This week I feel like I have given birth – to an AMAZING new writing unit! With the move to Australia I have been adapting to new curriculum. I have always taught informational writing to my students, but usually in the form of “how to” books. This year I will be teaching them to write “all about” books for the first time. So, as I link up once again to 4th Grade Frolic’s Monday Made It, I would like to introduce my “All About” books unit that I made!
As with any unit, I like to start with an immersion phase. This has been so fun and easy with this topic. Since we are also studying minibeasts this term, I gathered several bins of informational books all about insects, spiders, and other creepy crawlies. Before getting too in depth about anything, I just had the kids explore. They were in heaven! I think they would have happily perused those books for over an hour if I had let them.
The next step was to read some of these lovely books more carefully, calling the kids’ attention to the informational text features. I find that my students are always fascinated by how we can use a table of contents to dip in and out of an informational book. It is so different from a story book in this way, and the kids love to select the topic in the book they want me to read about.
Next week we are kicking off the writing side of this study. To aid in this process I made a few tools. One is a poster anchor chart with all of the steps in making an “all about” book. Because I have kids of various ages and abilities, I decided to make a basic version and an advanced version. They are very similar, but will allow me to differentiate easily. I also made a small version of the anchor chart for students to keep in their writing folders.
The next tool I created was a large size laminated blank book. This is something I can use for any writing unit where we use booklets. I find that seeing me write in a booklet just like the one they are using really helps my kids to transfer the lesson to their own work. It is just easier with a big one like this! I write on it with either dry erase markers or vis-a-vis, and then can just wipe it off to use it again later.
I then decided to make some sample “all about” books. I made one version with only pictures, so that the students can practise filling in the words. I made another version that has all of the text included. It can act as a true mentor text for the kids, as it is done in exactly the same format they will be using.
Finally, I created a variety of papers, as well as the checklist I will have my students use. For the first time ever I plan to let my kids choose the paper they want and assemble their own books. I am a little nervous about this, but I think it is the best way to give them the freedom they need when writing informational text.
So, next week is the kick off! We will write one “all about” book collaboratively as a class using the large book, and then students can begin to write their own. I am excited to see how the research phase goes as well. How fun!
If you are interested in either my BASIC or my ADVANCED informational text writing units, check them out!
And remember that Teachers Pay Teachers is having their back to school sale on August 4 and 5! This is a fantastic time to buy. Use the promo code BTS14, and you will get 28% off of anything in my store – ALL of my work is on sale!
I cannot wait to share more pictures and stories of how this unit goes!