Sunday, September 2, 2012

Genre study

Okay, so when it comes to teaching I'm a huge advocate for "Do what works for you."  With that being said, I don't start Daily 5 on the first day of school.  I don't even start it during the first full week.  During our first week of school we complete a study on genre, and during writing we study our names.  Why start with genre....
1. I feel like it's a really great way to get the kids thinking about their favorite books.
2. They help me organize the classroom library and make it their own.
3. They are able to identify books by genre in their reading responses.

 These books have not been sorted so the bin label does not match the genre.

I use the genre cards from Laura Candlers Power Reading Workshop book to introduce and define fiction and nonfiction.  We then begin to define this way of sorting as genre and talk about all the subcategories of genre that fall under fiction and nonfiction.  The students divide a piece of paper into 10 squares and label them: mystery, fantasy, adventure, realistic fiction, science fiction, adventure, poetry, informational text, biography, and fairy/folk tale.  We discuss autobiography, since I don't have any in my classroom library I don't make a spot for it on their paper.  We write our own class definitions in each square and glue them into our reading notebooks.  (I had meant to have a picture of this, but I am horrible with the camera!)

This year after identifying and defining the different genres I added a new activity I found in a very old issue of Mailbox Magazine.

I filled these little buckets I had from an old math lesson with books.  Each bucket held 4-6 books all from the same genre.  Their task was to work with their group members to determine the genre of their bucket and write how they knew.  Here's the worksheet they used to document their thinking!! Yes, it says "bag" because I had planned on purchasing pretty little bags, but then found these buckets in a cabinet and thought..."Why spend the money?".  Next year I'll have to change the title to "bucket".

After they figured out the genre of their little black bucket they put a small label on the spine of each book and put it in the correct bin in our classroom library.  Look at our fancy new labels from Ladybug Teaching Files!!

This pic was taken pre-sort so the books in the bins are not sorted.

I teach three sections of reading so each class was able to sort books for our library.  I've never done it this way before and I'm SO thankful I did.  I really feel like all 68 of my little fourth graders now have ownership of OUR classroom library.  Even though they may not be in my homeroom, they still feel like this is THEIR library and that makes me smile!!

Look for a post tomorrow about our annual name project using Chrysanthemum, writing, and Tagxedo!


  1. So super smart! I would have never thought of doing this!! Hmmmmm, may be changing my lesson plans for next week.

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

    1. Megan,
      The very best part was that after every type of sort a handful of kiddos would hurry toward me saying, "Ms. Denney, can I check this one out....I REALLY want to read it!" words a teacher can hear :)


  2. Wow great idea. That thought never crossed my mind! Thanks for sharing...
    ;0) Melissa


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