Linking Fiction and Nonfiction

I love Diigo. It’s one of my top 10 tools that I use every day. I use it to tag/bookmark and share websites; to highlight, annotate and share articles; and as a constant flow of resources from the network of other users that I follow, and groups to which I belong. So when I came across this video from Mr. Barnes explaining how his students were using Diigo, it caught my attention.

Mr. Barnes’ students are using Diigo to link fiction and nonfiction reading in a collaborative space. Students tag nonfiction online articles that can be linked to the fiction book that they are currently reading. Students include an annotation that summarizes the nonfiction article and references the fiction book. These tagged articles are shared with the class in the teacher created Diigo group. In this video, Mr. Barnes gives directions to his students on what to do.

I like this strategy because it use one of my favorite tools 😉 and addresses Common Core requirements.

Standards require aligned ELA curriculum materials in grades 6–12 to include a blend of literature (fiction, poetry, and drama) and a substantial sampling of literary nonfiction, including essays, speeches, opinion pieces, biographies, journalism, and historical, scientific, or other documents written for a broad audience.

How does what they have just read compare to what they have learned before? Drawing upon relevant prior knowledge, how does the text expand or challenge that knowledge? As students apply knowledge and concepts gained through reading to build a more coherent understanding of a subject, productive connections and comparisons across texts and ideas should bring students back to careful reading of specific texts.

I see this strategy as a natural way to incorporate more literary nonfiction in English classes. I enjoy reading historical fiction and sometimes have questions come to mind about the historical accuracy of some characters or incidents included in a story, which results in a quick Google search for the facts.

The teacher could take the concept one step further by collaborating with a class in a different location. I think the students would enjoy and be motivated by seeing the articles and annotations from students outside their class.



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