It is easy to create or search for activities related to fictional literature, but what about informational text?! Most of the activities we find are the same graphic organizers, just to be used with different books. Here are some more hands-on lessons you can use with your students to dive into informational text!
1. Informational Text Features Scavenger Hunt
Identify a few key features in an informational text that you would like your students to find while reading. (ex. captions, diagrams, subheadings, table of contents, glossary, etc.) List those features on the board and have students write down the examples they find of each.
2. Text Features BINGO
Give each student a bingo card with the text features you want them to find within their informational text. While reading, students are to color in features they find. The first one to get BINGO or black out wins. As an extension, have students write in the space the example of the feature they found.
3. Does It Belong?
After reading a piece of informational text, identify the main idea of the text and then have students decide whether or not a fact belongs within that text. You can also ask students to write one sentence each, choosing to either write a fact from the text or something completely random. You then read aloud their responses and as a class they decide where to sort the sentences.
4. Fact Feature Posters
Create Informational Posters as a group assignment. Have students choose easy topics (common animals, sports, food, etc.). In their groups, they design a poster on that topic, including key informational text features (graphic, caption, glossary/vocabulary). They can then be posted around the room for other students to have a Gallery Walk and note the key features and information from each poster.
5. Topic Magazines
This project is also a fun way to write a research paper. Assign or allow students to choose a topic. They will need to research that topic, clustering their information into specific categories (subheadings). For inspiration, let them take a look at Scholastic News, Weekly Reader, or any other type of classroom publication you may have access to. Ask them to create their own “magazine” showcasing the information they have researched. As part of the project, they will need to include… vocabulary (bold), glossary, subheadings, diagrams/charts, and captions. They can then be added to your classroom library where classmates can read each other’s work.
Help your young learners identify different types of text features found within informational text. We have a pre-made center that gives examples of text features and ask the students to match the feature to its example. It is very easy to implement into your small group centers, just print, laminate and cut apart! It really helps to give your students visual examples of those text features.
6. Informational Text Structures Anchor Chart
Create an anchor chart that helps your students look for key words within the text to identify the structure. This chart helps hone in on the type of information the author is trying to teach you. It also helps them write pieces of informational text. They will be better able to organize their thoughts according to the type of structure their writing is following. And use the key words needed to help move the reader along.
- Description/List – This is used if your students want to read/write “All About….” books/stories. This type of writing would be a list of facts on a certain topic. It is the easiest place to start when having your students write informational pieces.
- Sequence – The easiest type of informational piece in this group are “How To…” writings. A great way to integrate this into writing is to have all of your students write a “How To” on the same topic and then trade with a partner and see if they can follow the directions. (ex. How to Come to the Carpet)
- Compare/Contrast – I love to read the “Who Would Win” series to model the text structure for compare and contrast. In this series, facts are given about two separate animals and in the end those facts are used to see who would win in a given scenario. The kids love to guess and see if their prediction is accurate. Increase the rigor by adding a Venn Diagram for comprehension.
- Cause/Effect – This type of informational text structure is more complex. Students will encounter this more in the upper grades when reading historical texts. We have an easy to use Cause/Effect center where students match the cards to create the appropriate “if/then” scenario. Add a writing component by having students write a couple of sentences explaining the cause and effect.
- Problem/Solution – Pose a relevant problem to your students… “Not enough time to eat lunch.” Have them discuss and write a solution to the given problem. Students can illustrate their solution and post around the classroom. Put students in groups to discuss their solutions and hear classmate’s ideas.
7. Integrate Informational Text into Science
STEM has been launched into the forefront of teaching. It offers a great platform to use informational text as inspiration for students to imagine, create, test, and refine their designs in relation to a given task. We have excellent sets of low prep STEM bundles that get kids excited to learn and work on solving problems. Each task comes with paired texts (both fiction and non-fiction) to give students background knowledge to construct their designs. Check out our Once Upon a STEM series here…
By pairing exciting activities with informational text, you can help foster in your students the same love of non-fiction as they have for fictional stories. Please add any awesome informational text activities that you use with your students. We love to hear what wonderful things you are doing in your classrooms!
-Written by Janessa Fletcher
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