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Promoting Standards and Thinking Skills

The key to an effective curriculum is identifying the big ideas and addressing the essential questions students face as they mature as information scientists.

Use award-winning websites. Start with the webby winners. Ask students to identify the "big ideas" found in the website Make it Right.

As young people build skills, it's important to recognize that children mature at different speeds as they move through the grades. Spend time talking with peers about what's happening before they reach your classroom, as well as after they leave. Examine the standards of all grade levels to see where your activities fit into the big picture of the child's maturation.

For instance, examine the standards related to structure of nonfiction and compare each grade level:

Also, think of ways to differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs and interests of children. Some of your children will be working at grade level while others may be below or above.

Provide tools such as Inspiration or Webspiration (the web-based version). These tools include templates that scaffold learning.

In this section, we'll explore a dozen nonfiction skills and associated standards.

  1. Identify Structure of Nonfiction
  2. Analyze Genre of Nonfiction
  3. Critique Nonfiction
  4. Generate and Address Questions
  5. Identify Main Idea
  6. Apply Prior Knowledge
  7. Identify Relationships and Make Comparisons
  8. Solve Problems and Draw Conclusions
  9. Make Predictions
  10. Use Sequence and Order
  11. Follow Instructions
  12. Find Meaning

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