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Writing Informational Text -- Step by Step!!


My students are having so much fun with our informational writing unit and they are learning so much.  The process we are using has really helped them to organize their writing and has given them a much better understanding of non-fiction text structures (which has also helped them with comprehension of non-fiction text).   I am so excited about this unit that I wanted to blog about it:

Here are the basic steps we have followed:

1.   We started by making a list of "expert topics" or topics they could write about without doing any research.



2.   Then after much discussion and deliberation, they chose a topic they knew a lot about, cared about and would be interesting to others.

3.  Then they spent time breaking our topic down into 3-5 subtopics, that would ultimately become the "chapters" in their books.


4.  Next students write out a table of contents.  They tried to think of clever ways to write the headings on their contents page so they would capture the attention of a reader.  So instead of "What Dogs Eat" they might name their chapter, "Dinner Time!"


5.  After that, students worked on writing an introduction for their books.  We reviewed how to write an introduction that introduces the topic while also captivating the reader.  As part of the introduction, they made a list of special vocabulary words they would like to include in their books (they will make them "bold" within the text).

6.  Next came our "descriptive" chapter.  Students chose a chapter from their table of contents that would be best written with a descriptive structure.  They then did a web as a pre-writing activity before beginning their draft.  During the several days that we worked on our descriptive chapters, students also practiced writing "partner sentences" to make their writing more clear and descriptive.


7. Next comes the "sequential" chapter.  Students chose a chapter from their table of contents that would be best suited to a sequential structure.  They then did either a timeline or a flowchart as a pre-writing activity before writing out a draft.



8.  Then they chose a chapter that would work well with a compare/contrast structure.  They worked on either a venn diagram or a t-chart for pre-writing before writing out a draft.



9.  All along the way they have been doing sketches or draft illustrations to include in their books.


10.  For their last 1-2 chapters, students will choose any of the three structures we have previously used to build their draft.

11.  We will finish up with a conclusion.

After we spend a few days editing and revising our work, and adding some fancy illustrations, diagrams and photos, the students will end up with their very own published book!!


They are really loving this unit...they literally cheer when writing time rolls around (at the very end of the day).  If you are interested in doing this unit with your students, you can get all of the drafting pages,  teacher examples (including a full sample text), and quick and dirty mini-lessons in my Writing Informational Text Resource Pack which you can pick up at my TpT store...it happens to be ON SALE!! 


Have a terrific weekend!!

11 comments

  1. I am lucky enough to have this pack and this post makes me want to hurry up and teach it NOW instead of waiting till it rolls around in our curriculum like I am supposed to!

    I love the way this makes the students expand their thinking/writing past the old, "First you feed your dog. Then you play with your dog...The End!"

    Thank you again for such a valuable resource, Kathy!

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  3. Thanks for the detailed post! I am looking forward to using this soon. I am your newest follower and love your blog"

    Joanne
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  4. Wow; my teachers really need this. Wonderful step-by-step examples!
    Thank you.

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  5. Thank you for sharing such a detail look at your informational text unit. My students have enjoyed this unit so much.

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  6. I really love all this hope it makes people and teachers learn from here

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  7. Thank you for sharing this! I am tutoring twin 3rd Graders and I usually teach middle school, so this was helpful to me in our informational text practice.

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  8. Great post. Makes me want to rush right out and go to TeacherpayTeacher and get the Informational text material. Thanks.

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