Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Sibert Smackdown update 12.20.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Last month I posted about the books I would be using in classes who were participating in Sibert Smackdown.  You can read the post (and see the books) here.

What is Sibert Smackdown?  It's an idea that came from author Melissa Stewart, read her post here.  My school already participates in Mock Newbery, Caldecott and Geisel, but I really wanted to get some nonfiction reading in, more than the scattering of books that were used in the Mocks.  I started small a year ago, just doing this with my reading intervention students.  I was so impressed with the work they did and how this had students going deeper into their reading and they would get so passionate about the books!  Read about last year here and here.

This year I took it to the classroom level.  The two classrooms I'm in for #classroombookaday (3rd and 4th) allowed me to come in and do this with students.  Luckily the entire third grade jumped in and they were able to participate as a grade level.  It just so happened both third and fourth grade were in a nonfiction cycle and were doing nonfiction reading and writing.  This would be a perfect place to put in this type of work.

Our state participates in the PARCC assessment every spring.  I will leave my own opinions out of this post, but I will say it's interesting to look at results and see where our students are  in comparison to others in regards to the standards.  The way I look at the results, I start thinking about how I can get students to think deeper and wider about the standards and how I will do that.  Right away, the Sibert Smackdown came to mind.  Why not be able to get students to think about these standards using amazing literature?

I knew I wanted to look at reading across texts in order to gather ideas (4th grade) and compare and contrast  ideas (3rd grade).  I also want students to start thinking about how texts are organized and why and noticing text features and understanding their purpose.  To help facilitate that, I designed this book for 3rd grade students and this book for 4th grade students to use when reading and comparing two books.  It's an easy way to help them organize thoughts, and dig deeper into the nonfiction books while doing some serious standard based learning.  Perfect!

What went well this year:

  • students started noticing text structure on their own!
  • we are introducing thinking maps to students.  If they can figure out text structure, they can also figure out which thinking map would help them organize their thoughts!
  • it was consistent practice in a meaningful way
What I would change:
  • we were fitting this in during #classroombookaday time, which typically is 15-20 min. long.  On the days they were filling out their Smackdown pages, it took longer than that.  Some of it can be filled out on their own (but make sure there is collaboration time) but most of it you want to find time to talk about and discuss.
  • I used 10 books in 3 weeks.  We had three weeks between Thanksgiving Break and Winter Vacation.  This allowed us time to read the Sibert books and get some Mock Caldecott reading in as well.  We had three great weeks of reading and talking about books, but no time for a culminating activity.  I wish the students had time to narrow down their reading to choose an exemplary book and explain why.  We did this last year and I loved it, just not enough time this year.  Note:  using 10 books, I would say this activity takes 4 weeks.
So even though I would make changes next year, there were still some great things that happened as a result of Sibert Smackdown.  This is an activity I hope to repeat every year. 

Did you try a Sibert Smackdown or similar activity?  How did it go?  Thinking about trying this next year?  What ideas do you have?

Be sure to stop by next week and check out my lists of 2017 Favorites!  It was another year of fantastic reads!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry that I'm retired, Michele. This sounds like great learning, then application to help with that testing. I especially liked "consistent practice in a meaningful way". Many teachers should be reading your post! Merry Christmas!