Monday, December 07, 2015

Information in So Many Forms

This week, a new episode of The Yarn was released. In this new episode,  author Anne Ursu talks about her book, The Real Boy. I LOVED The Real Boy and read the ARC as soon as it was available. I am a huge Anne Ursu fan so I loved having a bit more information on her process in writing this book. If you do not subscribe to The Yarn, I would definitely recommend it!

This interview with Anne Ursu is the first in a 3 part series. Keep your eye out for the next two in this series where Colby and Travis talk to Tracey Baptiste and Matt Tavares.

The podcast got me thinking about how many interesting ways there are to share information online that weren't available just a few years ago. There are such fascinating little pieces of information out there to share with students around books and literacy.

These little snippets of information really have me thinking about how I approach informational reading and writing in the classroom. They are crafted in a much more informal way and I think there are different skills needed to produce things like this. It is interesting to me, that with all of the ways to share information out there, there is still a lot of "report type" writing and big finished products when it comes to informational writing. I am wondering how I could better spend my time studying pieces like this and helping kids learn to create smaller pieces whose format matches purpose so clearly.

Here are some of my new favorite informational pieces--some for me and some for my students:

Emily Elizabeth Smith was given the Donald Graves Award at this year's NCTE convention. Her classroom sounds amazing and when I visited her class website I found some incredible podcasts on their HIVE RADIO link.  There are many different genres and topics created by her 5th graders.

I recently loved this short interview with Charlotte Huck Award winner, Sharon Draper. In this clip, she talks a bit about her book Stella by Starlight. It is fun to hear an author in person and to hear some extra background about a book I love.

Information like this is everywhere when we know where to look. I love this clip of Loren Long sharing some thoughts about his new book, Little Tree.

Ruth Ayres has created a series of videos that teach writers strategies for better writing.  How much we can learn in these short clips is incredible.

My 3rd graders are huge fans of Steve Harpster's drawing books. Recently they've discovered his YouTube channel and are learning how to draw so many things with these quick videos.

Friends with Fins has been extremely popular with my 3rd graders this year. So much information about the ocean and ocean conservation packed into these short, engaging videos. I especially like this one because Jaclyn talks about the research and how there is not yet a definitive, agreed-upon answer for this question--Do Fish Feel Pain?

I am in the process of collecting things like this for our work informational reading and writing that will begin in January. I am not sure where we'll go with it but I know that I want to think a bit differently about the study this year.


  1. Thank you for the share! Always a wealth of information that I can use in my classroom.

  2. As we are wrapping up our first nonfiction writing unit in two weeks this is just the kind of work we are doing in the final days. Thanks, as ever, for your great resources!

  3. I'll have to check out the Anne Ursu podcast. I tried my hand at one myself this week; a list of WWII fiction in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day.

  4. Love this post! Such an important way for us to think about how to expand our ideas about informational reading and writing.

  5. Thanks for sharing The Yarn (and a bunch of awesome resources)!!

  6. Thank you for sharing so many TERRIFIC resources, Mary Lee!

    1. I can't take credit -- this is Franki's post!


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