NF UNIT P2 Days 12-13

Poem A Day:

No time for Poems on this day. Students are presenting their projects!!


I originally planned one day for students to share their presentations. I mean, our classes are 80 minutes. Surely, that is enough time for 20 presentations.



I mean, really, I am still completely blown away. I wish I had recorded a few of the presentations that still have my mind spinning.

One student gave a “Ted Talk” and the students in his class were rapt. There was an applause when he finished. Please read his words: They are gorgeous. I am also attaching the images he used while presenting-

Active Engagement:

Students listened to their peers



After students were finished presenting, I gave students this reflection form.

Here are some of the responses I got on this reflection. This is real evidence of learning. When a student can articulate clearly what they have learned, that means they have learned it. (my capacity for logic is, frighteningly impressive, I know).

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This one made me proud. From the mouths of babes. “I learned more in 19 presentations than I have learned throughout the whole year in science.” Notice, she quotes one talk, and references several others. She paid attention- and I did not force them to, via some handout.
Double check!
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Do your research, yanno, so you don’t embarrass yourself with misinformation! It’s practical.
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Authentic learning and understanding takes TIME. Nice conclusion.
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NF UNIT P2 Day 9

Poem A Day:




Today’s objective is: Students will gather information from various reputable sources in order to deepen understanding of a chosen topic.I had a chromebook cart in my room for this one. 

We started today by watching this Ted Talk from Markham Nolan called “How to Separate Fact from Fiction Online.” It was pretty relevant to the work students are doing for their projects.



At the end of his talk, he says this: “But here’s the thing. Algorithms are rules. They’re binary. They’re yes or no, they’re black or white. Truth is never binary. Truth is a value. Truth is emotional, it’s fluid, and above all, it’s human. No matter how quick we get with computers, no matter how much information we have, you’ll never be able to remove the human from the truth-seeking exercise, because in the end, it is a uniquely human trait.”

We discussed this and our evolving understanding of the genre of nonfiction.

Active Engagement

Students were supposed to have gathered all of their sources and created citations for each source in MLA format. Today, I gave them a “quiz” on Google Classroom. A blank google doc for them to create their works cited page. They could use the Purdue owl link to help them. It was open-note and open-web. I just want students to learn how to do it on their own. They don’t love it.

After they finish their quiz, they have the class to work on gathering information and note-taking for their projects.

Again, students barely looked up from their screens. They did research. I fielded their issues as they arose- as they tend to. 😉



Students shared out the most interesting piece of information they have found so far with a partner (I recently moved desks into partners for another class I teach, but it was useful in this class too for students to have a buddy to bounce ideas off of and to check MLA formatting with).



NF UNIT P2 Day 8

Poem A Day:

Today I chose a poem that connected to the research I am doing for my “model project”. I want the students to see that research does not have to be “boring”. It can actually be something that seasons and enriches your life and your understanding of people or the world or yourself. So, I described how this song reminds me of the things I am learning in my research about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Today’s objective is: Students will find four outside sources about their chosen topic and create MLA citations for those sources. I had a chromebook cart in my room for this one. 

I told students that today they would be finding new sources of information about their topics. I reminded them about nonfiction, and its limitations- to emphasize the importance to consulting more than one source for information.

I had students get onto google classroom and open this document that I shared with each of them (each student has their own copy to type into).

I also had the same document open on my screen and the smartboard. I clicked on the purdue owl link at the top and showed them how to find the citation types they may need.

***side note*** I taught these freshmen last year when they were in 8th grade and I taught at the middle school. I know exactly how they were taught to do citations – and they are consistently making the following mistake:

They go to easy bib, or they use the extension on google docs, but they do not manually enter any information, so their citations end up inaccurate and lacking information.

So, today we talked about that- and how to fix it. I gave them a few samples on the doc I shared with them. I showed them where I found the information for the citation for one of my sources.

We also talked about taking notes, and keeping them organized, so that you know where your information comes from when you go to compile your project.

Finally, we reviewed in-text citations, and I encouraged them to make them as they recorded notes.

I also shared this document with students- this is my model for them.  I opened the doc and had it up all day as I worked on finding sources for my project, creating citations, and taking notes. As I worked, they also worked on their own research.


Active Engagement

Students barely looked up from their screens. They did research. I fielded their issues as they arose- as they tend to. 😉


I told students I wanted a works cited page of 5 sources including their books by our next class.


NF UNIT P2 Day 5

Day 5

Poem A Day:

Clean lyrics can be found here. (there is one curse word at the end of the song- it is hard to hear it). The song is all about telling your own story and having your own vision of the world. I think it is inspiring as students prepare to engage in research and critical inquiry.


Today’s objective is: Students will understand how to search for and find reliable information in our school’s LLC.

Our fabulous Librarian is taking over today and teaching my kiddos a lesson about doing research in our library. It never hurts to coordinate with your LLC specialist and get your kids into the Library often. They should feel comfortable there- magical things happen in libraries (#englishteacher).

If I did not have this time with our librarian, I would be modeling for the students how I find reliable sources to answer my research question about Zeitoun.

Active Engagement:

Students will begin searching for credible information from sources outside of their nonfiction books in an attempt to answer a self-generated research question (or a few).


Recap/answer any questions.

NF UNIT P2 Digging Deeper

Part Two: Digging Deeper (aka research).

Day 1

Poem A Day:

Why? Because I love this song. Also, I can’t remember- I will come back to this one.


Today students turned in their final essays and I introduced their new projects.  You will have to click on that link to understand the rest of this unit 😉

Image result for capturing reality

Active Engagement:

We went to the LLC at our school where our FABULOUS librarian pulled the most exciting, relevant, and current nonfiction from the shelves. We talked about lots of the books students could choose, and each found one book they wanted to use for the project.


After checking out their books, students were asked to begin reading and thinking about what they may want to research based on the book they chose.