Can Be… Books by 2nd Graders

I’ve been sharing loads of poems by the students of Wealthy Elementary, but today, I want to share some nonfiction. The second grade wanted to write nonfiction books using my Can Be… mentor text project. I would only have two sessions with each class, one 45 minutes long and the other 30 minutes long. So the students had already done research on their chosen animal and created their list of facts before I met with them the first time.

That first session, I realized I had an issue in my directions. When I do these projects in person in a 3‑session visit, I get them started off on their research and sentences, and I help them create some “do” sentences. In other words, the kids need facts about what their topic does, not descriptive sentences about it. So, “A rabbit eats grass” works great. “Rabbits are hungry” doesn’t. But I hadn’t made that clear enough in my written directions. So a lot of students had a lot of sentences like, “Giraffes are tall.” Uh oh!

In that first session, we worked on creating our ‑er phrases. For the “do” sentences, it worked great, as always. But for the “Skunks are black and white” sentences, the teachers and I went around and helped kids turn them into “do” sentences. Which they then created ‑er phrases. One teacher said, as they left,  “I know we’re supposed to have all 10 ‑er phrases done by tomorrow for the second session, but I have some kids struggling” with those passive sentences. I assured her I would come ready to either work further on those passive sentences or move on to the fact boxes, which were the intended topic of our second session.

And I was. But, the teachers and kids came through. I checked with each teacher as classes arrived, and every one of them had figured out ways to convert their passive sentences. So, “Giraffes are tall” became “Giraffes can be African towers,” and “Bunnies are furry” became “Bunnies can be fur coat wearers.”

Awesome! We moved on to fact boxes, and practiced writing facts that “held hands” and connected with the ‑er sentence on that page.

And Stacey Goodman sent me some photos of her students’ work. Plus I took a few pictures in one or two classes as well. Enjoy!

2 Responses

    1. Thanks! I appreciated that the school was really focused on process OVER product, but it was fun to work with the 2nd graders to create a Can Be… product:>)

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