Sunday, November 7, 2010

Informational Text Writing--Teaching Leading Learning Leading Teaching...

My last post was about how my colleague Mr. A. and I were working on plans designed to raise the awareness and interest of our young writers in writing informational text. Since both of us had noticed how much our kids seemed drawn to informational text as readers, we were puzzled by the fact that the kids just didn't seem interested in writing it.

I have good news--not only is it working, but I was able to follow the lead of one of my writers and add to our original plans. I love when teaching and learning becomes teaching and learning and teaching and learning and teaching and learning....the teaching following and leading the learners who follow and lead the teaching. I'm pretty sure there's a cool graphic in that somewhere...

So here's the proof.

I'll start with the chart based on the original plan Mr. A. and I devised--remember that this was done over a period of a few days, not all once. You'll also have to forgive me for my lack of foresight, as I did not take a picture of the chart before what happened this week...but you'll get to see that part in a minute.

And here's what H. did in response. She remembered what we had read about ladybugs earlier this year, and she also carefully put each kind of information on its own page.
Ladybugs have spots on their wings.

Ladybugs can fly.

So far so good, right? Now, look what she did on the last page!

Ladybugs have two set of wings.
She used a diagram! Not only that, but it actually is purposeful--it helps the reader understand what she's trying to teach. In case you can't read her labels, the ones on the top and bottom say thin and the one in the middle says hard. And yes, that is something we read in a book about ladybugs (all the way back in August, so way to go on the long-term memory H.!) H. took what she was learning about informational text during writing minilessons and then went further. I can't be certain, but I'm guessing that after the minilesson where we used informational text to see how authors put one kind of information on a page, H. started to notice some other things those authors were doing.

And here's where the teaching follows the learning--I asked H. to share what she had done with the rest of our class, and we added to our chart on writing information books.

I could see the rest of the kids really thinking over what H. was showing them. We made sure to talk about how her diagram actually helps the reader--it's there for a reason, and not every illustration in an information book will use diagrams. S. piped up, "yeah, it might not help so that's not a reason to just do it."

I have a feeling this may lead somewhere...

1 comment:

  1. So glad you shared more about the nonfiction writing. I'm sharing your posts with a second grade teacher . . . we were just talking about where to go next. I think you offer a great direction.

    As a blogger, I've learned this from your post: When in doubt, blog a chart! :)

    the other ruth