Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nonfiction Writing

We just finished writing biographies about classmates and are diving head first into more nonfiction writing - Informational Texts. Yesterday we discussed a very important word: Research. We made an anchor chart to discuss what research was. For our texts students will write about an animal. We will use 3 sources: nonfiction books, the internet, and an encyclopedia. We also brainstormed sub-topics that to research for our animals. 
 Then I began modeling the informational text writing process myself. My text is going to be about Jaguars. I got to see lots of Jaguars when I traveled to Belize last spring and I think they are pretty cool!
 I have showed the kiddos how to use each source to get notes. I simply take 4 pieces of notebook paper and write one sub-topic at the top of each page. Then whenever I come across a fact that I want to remember I make a bullet and write it down. By the end of yesterday I read information aloud/showed it on the document camera and they were able to tell me facts and what topic each fact should go with.

It's always interesting to hear where they think we should look online for research. Most of them said "Google". While I'm definitely a big fan of googling myself I want them to learn to use information from reliable sources. Our school subscribes to Pebble Go, an online nonfiction listening library, so we used that. I highly recomend Pebble Go as it is an awesome way to expose young children to nonfiction that they will understand. My kids love watching the short "video" of each animal along with listening to the sounds.

Next I showed how to write an opening paragraph and then copy down 3 facts for each topic. My kiddos were shocked at how simple it really was to make their plan! I also had them pick a few key vocabulary words for each page and think about a text feature that would make the page more interesting.

The planning page is available for free on TPT. I recommend copying it onto 11x17 paper as it gives the kiddos more room to write.
Today my assistant and I were very pleased at how engaged my kiddos were during my writing mini-lesson. They loved helping me find facts from my sources, pick the 3 facts to use for my plan and come up with ideas for the title. I'm really excited to see them write their own informational texts!


  1. This is great! We are in our animal unit right now and doing animal research too!

    Thank you for this awesome *freebie*! I have 2 butterfly math *freebies* you can come grab. =)

    Heather's Heart

  2. u r amazing! i dont see how u have time to get to everything in one day! Would you mind sharing your classroom schedule with me?

  3. Hey Julie! I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I featured your math work stations set up on my blog. I am going to try out using math stations in my classroom this coming school year. The idea sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.