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




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.

NF UNIT P1 Day 1

Image result for What is true?

Day 1

Piece Or Excerpt of Media A Day:

“Eclipse” Pink Floyd. After reading the lyrics, I told students we were starting a new unit today about nonfiction.

I chose this piece because we are going to try and define “truth” today. I like the lyrics of this song for that goal. Also, throughout this unit, I will be modeling the project goals for the unit with my own research project about space. This song was a no-brainer for me. (more details about the project and my modeling below).

Then as a class we mocked up a definition of non-fiction. They called out several examples and I recorded them in our google doc notes.


Once students understood that we were going to be learning about a new genre, nonfiction, I asked students to define the following two terms in their notebooks:



This obviously opened up a lot of great conversation. Kids love prompts like these that open their minds and challenge them.

Active Engagement:

I gave students this handout which outlines the learning objectives for the unit, and also introduced the project they will complete throughout the unit. 

Next, I told students how I came to choose my topic: space exploration. I chose the topic, simply because I am currently really interested in space exploration. Crazy, right? I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the Voyager 1 and 2. (one of my many sources for my project) and told students WHY exactly it struck a chord in me. It sparked my intense curiosity and excitement about the endlessness and possibility of our universe. I wanted to know more.

The goal here is that students choose their own topic that they actually WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT.

Next, we watched the first piece of media that I found for my “model project.” We watched James Green’s Ted Talk called “3 moons and a planet that could have alien life.”

I gave students the transcript for the talk and this sheet of questions to answer in order to foster analysis of the media. This gave students an opportunity to practice close-reading of a nonfiction text. They will use the same handout to read their own pieces of media for their own projects.


I asked students to begin considering what topic they might want to explore for this project.

HOMEWORK: Bring in a list of at least 5 topics you want to learn about for next class.