It’s so straightforward and it makes such a neat little, instantly recognizable chart. As students progress through the grades, the CCSS directs students to read less fiction and more nonfiction.
In practice, it can be kind of a nightmare.
Does this mean nonfiction books? Magazines? Newspapers? It would be great if the content fit our social studies curriculum. Or our health curriculum. Or our science curriculum. Who is going to find the nonfiction resources that work for my grade level? Can the nonfiction resources be differentiated to match the variety of reading abilities in my classroom? Who is going to find these resources? And organize them? And pay for them?
Enter the humble eBin. Our school uses Readers Workshop as our reading curriculum and everyone is used to having sets of fiction at a variety of reading levels on the same theme or topic in those little plastic bins that are passed around from table group to table group. There was no budget to fill those little bins with nonfiction. So we decided to create the resources we needed that could be accessed electronically, for free. An eBin.
So what’s an eBin and what’s in it? An eBin is a Word document on a particular topic, say an endangered species, onto which is copied and pasted some or all of the following:
A basic description of African elephants and their habitat. A habitat map. A graph showing the decline of elephant populations in a particular area. A chart comparing elephant survival in zoos and in the wild. Photos with captions. A news article about a successful initiative to preserve elephant habitat. A news article about an unsuccessful attempt to preserve elephant habitat. More photos with captions. A link to a short National Geographic film clip about the social behavior of elephants. A link to an interview with an elephant scientist. A link to a slide show on the reasons elephants are hunted in the wild. Another short video link. Two or three infographics about elephants. A link to a website promoting elephant conservation. You get the idea – cram that eBin with information about elephants at a variety of reading levels and in a variety of formats. Cite your source for each item in the eBin and be sure you have permission to use it.
Put your eBin on your library webpage so that it can be accessed from anywhere. Make more eBins. Bring a class to the library to use computers to access the eBins or take a set of tablets to the classroom. Use the eBins to teach a variety of nonfiction reading lessons. Prod students to develop a thesis based on their eBin reading. Have students create their own eBins. Ask them to justify the sources they used to create their eBins.
Visit this link to see some eBins. http://library-page.whitmanms.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/integrated_home.phtml?gid=2273481&sessionid=1ef4aef72c9c07358d8f54954fe6e112
Make your own that are even better.
Read more nonfiction. Not so hard after all.
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