Monday, December 14, 2015

Informational Writing: All About Animals

How do you do informational writing in your classroom? Do you teach it throughout the year? Or all within a couple months time period?

I go in-depth about the process we use in our classroom to learn how to write expository or informational writing in a blog post on What I Have Learned. We use animals as our topic and study each animal for about a week. At the end of the week, students write a paragraph about a particular attribute of the animal.

Informational Writing Process

Here is the basic process we use.

  • Day 1: Gather Information
  • Day 2: Work with the Information
  • Day 3, 4, & 5: Write About the Animal

You can pretty much see each part of the process in the above photos or go to the blog to see more photos and detail.

It’s a pretty simple, but repetitive process to give students experience with each stage of the process. We research and gather facts about the animal by reading articles and watching videos about it. To work with the information, I type out the facts students discovered in their research and students sort the facts into categories. Finally, we write about the animal using the fact sort as a reference to help organize our writing.

Each week, I’ll do mini-lessons on different aspects of the writing process, like writing an introduction, organizing the facts, expanding sentences, etc. However, the process is the same each week.  You can read more about the mini-lessons by clicking on the links at the end of this blog post.

At the end of our unit, students have a full animal book that we then publish and send home with parents. One of the animals that we have done in the past has been reindeer / caribou.

Animal Articles

I also have a variety of nonfiction articles and QR codes to videos that I use with students to help them research and gather information.  I've developed a slew of articles that are available on TpT individually, by habitat, and as a bundle.  Articles for African Animals, Rainforest Animals, Coral Reef Animals, Life Cycle Animals, and Antarctic Animals are available.

The Caribou article is FREE for you. If you’ve already taught about caribou this season, you can file it away for next year.  Included is a two-page article with visuals, a duplicate one-page article with no visuals, QR Codes and a fact sort.

Since developing this unit, Informational Writing has been one of my favorite to teach students.  I love seeing them discover new facts about animals and I love seeing their writing develop over the course of the unit.


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