Category Archives: Writing

About Me Text Features

I needed a lesson that could only last one class period with 3rd graders at the beginning of the year. I was covering a class for guidance, so I couldn’t make it a more involved project. In 2nd grade last year, we talked a lot about text features and I wanted to review it with them this year in 3rd grade. An About Me text feature portrait is what I came up with. I asked them for various text features like labels, a fact box, and a timeline, and then let them be creative with it. Here are some of the results:

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This was my example for the students.

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Insects – Fact and Fiction

First graders were flying into insect research! First we read about what makes an animal an insect and they filled in this booklet with facts about insects (I think I got it from TpT?).

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The next week, we reviewed the parts of an insect, and I created a page with a word bank. They created their own imaginary insect and labeled the parts, then named it and wrote about it on the back. I was so impressed with some of the ideas they came up with! You can definitely tell what each student is most interested in.

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As Smelly as Dirty Socks

I recently worked with a 4th grade class and we read the book My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks. Afterwards, I had the kids do a self portrait adding similes about themselves in the same way they do in the book. Here are some examples from the book.

The book we read

The book we read

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And here are some of the student results! (They all wanted more time, but we ran out of it!)

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They all seemed to enjoy it and have a lot of fun while practicing some figurative language.

Natural Disasters – What Would You Do?

In the wake of the I Survived series that is SO popular in my library (seriously, I CANNOT keep them on my shelf!), natural disasters and historical events have become even more popular. I noticed in my fliers for book fair, which is next week, there is even a new series called Disaster Strikes! The 4th grade AG teacher and I started a project last year to go along with Island of the Blue Dolphins about natural disasters and formed it to go along with the Choose Your Own Adventure type books. You can read more about the project itself in this post from last year, but here are a few pictures from this year’s group.

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Working out the decision trees

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Close up of one of the decision trees

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Combining information from research into the story and choices for the decision tree

Choose Your Own Disaster

Our fourth grade AIG class was studying natural disasters and we wanted to come up with something new. So, using the Choose Your Own Adventure books I loved growing up as inspiration, we decided to have them research a disaster and come up with different scenarios for what to do. We started with research, then had them break the information into 2 possible choices, with two results each. The graphic organizer helped them get that part! Once they did the research, they wrote a paragraph for each spot on the organizer, then cut them out and pasted them on chart paper on which they added a title, etc. I took some pictures of the final projects but they all turned out too dark to see very well for some reason. What new ideas for presenting information have you used or seen?

Research, research, research! The blue paper on top is the rubric.

Research, research, research! The blue paper on top is the rubric.

Working on the paragraphs for the choices.

Working on the paragraphs for the choices.

Graphic organizer to help organize our choices!

Graphic organizer to help organize our choices!

High Interest with a Side of Text Features

I was recently talking with our 4th grade AIG teacher about how to add more nonfiction text use and also to do something that would really interest the kids. We ended up deciding to try letting the students choose a topic and create a layout of information about the topic using nonfiction text features. I pulled several books on topics I thought might interest them and all but one student chose from those. The one student wanted something else so we let him choose from the shelf since he had a topic in mind. The topics I pulled ranged from Ancient Rome to Secret Agents to Titanic to Daytona 500. The kids seemed really excited about the project and came up with some really nice final projects. They could choose to do a one page poster, or a bi-fold or tri-fold brochure type paper. I used post-it notes to cover last names if they were on the paper for student safety. Here are some of the final pieces. (You can click on any picture to see it larger.)

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