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A Teacher's Take: 2nd Graders Use Whooo Knew?

It's always an honor to learn that teachers use my books in their classrooms. I recently connected with 2nd grade teacher, Therese Keegan, on Twitter. Her class used my book Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls to research and study owls. They really are celebrating curiosity!
Therese shares the teaching points of reading nonfiction with her 2nd grade class. I love how her students notice, learn, and wonder throughout their readings of Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls.

Take it away, Therese!

Becoming Experts: Reading Nonfiction 2nd Grade Teaching Points

In 2nd Grade, we are studying nonfiction to become experts. For this unit, we have been using the book Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls. The class has loved diving into the incredible photographs and enjoying the cartoon-like Whooo Knew? fact boxes on each page to learn even more about the text. The interactive and scientific challenges for the students throughout are so engaging, especially studying the owl's pellet to learn what the owl had for dinner! My students were absolutely intrigued by this and some thankful to not be getting their hands dirty while studying the pellets! 

Each page gave us new ideas and understandings, but it also prompted us to think deeply and gave us some questions to further develop our quest to become owl experts. We started our study of the book by noticing and learning. We looked closely at the different parts of the text: using the pictures and words together to learn more, and as we learned more, we wondered more and were able to think about questions.

Each day we take a sneak peek before reading, looking at the pictures and the fact boxes to get our brains ready to do some deep thinking. We stop after each part and ask, “What is this part teaching me?” As we read, we also think about how the book is organized and how each part goes together.

As we delve deeper into the book, we began to use the lingo all about owls and began using those keywords to stop and jot. This has helped us be able to chat about the topic with our friends and families. When we came to tricky or unfamiliar words we would use the context and what we already learned about the topic to clarify and figure it out. 

This is my favorite photo in the whole book because that is NOT a tongue!

We are looking forward to reading through our book so we can walk the walk and teach others all we’ve learned by studying this great book, Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls and using lingo to sound like experts! Next, we hope to study a collection of books about owls. We’ll stretch our thinking to notice similarities and differences that will help us discuss how information connects across books. 

Second graders wanted to share some thoughts, too: 

Jackson said, “It teaches how the birds are communicating and how they find their prey.”

Michael stated, “I like how it teaches about the owls' glowing eyes and how when it is bright during the day the pupils get smaller and in the dark the pupil gets bigger because it needs more light to see in the dark.” 

Matthew shared, “I like how it teaches us where the owl gets its prey, what the prey is, and about how it spits it out in a pellet where you can see the parts of the prey that were not digested like the fur, teeth, and bones.”

Cleo said, “It teaches about the different species and how different species make different sounds.” 

Madilynn shared, “I liked learning about how the owls twist their heads around to see where their prey is because they can’t move their eyes and they have 14 neck bones, but we only have 7.”

Nicholas said, “I like how it says that, ‘I don’t want you to see me, but you may hear me…’” 

Taylor shared, “I liked learning about how different species make different sounds so you can tell them apart. This made us wonder about if it is easier for certain specials to find food based on those sounds they make?”

Grace stated, “I like how the book shares about where owls live.”

Damian stated, “It teaches us about what owls can do and that the Great Horned Owl is the ruler of North America’s sky.”

Alva said, “I like how the photographs and the illustrations have more information. That helps me to learn a lot more on each page.”



Thank you so much, Therese! And big thanks also go to her students for sharing their thoughts about using my book. They really are curious kids!

Those students really showed off their expertise with those statements, didn't they? That excites me! Now that Therese has shared such detail about how her students are using Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls in the classroom, I hope you've been inspired to do this (even if you don't teach 2nd grade). Maybe this spring your students will want to become frog experts with Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs. (affiliate links)

I really want readers to celebrate curiosity. Every book in The Truth About series has loads of back matter so readers can learn more after the story is over. (My other books do, too.) The hardcover editions of The Truth About series also include a poster featuring even more cool information and beautiful images.

It's truly an honor and delight to know my book is making such an impact with these 2nd graders. Thank you, Therese Keegan for sharing! You can follow Therese on Twitter @Keegan_1stGrade. And if you haven't followed me yet, I'm @AnnetteWhipple.

Are you looking for more to do with your students? Check out these owl STEM activities, owl crafts, and other owl books!

I love how Therese used Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls to help her students become experts. But don't forget to read nonfiction aloud to your students just for fun, too!

If you have used one of my books in your classroom, I'd love to hear about it! Was it direct instruction? A read aloud? Or just a short introduction? Leave a comment, email me at annettemwhippleATgmailDOTcom, or tag me on social media. (Replace the capitalized words with symbols.)

Want to share what you're doing here on the blog? We can talk about that, too!
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  1. What a great job this teacher did helping her students examine nonfiction texts, and I could tell from their comments how much they enjoyed and learned from Whoo Knew! My 3rd grade art class has been using Whoo Knew to learn more about owls as we've looked carefully to draw them! I really appreciate all its photos and helpful information. They were especially interested to learn that owls need to turn their heads so much because their eyes can't move. And the owl camouflaged against the tree amazed them!

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy! Please tell your students that I also love the camouflaged owl! My other favorite picture is "What's for Dinner?" THAT is not a tongue!