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Categoryinformational writing

A Peek Into the Start of an Information Unit

When we show students examples of what they should be creating before and during their writing, we are, in many ways, providing them a figurative ride up the chairlift with many good skiers in front of them. In two separate classrooms, I introduced an information writing unit with a classroom teacher with a pile of books and writing samples and the students sitting in a circle. “Your job,” I said, “is to look at these books and pieces like writers. What did the author do? How did they do it?”

On Rethinking the Publishing of Information Writing

When it comes to writing, a need for writers to have a clear vision is one of the big reasons we provide mentor texts in writing workshop.  Kids need to see not only a goal or end toward which they may aspire, but I would add that they need to be provided models to become inspired.  For we all know the effect inspiration can have on anything we are up to in life, right? It matters.  It helps. And certainly, writing is no exception. Read on to learn about why making a big deal of publishing informational writing is worth considering…

No More Cookie-Cutter Teaching

As educators, we need to take ownership of our teaching.  If you think your tried and true lessons are lackluster, change them.  Start with looking at your students and asking yourself, what do my students need? What are their strengths? Next, look at the VERBS in your standards. Precisely what is it your students need to master in this unit?  Finally, embrace the art of teaching, follow their lead.

Addressing Knowledge Issues in Informational Writing

If we do not possess a good amount of background knowledge, if we are not interested in the topic, and we were not given a choice, our writing typically suffers. Lack of knowledge in particular, as Mary Ehrenworth suggests, manifests quickly as writing weakness and writing problems. As writing workshop teachers, how might we think about and address these challenges?