NF UNIT P2 Day 7

Day 7

Poem A Day:

For this unit, I am trying to find poetry and music that celebrates the individual’s mind, critical thought, and questioning “official truths”.  It gets the kids in the right zone to learn more about a topic of their choice and decide how to report their findings, in their own voice.


Today’s objective is: Students will identify successful components of nonfiction in various films in order to decide which components they may want to incorporate into their products. (wordy- I will work on that).

Today, students are going to watch a series of short nonfiction films and think about the decisions made by the producers of the videos. They will consider how they can use these moves in order to create a final product that will be informational, credible, and engaging.

I started the day by asking students to list types of nonfiction films. This is the list they came up with:




-Ted Talks


-Video blogs

I gave students this handout and described the activity we would be doing today (all of which is in the directions of the handout).



Active Engagement

I showed the following examples of nonfiction in film, and students recorded notes on their handouts for each video. I gave them a few minutes in between videos to jot their ideas, discuss with a partner, and share with the class. I also pointed out the great things I noticed, or criticisms I had.

Video 1

Things we liked about this video:

  • transitions
  • music
  • editing
  • writing

Video 2

Things we liked about this video:

  • appropriate music
  • Pathos- appeals to emotion

Kids were quick to catch spelling errors and editorial mistakes in this video- I reminded them that viewers of their products would also notice those things… EDIT EDIT EDIT.

Video 3

For this video, we discussed multiple perspectives being recognized, even though the pov of the creator was clear.Students also appreciated some of the more “artsy” shots and how the interviews were presented.

Video 4

Students learned from this video not to film scenes in places with a lot of background info- the video suffered as students could not understand the interviews.

Video 5

Students enjoyed this video the most so far. We talked about how there is a fine line between standing alone in a room and with your iphone and just talking endlessly into the camera. This is so engaging because of the cuts, the humor in the writing, the props, the rating criteria, etc.

Last, but not least, one of the most popular vloggers on the interwebs:

Video 6

Students filled out the handouts.


I had students get out their project handouts from the beginning of the unit. We reviewed the types of projects they could create. Then, I gave students a post-it. On it the wrote,

their name

their research topic

the type of project they want to make

For example,

Ms. Minto

Research topic: The creation of Camp Greyhound in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Project: Ted Talk





Today ROUGH drafts were due. I conferred with each student.

There have been about a million snow days disrupting our progress in this unit the past few weeks.

Just for everyone’s sanity, today’s blog will simply relay due dates for the rest of the unit.


Tuesday 3/13: Citing sources and making revisions

Thursday 3/15: Peer-Revision (projects should be close to DONE on this day)

Monday 3/19: Projects due for presentation. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.


Monday 3/12 ROUGH drafts due- confer with Minto

Wednesday 3/14 Citing sources and making revisions

Friday 3/16 Peer-Revision (projects should be close to DONE on this day)

Tuesday 3/20: Projects due for presentation. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED.

NF UNIT P2 Day 4

Day 4

Poem A Day:

None today.


The objective today: Students will identify craft moves they have noticed in their research that nonfiction writers use AND choose two to try.

For today’s lesson I will remind students that reading nonfiction like a writer looks like this:


  1. Notice something about the writing.
  2. Name it, using words that make sense to you.
  3. Come up with a theory that explain why the writer used this technique.
  4. Try it in your own writing.

Today, we finally get to step 4!

I showed students which moves I noticed in my research that I want to use in my nonfiction product. I talked about how I tried those moves and showed examples.

Active Engagement:

Students worked in groups to create anchor charts (big posters) of the moves they noticed and want to use.

Then they had to select two moves they will use in their nonfiction products.

After completing the posters, students filled out this handout. 

Any extra time was used to continue working on their final products.


Students shared out the moves they want to use and also posted their two choices into the comments on a thread in Google Classroom.

I reminded students that their rough drafts are due next week (A day Monday 3/5) and (B day Tuesday 3/6). Final projects are due for presentation (A day Friday 3/9) and (B day Monday 3/12).



Day 3

Poem A Day:

No Poem today. Too much to do 🙂


The objective today: Students will think about the kinds of media their peers like to consume, and choose the best media for their own projects.

Today I showed students four different student exemplars from this project last year. I gave a speech with slides, showed a podcast, a video and an essay. Students blew me away when they identified the rhetoric used by these student writers last year!!

Next, some students inquired about how to create a website as they wanted to try it versus writing an essay. I showed them how to navigate which provides free templates and user-friendly editing tools.

Active Engagement:

Next students had time to work on composing their products.


I reminded students that their rough drafts are due next week (A day Monday 3/5) and (B day Tuesday 3/6). Final projects are due for presentation (A day Friday 3/9) and (B day Monday 3/12).

NF UNIT P2 Day 2

Day 2

Poem A Day:

Today’s piece of media speaks to the main idea of my own product of nonfiction that I am creating as a result of my Space Exploration research. It is called “The Uncertainty of Knowledge” by Richard Feynman (one of my favorite humans). I played only the first minute of the clip and we discussed it briefly.



Today begins the second bend of our Nonfiction unit. Today we will move from researchers of nonfiction to creators of nonfiction. Or in other words, we move from readers into writers. 

The objective today: Students will identify the “truth” of their topics and try various strategies for organizing their research and crafting an original narrative to communicate their understanding of their topic.

For today’s lesson, I actually used my whiteboard to create a mind map. You can also use something like Coggle. 

I started by reviewing all of the sources I have consulted so far, and started talking about how I could really talk about ANYTHING in my nonfiction media. I have to choose a focus. I have to choose a purpose. In other words, I have some work to do.

I started by trying to name my project. This is really just to try and identify a jumping-off point for your ideas. The goal is to boil down your ideas into one phrase that sums it up.

Mine was: “curiosity is valuable.”

Then I talked about how this leads me to lots of questions to try and answer. What do I mean, “valuable”? What value does curiosity have? why is it valuable? how? etc.

I made an old-school mind-map of my thoughts as they came to me and modeled for the students my process of getting ideas onto paper (or a white board).

I then shared an outlining strategy that was very similar which I put on Google Classroom for them to use.

Next, I showed them how I filled out the form so far for my project…

It shouldn’t be perfect. It should be messy. Learning is not tidy.

I referred them to this video to get this point across #feynmanismyhero



Active Engagement:

Next students had time to work on Chromebooks or in their notebooks to plan and organize their ideas.


I reminded students that an outline or complete mind-map (with source material incorporated) is due next class.

Image result for richard feynman

Image result for richard feynman

NF UNIT P2 Day 1

Day 1

Poem A Day:

You won’t have to ask, but go ahead: Ask the students how they “feel.”


Today begins the second bend of our Nonfiction unit. Today we will move from researchers of nonfiction to creators of nonfiction. Or in other words, we move from readers into writers. 

The objective today: Students will understand how nonfiction writers use rhetoric to persuade readers to think a certain way or to act.

For today’s lesson, I stuck to the basics- many of these students have zero background knowledge about rhetoric (the art of persuasion).

I defined the types of rhetoric on the smart board and then showed various examples of each. It’s a pretty straight-forward lesson, but the kids love it if you pick good videos.

For Pathos, we discussed the emotions we feel that are strong enough to compel us to act, (fear, hate, love) and discussed how each of the following ads evoked those emotions in the viewer (music, graphics, imagery, suspense, word choice, etc.).

I showed:


And, finally, of course: (cue the water works).

For Ethos, I gave some examples off of the top of my head (I may or may not have made up a story wherein Ben Roethlisberger takes NyQuil in order to prepare for the big game).

Finally, for Logos, we watched some mac vs. pc ads. There are lots of fun things to choose from out there.

Next, I modeled for students how I found rhetoric in my nonfiction sources for my Space project. 

This tied the whole lesson together. I cannot stress the importance of modeling your thinking and reading for students. This is how they learn to do it.

We also watched a few funny videos about Flat Earth in order to discuss common logical pitfalls that happen in the fun world of researching a topic. 

Active Engagement:

Next students had time to delve into their sources and look for ethos, pathos or logos. They worked on this assignment “Searching for Rhetoric” and discussed their findings with peers.


We reviewed the purposes of today’s lesson:

Why are we learning about Rhetoric?

-You need to be wise and critical consumers of information.

-You certainly can use it yourself when you are a writer.

Students were to finish “Searching for Rhetoric” for homework.


Day 6


Piece Or Excerpt of Media A Day:

Image result for podcast


Today’s piece of media was the introduction clip of the podcast I found this week: Ted Radio Hour’s “Peering Deeper into Space”. 

The TED Radio Hour episode 116: Peering Deeper Into Space

This is another mentor text, this time a podcast, so that students can hear a great example of a podcast so that, if they choose to make on of their own, they have a great model. It may also encourage them to seek podcasts for their own research projects.


Today students shared out their work from last class’s assignment. 

We talked about the moves writers of nonfiction use. We discussed the moves everyone seemed to notice, and added these to our list that we have been making all unit.

Active Engagement:

Students continued work on their own research projects.


FOR A 100 POINT QUIZ GRADE: Next class, students are expected to have FIVE sources for their projects. ALL sources must be properly hyperlinked, and MUST include NOTES, written in the student’s own words, (no copy/paste) for each source.