Thursday, January 9, 2014

Informational Writing for Young Learners

Hey yall! My name is Natalie and I blog over at Teachery Tidbits.

I'm also a 1st grade teacher in sunny Augusta, Georgia....well, most days anyway! Definitely not this week....nope, this week we had the coldest day since 1970! Not my favorite...
I'm so excited to be apart of this awesome new blog! I hope that you all are as impressed with the posts as I have been. My Dropbox is getting larger by the day and I've found some great new ideas!
Today I wanted to talk to you about teaching informational writing. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching informational writing! And my kiddos love it, too! Which means they work really hard, learn a ton, and are super win!
I like to have my kiddos write one really great informational writing each month. It usually takes us about a week or so to perfect it. We spend the rest of the month working on narratives, how-to's, and persuasive writing.
Each month, we choose a different animal to learn about. This helps us bring in those science standards as well! The animals will usually coordinate with the month or season, such as writing about bats in October and turkeys in November. December is usually reindeer {caribou} and January is always favorite!
Here is how we break down our week of informational writing:
Day 1: Read lots of informational texts on chosen animal and research animal on computers. We always take notes as we're reading!

Day 2: Complete some form of a graphic organizer {or two!} to get our information in order. This can vary from month to month. One month we may use a can, have, are chart, another month we may use a KWL chart, and another month we may just use a simple bubble map! I don't stress about having my kiddos write in complete sentences on these organizers....just quick little facts!

Day 3: Brainstorm some opening/closing sentences for our writing. We usually do this whole group, as some of my kiddos still struggle with this. We'll come up with 4-5 good sentences for each and they just choose the one they want to use. The students also begin their actual writing on this day.
Day 4: Write! They use their opening/closing sentences and their organizers to find facts. This is where they turn those quick little facts into complete sentences. I start pulling kiddos to meet with me so we can go over their wording, spelling, punctuation, etc. These writing conferences usually last between 2-3 minutes per students.
Day 5: Edit and rewrite. They write their neat and final copy {usually on some cute paper I've downloaded from TPT} and students that finish early get to create a fun craft to go with their writing! Again, the craft is usually something I've gathered from all the amazing teacher/bloggers out there. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

Here are some examples of my the turkey writing we did in November.

I have two different animal informational writing packs in my store that my kiddos absolutely love!
Any of you getting ready to study penguins? We sure are! You might want to head on over and like my FB page....there just may be a little penguin freebie for ya! Hint: check under the Fan Freebies tab :)

Enjoy the rest of your week, yall!