This week, I was observing in a first grade classroom, and the teacher was asking if a story was fiction or non-fiction. First of all, the teacher said, "Fiction is when a story is true, and non-fiction is when a story is fantasy". (I am pretty sure she knows the difference, but just said it backwards.) I began to walk up quietly, because as an instructional coach, I need to correct inaccurate information. She called on her top student, and the student repeated it the same way the teacher presented it, to which the teacher replied, "That's correct". Uh oh! I whispered to the teacher, and asked her if I could teach the kids a little trick to remember fiction/non-fiction. I then showed the students the gesture for fiction, (3 fingers on the forehead like 3 eyeballs), because if someone had 3 eyeballs it would definitely be fiction, or make-believe! We laughed, and asked each other, "What is fiction?", and answered, "Fiction is when a story is made up, it is not real" (with accompanying gesture of 3 fingers on the forehead). Then, I proceeded to teach them the gesture for non-fiction, (2 fingers right below the eyes), because a real person has 2 eyes. We then moved on to ask, "What is non-fiction?", and answered "Non-fiction is when a story is real, not made up" (with accompanying gesture of 2 fingers below the eyes). I asked them if I could come back later and show them some pictures that would help them remember fiction and nonfiction, and we would play a game. They resoundingly responded "Yes!"
Later that day, I returned and brought the power pix for fiction, and non-fiction, and we played "Yes, No Way" and "QT". Oh, what fun!
This process took no more than 5 minutes each time, and the students got it!!!
I saw these students in line for lunch the next day, and they said, "Mrs. Weigel, I remember fiction and non-fiction" (with gestures).
I love my job!