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Today was another good day.
I had lots of favorite parts, but my favorite favorite might be from first grade.
We had an inquiry lesson about fiction and nonfiction. My challenge to them: sort a group of picture books into categories fiction and nonfiction. My job was to stay out of their way while they worked. And then, they’d call me over to investigate the piles. I didn’t tell them which of their books were correct or incorrect, I just told them the number of incorrect books in the pile and let them try again.
I. LOVED. This activity. How cool it was to watch the conversation, taking notes of the knowledge and misconceptions as the evidence surfaced.
I also loved introducing the kids to a new concept: UNLEARNING. Yes, unlearning. Friends, I will tell you that it blew my six-year-old students’ MINDS to know that there are times where we have to take a fact or an idea and UNLEARN it. “Wait, Mrs. Levin. I thought we came to school to LEARN things, not UNLEARN them!” Yes, buddy. You’re right. But sometimes what we learn is not correct, and we need to replace it. That’s where the magic happens!
Among the ideas we had to unlearn:
Drawings go in fiction, photos go in nonfiction
Fiction reads like a story and nonfiction doesn’t
Nonfiction could happen, fiction couldn’t
At the heart of our discoveries today?
Sometimes the difference between fiction and nonfiction is messy. And the only way we can REALLY tell is to look at the text itself: titles, pages, back matter, dust jackets.
We’re on to something, people. I’m excited to see where they go. And what’s even better? I get to do this same activity with my first-grade loveys at another school on Friday.
Shhhh. Don’t give it away!