Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Re-Familiarizing with Fiction

This week 5th grade has jumped back into reading fiction literature with enthusiasm.  After a few months of nonfiction and poetry, we needed a quick refresher on what fiction looks like!  Peeking back at our trusty genre chart, we talked about the main genres we encounter as 5th graders: fantasy, science fiction, traditional literature, mystery, realistic fiction, and historical fiction.

With several genres to keep track of, we wanted to practice identifying genres as we read.  To do this we participated in a combination of a fan-and-pick and round robin structure.  At each of the five tables in our classroom there was a picture book of a different fiction genre.  As the students rotated through each station with their team they had a role.  As the teams rotated so did their roles.  For example:  At the first station person number 1 was the reader.  They read a few pages from the story so that their team could listen for clues to the genre.  Person number two was in charge of identifying key words or details that might help them determine the genre.  Person number 3 was our genre identifier.  After listening to the story and the key details mentioned by their teammate, they shared what they believed to be the genre of the story.  Our final team member delivered feedback and praise to their teammates.  At the end of all five rounds, students were able to do each job at least once!

As students traveled around the room we encountered a few easy trip-ups we might run into with other texts.  If a story was a fairy tale or folk tale we had to remember that even though it shared aspects with fantasy, it was actually considered traditional literature because of how the story was passed down.  Also, just because a book was written long ago did not make it historical fiction.  Historical fiction was only for stories that were written about a time before the author was writing the story.  These trip-ups were easy to get caught by, but with careful reading students were able to identify the genres with ease!

With a good review under our belts, 5th grade is ready to dive in to higher level fiction reading skills such as identifying the author's point of view or comparing and contrasting the characters and themes of different stories.

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