The next day, we discussed how we may all be experts on different things, but there’s two things we are all experts on: our school and our classroom. My mini lessons for this unit focused on our school and when my mini lesson was over, my students wrote about their classroom. I taught them what Four Square notes are and we took notes on our school and then I sent them off to take notes on our classroom.
Ahh, informative writing! Writing is one of my favorite times of the school day and I absolutely love teaching informative writing. One reason it’s one of my favorites is because first graders absolutely love to learn facts about real things. They also love to share what they learned too. I also find this writing easier to teach than narrative or opinion writing, but that might just be me.
My firsties really love animals. They love to learn about animals, look at pictures about animals, etc. So, here’s how I taught them informative writing this year:
First, I exposed them to the many nonfiction texts in our classroom. They’ve had access to these texts all year long, but we have never really talked about them. They explored ocean books, bug books, dinosaur books, etc. They were filled with pure excitement and joy when looking through these books.
We discussed nonfiction writing and how the author is an expert or becomes an expert on a particular topic… So much that they can write about it. Here’s the anchor chart we created:
It cracks me up what some of my kids came up with. As you see, Blake is an expert on his brother whining a lot 😉
Did you notice this little sweetie wrote “and it’s filled with love.”?! All the heart eyes for this girl!
Then, we used our four square to create our graphic organizer and our stories!
After this week, we did a group informative writing piece on polar bears. I modeled and my firsties did all the pieces with me. Then, they wrote their stories on their own, using the graphic organizer.
The following week, they got to choose from four different animals: sloth, great white shark, meerkat, and cheetah. They went through the whole process by themselves, with guidance from me.
Here’s a closer look at what’s included in the informative writing unit! My first graders absolutely loved it! Click on any of the pictures to take you to the resource.
How do you teach informative writing?