use a SMART board pen to write their ideas in the middle section of the Venn diagram. Then show the two sample books again and ask students to identify the differences between them. Write characteristics that are unique to fiction books in the fiction section of the Venn diagram and characteristics that are unique to nonfiction in the nonfiction section of the diagram.
- You can assess student learning during this activity by using the last two pages of my SMART Notebook lesson. Ask students to look at each book cover on the page and to decide if the book is fiction or nonfiction.
- For each book, you should first ask students to close their eyes and raise their hands to show their answers (i.e. “Raise your hand if you think this is a fiction book”). This method will allow students to respond anonymously and will help you to see if there are any students who don’t seem to understand the concept.
- Then, have one volunteer come up to the SMART board and drag their chosen answer into the Checker Tool underneath the book’s cover (the box will display a green check mark for a correct answer and a red X for an incorrect answer) . Once the answer is displayed, ask volunteers to explain the reasoning behind their answer (i.e. “I thought this book was fiction because the cover showed a frog wearing clothes.”). Students should be able to correctly identify each book as fiction or nonfiction and to explain the characteristics that lead them to each identification.