Lesson Plan: Information Books (2nd Grade)

This lesson plan is inspired by a successful collaboration between a second grade teacher and my mentor Jenny during my elementary school placement.

The context: Second graders at Hampton will be performing a dissection of an eyeball (sheep’s, I think…lovely). Part of their assessment will include a labeled drawing of the eyeball.  Jenny offered to have the kids practice labeling something during their visit to the media center, using a kids drawing program called KidPix.

I thought this could easily be used as a part of a lesson on information books, as well.  Here it is:

Lesson: Features of Information Books

Grade: 2nd

Content Objectives:

  • Students will be able to identify different features of an informational book.
  • Students will learn how to label a picture.
  • Students will label 5 body parts on an animal using KidPix and save content onto their H: drive.

Readalouds:

  • Owls by Gail Gibbons
  • Penguins by Norman Barrett

Discussion/Smartboard:

  • What is an informational/non-fiction book?  How is it different from fiction?  Show a couple of fiction books about owls/penguins — what makes them fictional?
  • Discuss different features typical of informational books: pictures with captions, labels, pronunciation guides, table of contents, glossary, index, etc. How do these features help the reader?
  • Do both books we read have these features?  Show a chart that compare/contrast features of the two books.  Have students go to the board and “check” appropriate boxes. (Smartboard)  (Could include columns for fiction titles too.)
Owls Penguins
Pictures with captions
Labels
Pronunciation guides
Table of contents
Glossary
Index
  • Tell students we’ll be practicing labeling pictures today in KidPix.  They have to first insert a picture of an animal, then use the Line and Textbox tools to label at least 5 body parts.  Demo this on the Smartboard (asking students to help where appropriate):
    • Start KidPix.
    • Inserting a picture of an animal into KidPix.
    • Demo how to use the Line tool in Kidpix to add lines to their picture.
    • Demo how to use the Textbox tool in Kidpix to add text (or labels) to their picture. Show how to move the text box to the right place.
    • Use the Textbox tool to add a title and the student’s name.
    • Save the file onto the student’s H: drive.

Work Samples:

CAM01299 CAM01298

Lightship: Brian Floca

Lightship 

Author/Illustrator: Brian Floca
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Year: 2007
Brief Summary: Learn about lightships, which serve as lighthouses where they cannot be built, guiding sailors safely through bad weather.

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Discuss lightships — what are they and what purpose do they serve?  How are they similar/different from other ships?
  • Discuss various roles different sailors play on the ship.  Is anyone more important than another?  Talk about how even the seemingly insignificant roles are important…relate to how even though everyone’s different, we all play an important part in our community.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.  Author’s notes in the back with more information about lightships.  A picture of lightship with labelled parts on the end-papers.

Accessed at: Capilano Library

Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems: Joyce Sidman

 

Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems

Author/Illustrator: Joyce Sidman

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 2005
Brief Summary: A collection poems about pond life, including animals, plants, and insects that are found in that habitat.
Awards, Honors and Prizes: 

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library and/or brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core, etc.:

  • Research pond animals, insects, and plants.  Research the pond habitat.  How does it differ from other types of “water” habitats, such as river, swamp, ocean, etc.?
  • Informational reading: read the accompanying information about each animal/plant in the back of the book; supplement with other informational books.  Have groups of students make mini books about pond animal/plants using additional facts.
  • Discuss poetry — different types of poems…rhyming, concrete, etc.

Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.

Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library

NON-FIC: Drawing From Memory


Title: Drawing From Memory
Author: Allen Say
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN: 0545176867
ISBN: 978-0545176866
Format: Non-Fiction/Graphic Novel (hybrid)
Plot summary: Winner of many awards and honors (including the Sibert Informational Book Medal in 2012), Drawing From Memory is a part-memoir, part-graphic-novel narrative about Allen Say’s journey from a boy who loved to draw and was rejected by his father, to the renown artist he is today. The book details his relationships with his father, mother, grandmother, and his “spiritual father”/mentor Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist.
Audience: Ages 8 and up
Strengths:

  • The centerpiece of this book is without a doubt the beautiful paintings, original artwork, sketchbook drawings, and cartoons (by Say himself and some by Shinpei), and photographs…together they paint a picture of who Say is and the culture he grew up in.
  • Though the book focuses on the visual components, Say’s simple, matter-of-fact narrative of his childhood and teenage experiences in Japan is quiet and touching. He does a great job describing the complex relationship between him and Shinpei…a mixture of awe, reverence, and respect — Shinpei can be almost a godlike/untouchable but tender and fatherly at the same time. I was moved to tears by the last couple of sentences in the Author’s Note, when Shinpei’s daughter wrote that one of her father’s dying wishes was to work on a book with Say, “the treasure of his life”.
  • Middle schoolers will be able to relate to the many emotions/themes in this book: what it’s like to feel rejected, to be passionate about something others don’t understand, wanting to be independent but not really sure what it means, feeling frightened/lost in the world, etc.
  • His obvious passion for cartooning/comic books and art in general will inspire young artists or anyone that aspire to become great at something. Readers will be able to identify with his unrelenting zeal to achieve his dream.

Weaknesses:

  • Say’s story is so fascinating I wish there was more text.
  • The book is arranged almost as if it were a scrapbook, with lots of snapshots, captions, sketches/art, and comic strips. This makes it difficult to read aloud, but might still be a good book for teachers to share on a projector, when there is plenty of time to pore through the details.

Uses: 

  • As introduction to author study and a great companion book for his autobiographical novel, The Inn-Keeper’s Apprentice.
  • As part of discussions on diversity (Japanese culture), immigration, family relationships, separation
  • lesson plan on genre — especially mixed genres: What makes this a graphic novel? What makes this an informational/non-fiction text? What is a memoir?
  • Study of the drawing/artistic process — does one become famous overnight? What sort of training/sacrifices might one have to make? Does this kind of apprenticeship/training happen in the US? What other types of careers/talents can you think of that require such kind of training?
  • inspirational read for anyone with artistic ambitions, identifies with the emotions of being rejected (by a parent or society) because one is “different”, or who has undergone the immigrant experience, etc.

Read-alikes:

  • One of the most popular ones at our library is Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Artan anthology in which 23 of the most well-known artists/illustrators in children’s literature (such as Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, and Eric Carle) share their journeys.
  • For kids interested in reading more biographies, they can try titles from the Time for Kids Biographies series.
  • Another illustrated memoir of a highly-acclaimed writer/illustrator is Ed Young’s The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China. It’s a look into Young’s childhood in China and his path to becoming the celebrated artist he is today.
  • For kids interested in writers/artists and their journeys, check out Angela Wenzel’s 13 Artists Children Should Know, or titles from the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series (e.g. Van Gogh, Picasso).

Awards & Best Books (from CLCD):

Other: 

  • Lexile Measure 560 (from CLCD)
  • Allen Say video interview with Reading Rockets, in which he mentions Drawing from Memory and provides more insights into his childhood and path to where he is today