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Determining What’s Important When Writing Information

Subject:

Language Arts  

Grades:

4, 5  

Materials:

  • Books, articles, magazines, etc. that relates to student’s topic of interest
  • Students past notes from the previous research sessions
  • “Teaching Booklet” (8” x “11 construction paper booklet containing about 12 pages folded and stapled)
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Crayon

Focus (Aim):

How do we become specialists of our favorite topic?

Objectives: At the end of the lesson, student will be able to…

  • Choose and break down important information to the topic
  • Write an organized informational piece/book
  • Use nonfiction features

 Motivation:

Discuss the differences between nonfiction and a fiction book.  List the features of a nonfiction book and discuss purpose of each feature.  Look through each of nonfiction books to see examples for each of the features.  Then review the past notes from the previous session and  they talk about their discoveries they learned so far compare to the previous day or week of working on the research project. 

Mini-Lesson:

Tell the students that they will be a specialist of their topic and they will create a “teaching booklet” to teach their audience.  Point out how nonfiction writers used headings to help them break down and contain the important information of what they wanted the readers to know about the topic.  Read aloud one of section of the headings to then.  Do a “think aloud” and tell her what I learn from just reading that section.  Show how their the construction paper booklet (“teaching booklet”) and explain the purpose of nonfiction writing: “To teach something, writer need to choose the most important information to include writing.”  Tell them that writer should always ask themselves: “What information will best help my reader understand the topic?” Review the notes with them to show, which information describes the rabbit’s features and I or have her write them down on the first page.  Tell them that even though we add the facts on the page, some readers cannot picture in their minds based on the descriptions they have read.  So it is the nonfiction writer’s job to add illustrations to give the readers a visual image to connect to the facts, so they can understand what they are reading.   Remind them that you have noticed when you read aloud to them or when they are doing their retell.  Tell them that headings can be in a question form.  Give other suggestions of headings that can be put in the booklet. 

Body of Lesson (Procedure):

  1. Remind the student to always start off by asking this question as they are working on the “teaching booklet”: “What information will best help my reader understand the topic?”
  2. Brainstorm by reviewing the notes or look in the texts to find the next important information. 
  3. Discuss with the student and have them write down the information on the bottom half of the page.
  4. Have the student illustrate based on the facts they have written. 
  5. If possible, have the student add a nonfiction feature (i.e. caption). 
  6. Refer back to the nonfiction texts or internet articles to add any extra information. 
  7. Student writes a heading on top of the page.
  8. Student numbers the page.
  9. Steps # 1 – 8 is repeated until the booklet is complete.

Culmination:

If the student did not finish their teaching book, I have them finish it at the next research session.  If they are finished with the “teaching booklet”, they can share their information with other students.  They can spend a few minutes reading aloud the whole book or parts of it and share about her discoveries they made when creating the book. 

Assessment:

            Since this ongoing project, see if they are using the nonfiction features to help them in creating the book.  Also, see if they are able to break down their topic into subtopics to link the important information to each one.    

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