Archive for June 2013

Fact versus Fiction for School

Now that we are in the last two weeks of school, the students have been spending lots of time reflecting on their work in second grade. They celebrated the poetry unit with their parents during the portfolio conferences, but I still managed to pull a group for another poetry performance.
We started with the partner poem: Fact and Fiction. Learning the difference between factual and fictional text is an important comprehension skill.  In this poem, students read alternating examples of each, which allows them to compare and contrast.  The topic for this poem was space.

I introduced the title of the poem and wrote down what they already knew about fact and fiction.  We then looked at the topic of space.  We previewed potentially tricky words and I modeled a first reading of the poem.  I asked them to pay attention to how I read each stanza.  They were quick to realize that ‘Fact’ was read in a very serious, deep voice and the ‘Fiction’ was more relaxed, even a little silly.

They broke into Fact and Fiction groups and they practiced in a group and then altogether.  What I noticed immediately was that the vocabulary was too difficult for them.  Here are a couple of sample stanzas from the poem.

Fact: The earth revolves
around the sun.
There are nine planets
Earth is one.

Fiction: Creatures live
on Planet Mars
with baseball teams
a lot like ours!

So…how to make it more meaningful for them?  Create their own fact and fiction poem about…what ever they wanted!  They chose school, so I gave them a context.  We would have ‘Fact’ people and ‘Fiction’ people and there job was to tell a new student, who had never been to school, what school was really all about.

We proceeded with a shared writing – they would suggest a line “At school we stand on the tables” or ‘The teacher tells you what you have to do” and I would guide them in turning the idea into a rhyming stanza.  Here’s the resulting poem and performance!  They came up with the actions and any props they needed!

Fact Vs. Fiction for School

Fact Vs. Fiction for School



Letters and Numbers: More Partner Poems

This week’s partner poem was titled ‘Letters and Numbers’. At first, we looked at all the places we see letters and numbers. I think even they were surprised at some of their answers: writing stories, text, email, poems, spelling, telephone, math, dates, time, measuring, and in recipes to name a few.
I then introduced the partner poem and pre-taught any potentially tricky vocabulary (sparrow, feathery, maple, counter). This particular poem was perfect for teaching rhythm. I clapped my hands gently as I read and had them listen for the way certain words were stressed.   I then split them into ‘numbers’ and ‘letters’ and in groups, they chorally read their lines.  Because of the rhythm of the poem, they had to practice more than the previous poems, especially because there were a couple of tricky lines in the last two stanzas.  They came up with their own props and then decided to write their own poem about their favorite number or letter.


Letters And Numbers from AISB Grade 2 on Vimeo.


More Partner Poems

The students are continuing to build fluency with partner poems.  We choose a poem that is designed for two readers, I model reading aloud, the students read the two parts chorally and then we practice in pairs and put it all together.

Favorite Activities came from the ‘On the Go’ poem.  The students wanted to make their own version for all four of them.  We did a shared writing, thinking of activities they liked to do and rhyming words to accompany those activities.

I hope you enjoy the final presentation:

Favorite Activities from AISB Grade 2 on Vimeo.


More Poems

What do we notice about poetry?

  • Poets play with words (alliteration, similies, metaphors, personification, rhyming words)
  • Poets use beautiful language
  • Poets turn ordinary objects into the extraordinary

Here are some more grade 2 created poems highlighting these ‘observations’ about poetry




Building Fluency with Partner Poems

Fluency is described as ‘the ability of readers to read quickly, effortlessly, and efficiently with good, meaningful expression’ (The Fluent Reader). Using partner poems, which are designed to be read by two people, students can focus on reading in phrases (linking words together so that it sounds natural), and reading with appropriate emphasis on certain words.

This week, I have been working with 4 EAL students in reading various partner poems.  First, we build background information before starting each poem.  Today’s title was ‘On The Go’, so we discussed different activities that the students like to do and defined any potentially tricky vocabulary words before I modeled reading it aloud.  Next, I split them into pairs and gave reader 1 a special hat and reader 2 a different hat.  It seems having props helps the students become different characters.  I modeled reading a line and they choral read it after me.  Then, they read the poem in pairs out loud to the rest of us, using the different hats.  And then, I took away the hats and we discussed the actions that accompanied the words they were saying.  They could come up with their own actions.  Next, they moved to different places in the room and practiced over and over, reading it with their partner and doing the actions.  Meanwhile, I copied the poem onto large, white paper and posted it on the wall.  When they were finally ready to come together and perform, I videoed their performance.  We watched each others performance and rerecorded, if necessary.

As a follow up activity, the students will create their own rhyming poem about a favorite sport or activity.  We already have the first stanza:

I like to swim

I like to play

Being with my friends

Makes a great day

They have also asked to create a poem that all four of them can read together!  I think it’s a great idea!



Connor McGovern Jersey