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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nonfiction Text Structures & Features Cumulative Assignment

Last week, we finished our final project for our nonfiction text features and structures study.  Now, we are working on summarizing nonfiction and making inferences from nonfiction.  I'm having to get quite creative in order to keep my kids engaged in all of this nonfiction work!    Here is a look at what I had  my students do as their final assessment, and also to meet some additional Informational Reading Common Core Standards.

If you are looking for more ideas on teaching nonfiction text structures, check out my blog post about the activities we did HERE!

Basically, the students had to create their own mini-magazine about a topic of their choice.  This also hit some of our research and reasoning standards as well as a few writing standards.  I decided to devote several days to this because I think that if students can WRITE each type of text structure with some success, then the odds of them being able to identify it and also understand the purpose behind different text structures is greater.  The students really had to put some thought into what subtopics would be a good fit for each type of text structure, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  This would also be a great at-home project if you don't have a few days of class time to devote to it.

We began with research and rough drafts using the assignment sheet.  Each student got to pick a semi-broad topic that they could write 5 articles about.  We went to the library, and each student used a print resource, an online resource, and they were challenged to find a media resource, if possible.

Then, we transferred our drafts onto a single large piece of construction paper.  Some kids typed theirs at home and others hand wrote them.

We printed pictures (and cited our sources).  We cut.

We glued.

We made gorgeous covers.

We checked our assignment sheets to make sure we had everything that was required.

Then, we shared our magazines in Scoot fashion.  Everyone left their magazine at their desk, and we took some time scooting from desk to desk to read the magazines.  The kids LOVED reading them!

They brought sticky notes with them so that they could make kind comments on each other's magazines and also so that they could answer one of the comprehension questions the students had included.

They turned out so beautifully, and I loved giving the kids time to let their own creative side come out while fulfilling some our standards!

Update: You can now grab the assignment sheet, planning pages, graphic organizers, and rubrics for FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!  Click the image below for more information. 

Looking for even more Informational Text Resources and Activities?  Look no further!


  1. Holy cow, I love this idea!! We are in the middle of our text structures unit, and are just beginning a big four month long research project. This would be a perfect writing project to combine the two, and a great visual for the parent night where they share their projects. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I love this!! What an engaging way to get the kids applying text structure lessons. Fabulous, Mary, as always :)

    Teaching in Room 6

  3. What a great way to get the kids using the text features! And I love the idea of having them SCOOT to see each other's work. Thanks for sharing!

    The Craft of Teaching

  4. Great idea and applicable to so many things!

  5. I LOVE this idea!!! I was going to ask my students write in the different text structures tied into the Olympics this week and I will definitely do this with your magazine format. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    I adore your new blog design, it is gorgeous!

  6. LOVE your new design!!! SO SO pretty! And I love tying this idea into the Olympics - FABULOUS!!!

    Runde's Room

  7. This is a great idea! I love how you had the students create their informational text!!!!


  8. Mary,

    This looks like such a fun activity! I just finished using your Text Structure Task Cards in my 4th grade classroom. What a lifesaver! I mentioned how much I loved them on my blog today. :)

    Have a great week!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  9. Love this idea, and can adapt it for my 7th graders. Do you have a rubric that goes with it?

  10. Thank you for sharing. This is a great idea!

  11. We have been learning about the five different text features...and my students can NOT wait to make their magazine!!! Thank you SO much for sharing this. You totally inspired me and got me to be excited about a topic that i was putting off teaching because I felt that it was SUPER boring!!!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Shannon! I have to tell you...just yesterday, I was taking our magazines off the bulletin board, and one of my students said "OH, Mrs. M. that was my favorite project we've done!" Other kids chimed in and agreed with her. I hope your students love it just as much. :)

  12. Thanks so much for sharing this AWESOME project!!!!

  13. Ok! I am planning to do this 2nd quarter after we discover text structures in 1st quarter and remind ourselves of what we learned in 4th grade (I teach 5th). I have a few questions that I am struggling to figure out.
    1. How did you guide them to pick topics? Did you let them just pick out of thin air or did you give them guidelines?
    2. If you did this in class, what was your timeline? How long did this take? Was research done on their own?

    This project is incredible and I can't wait to tackle it! Thank you so much for sharing. This is an excellent assessment/final project to really determine if they understand the text structures!

  14. How did you assess this? Do you have a rubric available?

  15. Thank you for the great idea. We have just started working with our students on their text structures and they can't wait to start their magazines. I was wondering if you have a specific rubric for scoring these? Thanks for the wonderful resource!!

  16. My students are working on this now and loving it - so engaged!
    I'm also wondering about how to assess, is there a rubric?

  17. Good one and thanks a lot for sharing!

  18. Interesting topic shown here, i am now working on it regularly here and would say keep the future posts like this continuously Dance classes in Northeast Philadelphia

  19. Thanks Mary, very nice blog!
    I've been reading your articles and many tips share with my writers from assignmentemperor.