Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Spotlight! Connect Literature to Informational Text with Misty Poland!

Welcome once again to our Teacher Spotlight , giving recognition (and free books!) to deserving teachers who have great ideas to share. Today's featured teacher is Misty Poland of Arizona. You may remember Misty from our post with   highlights from the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway   back in May.

Misty writes a blog called   Think, Wonder, & Teach , which is about teaching and all the neat peripheral things related to it. Recently, she has covered topics such as her favorite school supplies, strategies for teaching subtraction, and her recent attendance at   NASA's PSTI program .

When offered the chance to stand in our Teacher Spotlight, Misty wanted to share a graphic-rich activity she devised to link narrative text to informational text using the   Story World–Real World series   we came out with not too long ago. These books were written and designed specifically for the purpose of putting stories in the context of things that exist in the real world, but you could also expand the idea to use any story and any informational texts that relate to elements in the story. Here's Misty's lesson plan in her own words!

Connecting Literature to Informational Text

As schools move into fully implementing the Common Core, teachers are scrambling to connect literature to informational text. Now, we can do it but it seems to be missing something. The   Story World–Real World   books come to the rescue!

The first book in this series is a traditional tale. Today, I am working with my own third-grader who is reading a favorite story: the   Three Little Pigs . As I teach third grade, it is so helpful to have my own personal guinea pig at home.

After reading the narrative text, he read one of the three   Real World   books. In this set, he had the choice of  Where Would You Like to Live? ,   Our New House ,   All About Pigs . He chose  All About Pigs   because his puppy is named Miss Piggy.

My plan for my classroom is to break up my students into three groups. Each group will read a different book and complete a bubble map to compare and contrast the real world with the story world book.

Then we will come back together to discuss what we read and our bubble maps.  I use a document camera to project each group's bubble map onto the smart board. From here, we can continue to add in the knowledge from other groups as we continue to explore both literature and informational text.

Whenever I have a chance, I love to create a graphic in the classroom. It brings math into every topic and, at the beginning of the school year, it helps us get to know one another better. I use chart paper to create my graphics. Each student will receive a Post-It to write his/her name on; then the student will have a chance to help build the chart by adding their information to it.

This makes a great morning activity! Each day, you could have a different graphic available for them to work with. With this series, you could also easily do a graphic on where were you born or create a map of all the places the students have lived or visited! Both would be great extensions from the books.

Our New House   reminds me of the classic story   This is the House that Jack Built . Do you remember that one? The basic structure is adding steps to a process using repetitive rhythm, each step echoing the last. You could ask your students to create their own story of this kind, perhaps about a new school. For example, who is the first person they met? What did they learn? What should they do or not do (rules and procedures) throughout the day?

- Misty Poland


Misty Poland lives in Arizona with her husband, three sons, and their puppy. She has a bachelor’s degree in business and project management and a master’s degree in elementary education. She is currently teaching third grade, while moonlighting as a project manager for Honey Bunch Blog Designs. Check out her blog at   www.thinkwonderteach.com .




Do you know a K-8 teacher whose creative classroom activities could use some well-deserved recognition? Have you, yourself, hit upon a strategy that you think works so well that you'd love to share it with others? Do you have a teaching blog or website with ideas you'd like to spread? Come stand in our teacher spotlight!

We're looking for teachers with unique, fun perspectives to feature on our blog. At least once a month, possibly more often, we want to inspire the teaching community with the innovative work of teachers who have a true passion for what they're doing. We'll broadcast your ideas here on our blog, distributing them through social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each teacher we choose will get some Hameray "goodies" from a series that fits their classroom needs—early literacy, oral language development, striving readers in upper grades, informational text, or narrative texts.

- Tara Rodriquez