Non-Fiction Guru!

Having students answer questions about a text is one thing, but having them generate their OWN questions is another story! Fortunately, kids are naturally curious little creatures, so usually once they get going with asking questions, they can’t ask ENOUGH. This, of course, could be a positive thing or a negative thing, depending on the topic they begin asking questions about. HA! Anyway, I love, love, love teaching the questioning strategy with non-fiction texts. The beautiful photographs, awesome diagrams, and cool captions always leave us wanting to know MORE.


Here are a few fun ideas I use when teaching the questioning strategy with a non-fiction text: Create a “Wonder Wall” in your classroom. This can be done on a bulletin board or just a little space in the classroom. If your students come across an unfamiliar vocabulary word or they are wondering about something and can’t find the answer, they can write the question on the Wonder Wall. Then, you can choose one Wonder Wall question a day and find the answer to the question as a class! I will share pictures this week of our classroom Wonder Wall! Display a Target/Wal-Mart toy ad and ask students to turn and talk about something they saw. Most often, we notice the photographs first! Discuss how the photographs of the toys capture our attention and keep us wanting to know more about the toy. Make the connection between photographs in the ad and photographs in books. Explain that they are the first things we see and help us generate questions. image

Invite “Question Mark” to your lesson. You can read the letter from him (found HERE), which explains who he is and why he is so important. Then, students can complete their own “Question Mark” craft and write question words on him. This is something that they can keep in their book bins or desks and refer to later. So cute and simple, right?

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Use this “Why Ask Questions” poster to help students understand the reason behind the importance of asking

questions!  Then, provide students with their own texts, like these ones below. Prior to giving them the text, I cover all of the words with a Post-It note, and have them generate questions based JUST on the pictures. I have them record their questions on the “I Wonder” side of an I Wonder/I Learned graphic organizer. Then, we reveal the words, read about the topic, and determine if our questions we asked were answered in the text. I explain that sometimes our questions are NOT answered, which then means we have to look elsewhere (another text, an online database, etc.) to find our answers. This mini-article that I wrote is about Red Eyed Tree Frogs!     image image

This one is all about lions!


This one is all about animal teeth (SO COOL!).


And, this one is all about bats!


After they record all of the things they learned on the “I Learned” side, I give them a comprehension sheet to complete all about the article. They are not asking the questions this time about the topic, but instead, they are answering questions! This is a great assessment tool to see if they understand what they were reading.



These question cards are perfect to have handy during small group instruction or at a location in the classroom that your students can locate easily. Just laminate them and place them on a ring.

image These are a list of great non-fiction texts for questioning. I also provided some additional graphic organizers to use when asking questions.



This is another simple way to assess whether or not students understand HOW to ask a question. Have students look closely at the picture and then write a question they have about it on the “Snapshot Questions” page.

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And finally, these are some fun extension activities on asking questions. Silent I-Spy: One student chooses an object in the classroom and does not tell anyone what it is. The other students have to WRITE questions in order to guessthe mystery object.


Swip-Swap: Students bring in 1 item from home and swip-swap it with another student. Have students look closely at their partner’s object and then write a question they have about it. Then, have students take turns asking each other the questions they wrote. They can record their partner’s answers next to the question.

 All of these activities align with the following Common Core Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. You can find these activities at my shop by clicking HERE or on the preview below:


P.S.- Notice anything different around here? I’ll be back tomorrow to share all about my blog re-design and the incredible lady (and friend!) who designed it! P.S.S. – I just posted the fiction version of this packet. You can find it here. I’ll post about it this week! P.S.S.S.- Leave me a comment below with your e-mail. The first three people to leave a comment will get this non-fiction packet for free!

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Rachel October 27, 2013, 7:37 pm

    Would love one!

  • Susan Moran October 27, 2013, 7:38 pm

    Love you and your new blog and THIS pack!!!


  • Geri October 27, 2013, 7:39 pm

    Already bought the nonfiction one, I'd love to get the fiction packet. 🙂

  • Unknown October 27, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Would love it!

  • The Brown-Bag Teacher October 27, 2013, 7:41 pm

    I am loving your new design – congrats! 🙂


  • Julie Keohohou October 27, 2013, 7:51 pm

    This is great! I would love a set!

  • Ivette Furbish October 27, 2013, 8:19 pm

    Love all your products! I need frequent buyer points!

  • Kim Schoeler October 27, 2013, 8:19 pm

    The questioning units – fiction and non-fiction are on my wish list. Just waiting for payday!

  • Lyndsay Freed October 27, 2013, 8:32 pm

    I was just starting to plan the start of my non-fiction unit today! This would be perfect! Thanks so much for posting. I would love a copy.

  • Lori Rosenberg October 27, 2013, 8:44 pm

    Lyndsey! I just drooled all over myself while admiring this new pack and your new blog design! I really did! I love, love, love them both!
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

  • Caitlin Ramseyer October 27, 2013, 9:24 pm

    LOVE your new blog design and am so excited to use this pack this week. I can't wait to check our the fiction version. I always look forward to seeing what you create next, thank you!


  • Sarah Paul October 27, 2013, 10:01 pm

    Lyndsey, this looks amazing!!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  • Sydney Cohn October 27, 2013, 10:33 pm

    Love your new blog design and this packet looks great. We've been doing Informational texts, so I can't wait to check it out more.
    – Sydney

  • Nicole October 27, 2013, 10:39 pm

    I would LOVE this pack! 🙂

  • Nicole October 27, 2013, 10:39 pm

    I would LOVE this pack! 🙂

  • Allison October 27, 2013, 10:57 pm

    Hate that I didn't make top 3 comments. I love all your things!!! Guess I will soon be adding two more of your files to my tpt purchases.

  • Rosy Patel October 28, 2013, 12:02 am

    This packet looks absolutely amazing – we are starting nonfiction this week too. I accidentally posted/commented on FB instead of your blog earlier today. Wish I could win too. Great product! –Rosy

  • Christine October 28, 2013, 1:29 am

    What a fantastic packet! Can't wait for the nonfiction one! Hope I will have a chance to win that!

  • Courtney October 28, 2013, 1:48 am

    Bummer! I want this so bad!!! Darn the Walking Dead for distracting me and not commenting sooner…… 🙁 🙂

  • Rachel Wilser October 28, 2013, 1:52 am

    I LOVE your new blog designs, and I think this packet looks fantastic! So full of brilliantly great ideas!

  • Teacher and Life Long Learner October 28, 2013, 5:54 pm

    It is through these activities that make learning exciting and fun! Thank you!

  • Nikki Carel November 19, 2013, 2:36 am

    So sad I didn't see this sooner!! I would have loved to earned this packet. I am just now starting my nonfiction unit with my firsties and they would LOVE these activities! I might just have to put it in my wish list of things that just keeps growing!
    Thank you for making such quality work….I just don't know why we smart teachers didn't figure this out sooner and stop paying for overpriced teacher resource books a long time ago!

  • l December 1, 2013, 5:32 pm

    this is my first time purchasing a TPT unit/activity and it is so worth it! this is amazing and has an amazing number of resources-thank you!