The 3rd grade nonfiction template that I blogged about earlier in the year went really well. Student books like about Pythons and Michael Jordan are evidence that the template provided valuable scaffolding and did not overwhelm student agency. The success of the third grade books inspired us to adapt a version for the second grade. Our second grade students are new to docs and their first research project (ever) is a bird unit. The newness of both Docs and online research meant that the template had to be simpler and more guided. Teachers had a choice between two template formats: a comparison between two birds and a focused book on one bird.
Like the 3rd grade templates, the second grade file relies on Google Drawings for text features. Instead of having students choose the features that support the text, the second grade book has diagrams in place for simplicity. Other elements like the dedication and copyright page are also removed to streamline the book.
The books came out terrific. Students created hand drawn illustrations which were scanned in for use in the diagrams. Students had a field day using drawings to creatively design their books, I personally love the life cycle drawings. Although the second grade templates are more structured than the third grade, students were still able to make them their own. I guess that’s my litmus test for a template - whether or not students have room for ownership. Take a look at our galleries below. Leave a comment or question for our authors if the mood strikes you!