6+ Engaging Non-Fiction Lessons

We're all pressed for time - so let's talk about some single lessons or short mini-units you can use to bring more nonfiction into your classroom this week.

1. Argumentative Reading, Writing, and Debate
Aside from the NYT's Education section and all that it offers, I'm obsessed with the Room for Debate section. It's awesome for getting short doses of multiple perspectives articles that you could work into a variety of units, topics, and standards! (In fact, they were the inspiration for my Debate unit.)
Room for Debate
Image Source
2. Using NF in a Literature Unit
There are a ton of ways to grab a relevant article, book, or textbook excerpt into a literature unit - the literary time period, the author, historical context, connections to current events, etc. - but not everyone has the time to find the right resource and build a lesson around it.

Check out some of my pre-made lessons for The Giver, The Outsiders, A Christmas Carol, To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo & Juliet, and Of Mice and Men - more titles are coming this spring and summer!
To Kill a Mockingbird Non-Fiction Reading Activity


3. Current Events Lessons Straight to your Inbox (Core Stand)
With a free account, they will email you a free current events article and a graphic organizer to go with it EVERY WEEK. This makes an "article of the week" system easy!

Core Stand Current Events Lessons
Sign up for their Weekly Newsletter for articles!
4. Mini-Units in Disguise
Sometimes I sneak in non-fiction articles or book excerpts without announcing it with a megaphone - instead of calling it a non-fiction unit (and letting them draw premature conclusions about how not-fun it could be), it's more fun to just focus on the topic (like my Snow Days mini-unit).

The same goes for my Infographics Project - students focus on graphic design and the content itself before realizing how much non-fiction reading and research they're doing!

Make Your Own Infographic Non-Fiction Project

5. YALSA's Non-fiction Awards for Teens
The same wonderful people who make fiction lists also have non-fiction awards (and finalists) for us to think about! (Why not build a mock finalist list in your classroom the way primary classes do for the Newbury and Caldecott winners?)

YALSA's Non-Fiction Awards for Teens
Click here to see the lists!
6. Proving Relevance for ELA
Don't lecture to kids why something is important - let third-party experts do the talking for you. I use non-fiction articles in my Why Grammar? and Why Poetry? mini-units so that students hear someone OTHER than the teacher affirming that ELA really matters!

Why Grammar? Argumentative Essay for Middle and High School ELA


Have another favorite way to sneak non-fiction into your curriculum? Let me know in the comments! :-)

1 comment

  1. As a 7th grade ELA teacher, love all of these ideas! I will pin this post for future use :) thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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