Tag Archive: All About books

1st Grade Comparison

img_03291st graders spent the last 2 weeks learning about penguins and snakes.  Both books are from the “All About…” series.  We’ve been working on noticing similarities and differences in books.  1st graders are working on characters and setting so even in a non-fiction book we are still able to talk about where these animals live and how that’s a “place” just like we look for settings in fiction books.

As the first graders make progress through the year we are looking for them to stretch words out and hear multiple sounds in words along with using words or parts they know to build new and unknown words.

IMG_96202nd grade has been learning about the different ways plants and animals survive in the Sonoran Desert.  We read All About the Sonoran Desert by Kendra Adams.  The book is broken up into 2 parts: ways plants survive in the desert and the ways animals survive in the desert.  (This is an excellent book if you are looking for something similar or comparing/contrasting)

IMG_9567In partners, students had to locate 2 ways plants survive in the desert and put them on a sticky note for our chart. Some of the things they discovered were:

  • A nurse plant shades a smaller plant to help it grow.
  • Plants store water and swell up and slowly use the water over time.
  • Spines on a cactus help it from getting sunburned and also protect it from being eaten by other animals.

The next day students had to locate 3 ways animals survive in the desert and put them on a sticky note for our chart.  Some of things they discovered were:

  • Javelinas rest in the shade of a cactus plant to stay cool.
  • The desert tortoise digs deep holes in the dirt to stay cool or rests under large rocks.  It will also eat the fruit from a cactus plant to get water.
  • The jackrabbit has long ears that let out the heat from its body.
  • Desert birds lift up their feathers to stay cool.
  • Birds make nest inside a cactus plant to stay cool.

IMG_9619After we had found our facts together we came up with a group story on how we could put the facts together into one writing piece.  Students then took from our model and made their own, writing about 2 ways both plants and animals survive within the desert.



Kdg Comparison Writing

IMG_6826My Kindergarten boys are blowing me away!!  They are working so hard and taking on so much learning every session we meet.  (Our Chicka Chicka tree is almost full–and boy do they let me know if we aren’t working on a new letter and adding letters to our tree!!  We might even need a new tree pretty soon!)

Lately we’ve been working on, yep, you guessed it–All About books!!  This time my boys read All About Snakes and All About Penguins.  I don’t know what it is, but EVERY time I read these books with my kiddos they get super excited about both snakes and penguins.  The All About Series is actually really incredible reading for our students.  They are high interest and have a lot of really great vocabulary choices.

My boys read about snakes and then wrote about snakes.  Then we read about penguins and they wrote about penguins.  After that we re-read both of the stories and made a chart of how they are similar and different.  It was like their minds were blown when they realized all the similarities between the two animals.  There was lots of clapping and high fiving and giggling while we were doing this.  It’s inspiring to see kids so excited about reading, writing, and discussing what we’ve read in books.

After we made our Venn Diagram, the boys had to write one fact about each of the animals to go with our diagram.  What a fun couple of weeks of learning!


IMG_6825I haven’t gotten the chance to write about my new 1st grade group, which I’ve only met with a few times.  We looked at data and shifted our groups around back in March to better serve our 1st graders.  I now have 3 lovely ladies and with all kinds of things going on in our building I haven’t had the chance to work with them very many days, but the days we have seen each other have been a lot of fun.

We just finished reading a book calling All About Sharks. (Can you tell I love the “All About” series??–The kids go absolutely crazy for them.  Plus the first graders have had an obsession with sharks all year long.)  We did something a little different than we normally do in group.  We did a mixture of Guided Reading Plus and Interactive Writing.  I noticed that I wasn’t getting accelerated growth from this group (partially because I haven’t seen them very often/consistently) but I wanted a way to get more “bang for my buck.”  My CIM (Comprehensive Intervention Model) coach suggested doing a group Interactive Writing message and then having the students write individual messages.

After we read the story, the next session we met we re-read the story and came up with the group message.  They liked the way the last page had bullets that looked like sharks.  They wanted to write those shark facts and then use bullets in their writing as well.

This was a good opportunity for me to see some of their writing vocabulary as they knew words I wasn’t expecting them to know.  I really was able to nearly sit back and watch them cooperatively work together.  I just facilitated the next word in the sentences and someone in the group already knew how to write it.   They really enjoyed creating a group message and then writing their own message, fashioning it after how the author wrote.

IMG_6823My 2nd graders read All About Robots during group time.  Not only did we learn a lot of different things about robots, but we learned about how labels can help a reader learn more information about a picture when reading non-fiction texts.

IMG_0179After we read about robots we made a list of things robots do, look like, and places they go.  Most of what we listed started out as things from the book, but quickly the boys added other things that a robot could have–mostly what they look like.  And in typical boy fashion, they wanted to add all kinds of weapons!  Ha!

This was our catapult to writing.  The boys were to come up with a robot of their own.  They had to make a list of all the things their robot would do, look like, and places it would go.  This was a lot of fun for the boys as now was the time they could amp up a robot of their dreams.  We had to scale back on the weapons to make it more school appropriate, but I was impressed by the imaginative things they came up.

IMG_6828After they had made their list they were given a homework assignment to draw a picture of their dream robot–including the things they had on their list.  If they said their robot could go in space then there should be something on the robot that would make it possible for the robot to go to space, etc.  The boys came back with very creative robots.

From there they had to start putting the list into sentence format and label their robot.  They labeled the most important parts of their robots.  They then had to write about how these parts they labeled helped the robot.  We discussed how we don’t need to label everything on the robot because not everything is super important.  We also discussed that if we labeled it on the robot then it had to be included in the writing otherwise it would confuse a reading.  It was challenging for the boys to pick what was most important as to them, EVERYTHING was important!

I was able to conference with each of the boys on their writing.  This was a great time for us to make sure everything that was labeled was written about and go over spelling and grammar.

After conferences the boys were able to write a final copy to go with their robots.  They were pretty proud of their work and didn’t want me to hang them up in the hallway because they wanted to take them home.



Sometimes plans change when students bring up things you didn’t think about.  This happened while I was working with my bonus Kindergartners.

Last week I had my Kindergartners read All About Penguins (I posted their writing in a post below) and then they read All About Snakes.  It just happened that while we were talking about the different things we read snakes do they brought up how the penguin does some of the same things.

I thought this was a great opportunity to introduce them to a Venn Diagram and give us a jump start on writing about snakes.  The kids read both books and then we talked about the different things penguins and snakes do.  We decided if that was something they had in common or didn’t have in common.  I had them put their ideas on the chart and then we went over the correct sounds they produced and the way it would look in a book.

I was super impressed that they came up with these ideas.