Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Non-fiction Writing: Just Add Books

We've been moving right along with Writing Workshop this year!  Most years it seems like we get interrupted with tons of snow days and other things.  This year, we are feeling right on track and even somewhat AHEAD!  This past week, we wrapped up All About Reports.  These reports are such fun! I love that the kids can work in groups and share ideas together.  They love the freedom to work in groups and really do well when given the opportunity.  *This will only work really well if your classroom management is on point!  We've had experience with non-fiction text features earlier the year, so the kids know about them.

Prior to starting this unit, you will want to have several "groups" of animal books collected.  I have 21 students this year (20 of whom would be working on this project), so I decided to go with 5 groups of 4.  I began by going through my classroom library's "nonfiction" bucket and pulling books that I have a lot of...I found that I had many shark, owl, and cheetah books.  I then went to the public library and collected more shark, owl, and cheetah books, as well as some horse books and penguin books.  You want to choose as many "groups" as you can because you don't want 6-7 kids working on a project in one group...that is TOO many!  I like to stick with 3-4 in my groups.  Below is an outline of how the week goes!  I hope you find it helpful.

Day 1: Choosing Groups & Browsing: You can have your kids choose their groups like I do, or you can assign groups.  I let them choose, but I draw sticks.  I begin by labeling a poster with the 5 animal group names.  Then I draw sticks randomly and the kids tell me which group they want to be in.  The stick method helps eliminate them trying to get in groups with their best friends.  Once a group is full {4}, I announce that it's closed and they need to choose a different group. I let me kids browse their animal books in their groups.  They also work on their covers on the first day.

Day 2:  Schema Activation: The kids work collectively to write down things they "already know" about their animals on the two schema pages.  This helps get their little minds thinking.  PS-I love doing this as a warm up for any topic/lesson!

Day 3:  Diagram:  Next is the diagram page!  Many books that I find from the library include diagrams, but some do not.  The kids know to draw and label as much as they can.  They also get to color if they finish in time.

Day 4:  Facts:  This is where the kids write their actual "reports."  They write about what they've learned.  I help guide them through this the first time through.  The most important thing here is that they do not copy from books.  They write facts about what they learned.  *I didn't manage to snap a p photo of these; I had a fellow teacher observing me that day and didn't want to be taking pictures!

Day 5: Glossary: The students select a few "important" words to write as their glossary words.  They are allowed to use a glossary that they find in the back of their books, but I encourage them to use their own words if possible.  

To grab this great unit {How-To/Procedural Writing is ALSO INCLUDED!}, click below!  I also have a bundle that includes non-fiction text features for a discounted price.  Enjoy!




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