Content Area Tools

I visited M.O.R.E. and searched by standard for resources for writing nonfiction at the primary (first grade) level.

The first resource I will use with my students: Weather: A Journey in Nonfiction at

We are in the middle of our weather unit and I had already was thinking that it would be great to do nonfiction writing project to summarize our learning. This site gave me more ideas and also some online and book resources to use as well. I plan to use our learning from our weather unit (what we have learned and will learn) and combine it with our writing unit. The lesson at this resource is a little more than I want to use with my beginning first graders but I can use parts of it and I really like combining science learning with writing.

Here is my idea: The writing unit that we are starting is: Question and Answer Nonfiction books. As an interactive writing lesson, we will ask questions like: “How can you find the temperature of the air?” Answer: “You can use a thermometer to find the temperature of the air.” “How can you know the speed of the wind?” “You can use a windsock to find out how windy it is”. We can write this book with paper and pen and illustrate it or we can write it online using pictures of students with weather tools on Story Buddy (or another story writing tool) and put it into our iBooks shelf so that we can read it there. I’d also like to record the students and make it into a video but I am not sure of a good tool for that. I tried recording a clip of a student on Splice but the audio didn’t play. Any suggestions?

The second resource I found to use: Book Buddy Biographies

This is another form of nonfiction writing that I would love to introduce to my first graders. I like the fact that it builds community with another class in our school and builds relationships with older and younger students. I has lots of valuble elements. Planning is an important piece for first grade writers. A lesson to determine questions ahead of time and creating an interview form is a great way to teach planning. I think I would have the children write a book about their buddy as an end result. I might use the stapleless form that can be done either online or with paper and pencil. I will have to try the online version to see if it is 6 year old friendly! If need be, our regular writing booklets will work just fine. A book would be a meaningful expression and something the partners could share and appreciate together.

I also like the suggestion that buddies could continue to meet over the course of the year. If not in person, they could e-mail or communicate in a written format. My first graders don’t have access to e-mail but I am working on getting them started on a classroom KidBlog and I’m thinking that we could share that with buddies and have them comment and add to our learning.

I see a lot of motivation for writing in these lessons and activities.


One thought on “Content Area Tools

  1. Not sure about Splice. I have it, but I have only played with it. Do you think Educreations would work? Another thought if you just need one copy is to purchase Explain Everything. It is $1.99 I think. I like it the best of all the digital story/tutorial apps.
    These are all great ideas! Nice job.

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