I began this writing unit by directing the kids' attention to the nonfiction section of our classroom library. I pointed out that none of "their" nonfiction books could be found on the shelves and that the only way to fix this problem was to begin writing nonfiction of their own. I used this as a springboard to encourage the children to choose nonfiction topics on which they are already an expert, and with some scaffolding, the writing began!
During the second minilesson, the kids each chose one nonfiction book from their book box to use as a tool to study another nonfiction author, noticing the interesting things they do to teach the reader. The kids quickly noticed many interesting ways to teach a reader about a topic, including the use of diagrams, using a table of contents, including a glossary and bold faced words, and including fun fact bubbles. I encouraged the students to use these ideas, to borrow these "craft moves" in their own nonfiction writing. I was absolutely amazed at how quickly the kids were able to include these sophisticated text features in their own pieces!
After several days of crafting nonfiction books, I introduced the Information Writing Checklist to the children. This is a wonderful tool that teaches the kids to reflect on the nonfiction writing they have completed and to set a goal for themselves moving forward. During this lesson, each student created a nonfiction writing goal and created a plan in reaching their goal. Be sure to ask your child about their personal writing goal.
Sharing nonfiction work with a writing partner.
Adding nonfiction ideas to our Tiny Topic Notebooks.
Information Writing Checklist