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Garden City School Library: Fiction or Nonfiction?

Essential Question

How are fiction and nonfiction different?

Lesson 1 - Book Sort

  • Activity 1: Pull a variety of categories of books - hardcover / paperback; picture / chapter; characters on cover / not; fiction / nonfiction, etc. Give each student a book and then ask them to find at least one other student whose book falls into the same category. More than two students may be in a category. Once everyone is sorted, ask if anyone would like to share their category. Then have them regroup using a different category.

    Explain that all of the choices are correct, but the library uses only a couple of different ways to sort books. The first major separation is fiction / nonfiction. The way to tell which category a book falls into is the call number. 
  • Activity 2/Assessment: Show sample call numbers (see attached) and ask the students if they are fiction or nonfiction. Then have the kids do an individual assignment after reading the directions to them. 

1 = There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what they circled

2 = Student missed a few nonfiction call numbers, or they are mixed up and circled all of the fiction call numbers

3 = Student circled all of the nonfiction call numbers

4 = Student circled all of the nonfiction call numbers AND correctly answered the extra credit question

  • Additional assessment: During checkout, have students look at one of their books' call number and tell you if it is fiction or nonfiction. Continue to ask this question each week.

1 = By the end of the trimester, the student still cannot answer the question correctly

2 = Sometimes the student answers correctly, but sometimes not

3 = Student answers correctly almost all of the time

4 = Student answers correctly every week

Lesson 2 - Content Sort

  • Review: Ask the kids what they can tell you about fiction v. nonfiction. Write down features of each / both. Ask kids which they prefer - enter the data into a spreadsheet to look at once you have asked all of the classes.
  • Activity 1: Read content descriptions of books and have the kids go to one side of the room or the other: one for fiction, the other for nonfiction.
  • Discussion: Explain that nonfiction books are further separated into subjects. Introduce the students to the concept of the Dewey Decimal system; give them NF books with similar call numbers and ask them to figure out their category.

Standards Addressed

AASLI.B.3 - Generating products that illustrate learning; III.A.2 - Developing new understandings through engagement in a learning group; III.D.1 - Actively contributing to group discussions; IV.B.4 - Organizing information by priority, topic, or other systematic scheme; V.A.1 - Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes. 

RI Core: RL.1.7 - Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events; SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media; 1.MD.C.4 Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Select and analyze relevant information; Use a method of communication (e.g., written, oral, visual, graphic, audio, and/or interactive) to present ideas; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Identify relevant information/data from resources and analyze patterns and trends to identify relationships.

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Priority Skills: 1.1 - Recognizes the systematic way the library organizes fiction and picture books; With help, sorts and categorizes “like” and “different” objects; Verbally and physically demonstrates simple organizational skills such as sorting and categorizing objects and information; Sorts books by fiction vs. nonfiction; Uses writing process, emergent writing, and drawing to develop expression of new understandings; 3.2 - Participates in collaborative conversations with peers and adults to share ideas and information