Monday, August 19, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text: Why am I a... series by Greg Pyers

We have a phenomenal library system where I live and I am excited about the 22 books I just picked up from the library. I was able to put 22 books on reserve; they had them neatly waiting for me, and I was able to zip out of the library in under 5 minutes! A wonderful resource I am thankful to have so close to my home!
Another thing I love is teaching science, particularly Biology, and animal classification.
I have tons to share with the kids and would be content teaching it all year long. I almost get giddy when it is time to start the lessons and have a bad habit of running over my allotted time when we are working on this subject.
I especially love that I can integrate reading and writing in to my science time too. "The Why am I a/an..." series by Greg Pyers is a perfect companion for this unit. Last year I had to hunt around for titles, so this time I was prepared and  made my request with plenty of time to introduce the unit. Tomorrow we will dig in to the books.
I love the structure of the books, it makes it accessible to my 5th graders and they have little pointers to show them where the key classifying characteristics are. (They have a check mark right next to the text.) So as the students read they fill out their graphic organizers and can complete the charts for their notebooks. 
Many examples of animals from each class are shown and they have fast facts to keep the reader's interest. 
At the end of the book is a checklist reviewing key details about the highlighted animal and why it is considered to be part of that class. 
I plan to have my students read each book in the series in small groups or with a partner. While reading they will complete the graphic organizers from my animal classification unit in their interactive notebooks. Once all have rotated through the series we will review and discuss what we learned. I will also have them pick another non-fiction animal book to complete a graphic organizer on the topic of the book. 

If you teach animal classification I highly recommend this series. They are the perfect reading level for upper elementary students, full of interesting facts, engaging pictures, and have the exact details needed to help students understand the difference between the animal groups. If you participate in Accelerated Reader, there are tests to go along with the series as well. 
If you are looking for more science mentor text ideas, check out the Mentor Text Links on Collaboration Cuties
Thanks to Collaboration Cuties for the linky!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from my readers. Please leave your thoughts about the wonderful journey through teaching and life!