Comparing Biographies and Fiction

Comparing Biographies and Fiction

Comparing Genres - Biography and Fiction

Make Comparing Genres Fun!

Today we worked on comparing genres – biography and fiction. When we began this unit, I was thinking it would be extremely hard to find biographies to pair with fictional works for compare and contrast purposes. However, I was wrong. The Magic Tree House series is a great fictional collection that brings history and biographical information into a fictional story. Another great series is the Blast from the Past collection. I used “Blast to the Past – Lincoln’s Legacy” and “A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln”.

First, we read each of the stories. We read a selection out of the fictional chapter book due to time constraints. As we read we identified genre and information that helped us know what kind of book it was. Then, students worked in pairs to find a similarity for the two books. They wrote their response on a post it and added it to our class Venn Diagram.

Next, students wrote one thing that happened in either book that was unique to that story. They then added it to the appropriate side of the diagram. As students shared their responses with the class, they were able to analyze and dig deeper into what made the books alike and different. Students really got into the books and now have a renewed passion for the historical fiction section of the library!

Tomorrow we are doing some partner practice. Each group will be given a biography and a fictional text. After reading, they will place information on their own Venn Diagram. This will allow me time to walk the room and see who can demonstrate their knowledge independently.

Try it for Free

I created a FREE resource for comparing genres – biography and fiction that includes a fictional story and biography on Michael Phelps. You can download a copy in my TpT store here. 

Happy Teaching!

Free Counting Worksheet for Your Classroom

Free Counting Worksheet for Your Classroom

free counting worksheet

Who Doesn’t Love Free?

Every teacher loves getting something for free. Money is tight and finding a quality free counting worksheet can be difficult. We want to help – not just with counting but all sort of needs in the classroom! We will not only offer freebies in our Teachers Pay teachers store but also have created a free resource library you can join. Freebies in our store and in the library will vary in the subject area and level but will always be something you can use right away!

This blog’s feature…Pumpkin Counting! This free counting worksheet allows your students to practice counting and writing numbers to 10. It also reinforces patterning concepts. Download it now at our TPT store!

 Pumpkin Counting Worksheet

While you are there, check out our Pumpkin Preposition Worksheet for upper elementary. This worksheet helps students identify common prepositions and allows them an opportunity to use them in a sentence. Make your grammar lesson a little more fun for October!

Subscribe to our blog and FREE resource library today so you won’t miss out on any of the freebies being offered!

Elementary Vocabulary Activities that Rock

Elementary Vocabulary Activities that Rock

 Flocabulary lessons

Flocabulary Lessons that Rock!

I work in a school with a high ESL population. When I moved to 4th grade I realized that my ESL students struggled with their vocabulary. When writing a composition, it was hard for them to describe what they were writing about with anything other than basic English words. So, I began my quest to find a solution that would meet their needs. As I searched the web, I stumbled upon This site immediately got my attention. Flocabulary is educational Hip-Hop. While they have songs for all subjects, I was mostly interested in the elementary Flocabulary lessons. The songs are great. A lot of elementary educational songs are a little too “baby” for my kids. However, these are not. They sound like rap songs off the radio! I even had a parent ask if the words were appropriate because it sounded so “authentic”.

How does it work? Each week, students are introduced to 10 new words. The words and their definitions are embedded in the rap song of the week. As the kids learn the songs, they learn the definitions and how to use the word properly. Each song comes with activities to help build the students’ knowledge of each word. At the end of the week, students can be assessed with the unit test provided.

From the moment I started using it, I noticed a difference. First off, my students literally beg to hear the song each day. When it is time to do Flocabulary lessons, they cheer. It is, by far, their favorite part of the day. Plus, they are so excited about the songs and the vocabulary that they immediately begin trying to use the words in their speaking and in their written compositions. Word such as “good”, “big” and “sad” have been replaced with “extraordinary”, “vast” and “tragic”. It has been exactly the tool I needed to get my kids’ to the next level.

Check out one of their songs here:

The Parrot

Happy Teaching!


Wanted! Fourth Graders Who Love to Read!

Wanted! Fourth Graders Who Love to Read!

Get Kids Excited to Summarize!

One thing I love about my job is getting kids excited about 4th grade reading. Some kids are natural readers and love diving into a good book. Others, it takes some coaxing. One thing I have found is that changing up an end product can do wonders to get a kid excited. I try to do books reports with my kids every 9 weeks. This allows them the chance to pick a chapter book of their choice to read. I like to give them a week or so to read their book. Then, we spend a day in class writing a book report. To go along with our Texas Unit, I designed a “Wanted” poster for good books. The kids had a great time filling out the poster on their book and sharing with the class. The posters were a great addition to the rest of our Texas themed projects. If you would like to download a free copy of this worksheet, please visit my teachers pay teacher store. Happy Teaching!