Text Features – Continued

Our work with text features continues. We are digging a lot deeper than what I’ve done in the past and so far, it has been a rich experience for all of us. The skills that the students are learning during these sessions are important to have, especially when doing independent research projects.

On Monday, while working with Ms. Hong in the library, all students were able to start typing up the information gathered while reading a nonfiction book of their choice. They used the Book Creator app to do this.

Here is an overview of the steps we followed to get us to this point:

Step 1: We discussed the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. (see  this blog post for more info)

Step 2: The students did a scavenger hunt, using the school library books. The pictures they took can be viewed on Showbie, in the “Text Features – Scavenger Hunt” folder.

Step 3: The students selected a nonfiction book from the library. Many students found the selection process difficult. Their greatest challenge was to ensure that most text features appear in the book they chose.

Step 4: Each student created a “Wonder Web”, using the following graphic organizer. They were not allowed to read their book prior to doing this.


Step 5: To find the answer to their questions, they read the table of contents and the index.  This is what they used to do this. I’ve modified the document as I felt it was not clear enough and a bit confusing.

Step 6: I asked the students to only read the sections that were pertinent to their questions. When we research information, we rarely read an entire book and I wanted the students to get better at this. It seems pretty obvious to us but you would be surprised to see how many students don’t know how to do this. Many also found this part challenging as they were not always looking in the right section. In the end, most students were able to find the answers to their questions.

We also had a great discussion around book selection and what makes a book great as opposed to just okay. Here are the books that turned out to be great:

Step 7: To practice reading headings and subheadings, we also asked everyone to come up with new questions connected to these text features. Although it wasn’t mentioned, I noticed that many used the pictures found on the page to help them write questions. This is what good readers do. We may not necessarily be aware of it but it happens all the time.

Here is the document they used for this step. I apologize for the blurry picture. I took it with my phone and the lighting wasn’t great.



What next?

During the next 2 1/2 weeks, the students will be writing a short nonfiction book using their findings. This will also give them the opportunity to include and create many of the text features they have been learning about during this personal research.

As you can see, learning takes time and for complete mastery of a skill, it is important to dig deep and to revisit what is being taught over a longer period of time. If you would like to support your child at home with this, don’t hesitate to discuss text features with him/her. Here are some keywords for you:

  • Table of Contents
  • Heading
  • Subheading
  • Text Box
  • Caption
  • Label
  • Graph
  • Pictures, Illustrations, Images
  • Maps
  • Glossary
  • Bold, italics
  • Index

Have a great day,


Science – Using Databases

Yesterday in class I presented World Book Science Power, a database paid by our school board.

I’ve asked everyone to visit Webcat last night so I hope your child was able to do this. If this hasn’t been done yet, here’s what you will need to do:

1) Visit Webcat.

2) Select the Databases tab.

3) Click on World Book Science Power.

To access this database, your child will need to log in. All log in info has been shared with the students in class. They should have written it down in their agenda. The same log in info will also work for all of the databases available on Webcat.

One of the biggest challenges for students when searching for information is to find appropriate keywords. When they can’t immediately find what they are looking for, many of them abandon the search or say there is no information available. As a way to support your child at home, you could practice searching for information using the internet. Since the World Wide Web is immense, it is important that they start online researching by using some of the databases available on Webcat.

Learning to search for information (online or in books, using text features) is an important life skill to master. And the more they practice this, the better they will be at it.

Have a great day!


P.S. World Book Science Power can only be viewed from a computer. It doesn’t work from an iPad.



This is the reason I have reglected the blog lately. 

Thankfully, all 80 boxes and most shelves have been moved. I spent my last two evenings and weekend unpacking but there is still a lot to be done. Tables and the remaining pieces will be transferred on Friday.

I’m seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. It makes me happy. And our new classroom will be beautiful, inspiring and clean (it was freshly painted -yay!). 

Once I have a bit more time I will share the before and after pictures I took. The transformation is amazing!

Happy Tuesday…


Reading Aloud

We started reading the sequel to Fatty Legs yesterday. As I had difficulty focusing on the words in front of me and could feel a bad headache coming (my contact prescription recently changed and I’m having a hard time adjusting), I had to announce to the class that we would need to wait until Monday to continue our reading.

Thankfully, Ella saved the day by offering to take over and read for me. (Thanks again, Ella!)

Here’s a picture I took of this special moment. In case you are wondering, everyone was weaving while listening to Ella read.

I am very lucky to be surrounded by such a great group of students. They are so generous, kind and respectful of each other. Moments like this make me appreciate my job even more.

Have a great weekend!