Informational Researching and Writing
Begin this lesson by showing the students the BrainPOP Jr. video on how to read nonfiction text. It is important to discuss the video contents after viewing. On a chart paper list the things the students remember about important aspects of reading nonfiction books. This chart paper can be left up all year for the students to access the information. It will be important to highlight the following:
- Nonfiction is about real people, places, events, and things
- Find nonfiction in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, biographies and diaries.
- Nonfiction book parts:Title
- Table of Contents
- How to read nonfiction:
- Read in small sections to find the information you want.
- Stop and think about what you read.
- Look at the pictures.
- Read the captions and labels that accompany the pictures.
- Take notes as you read on a graphic organizer.
Show two fiction stories about owls to gain student interest in owls. Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal on TumbleBook Library (this is not yet on the Graphite site, but is a wonderful resource). Also show Owl Moon by Jane Yolen on Discovery Education Streaming. These fiction books will get students interested in learning about owls. They are fiction stories, but have some nonfiction components to them.
After showing the book videos start a KWL chart about owls. Ask the students to tell you everything they know about owls. At this time discuss the fiction and nonfiction parts of the story Little Hoot and Owl Moon to help prompt conversation about owls.
Students will tell what they know about owls to fill in the KWL chart.
3 Direct Instruction
Next read nonfiction books about owls. These books can be read throughout the unit. Continue adding to the KWL chart after reading or viewing information about owls. It is important to keep the KWL chart up throughout the lesson, and even after the unit is complete, for the students to access the vocabulary for their owl related activities and owl writings.
Some great nonfiction owl books include (just to name a few):
- Owls by Gail Gibbons
- Owls by Mary R. Dunn
- National Geographic Readers: Owls by Laura Marsh
You will need many more owl related nonfiction books for this unit to help with student learning.
Show the Analyzing Owl Pellets section of the Discovery Education Streaming video “Riverbanks Zoo and Garden Roundup: Zoo Yuck-ology!”
4 Guided Practice
Guided the students through reading owl books and taking notes on graphic organizers. Help them keep track of the notes they take and their journal writings in an organized way. Help them organize their data in sections such as, habitat, diet, appearance, life cycle, and human impact. Have the students take their notes and do their journal writings under each of these headings to later help them organize these into paragraphs. Use small group instruction to help the students understand what information goes under each heading. Have a lot of discussions about why certain information goes in each area. Utilize chart paper to organize the information collected together throughout the unit. Leave all of the chart papers up for reference but encourage the students to not copy your work.
Have the students use what they remember from the Discovery Education Streaming video to complete the virtual owl pellet dissection at Kidwings.com. This will be the first introduction to Kidwings, so you will need to guide them through the process of getting started.
5 Independent Practice
Throughout this unit have the students write in their journals. Each time you read a story or show a video about owls have the students add information to their journals. Remind them that they can use their journal for their final writing piece and the more they have in their journal the easier it will be to write a complete informational piece.
Once the students have heard and viewed books, watched videos, researched information and participated in activities they will be ready to write. Have the students log into their Google Accounts. They will need to access Google Drive and create a Google Document. Students need to title their document, so they can easily find it in the future.
Students will independently uses their journal and notes to write their informational essay. At this point they will not use books, websites, magazines or other documents to write from. The purpose only using their notes is to ensure the use of their own words and not copying from other texts. They will remember to write information in the correct area for each paragraph. Students will use the spell checker to help them with correct spelling. They will use correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spacing.
The students need to share their work with you. They will then need to sit with you to edit their writing. With some students you may want to make notes on the shared document for them to make corrections. I find that there are some students who are not able to yet take suggestions and make changes from teacher notes. The editing process will need to vary for each student.
6 Wrap Up
As a final activity for this unit use the word cloud generator Tagxedo. In Tagxedo upload a picture of an owl. Have the students copy and paste the words from their essays into Tagxedo. They can choose the font and color of their Tagxedo. Print the word clouds out for each student.
I have the students print their work. They can decorate a cover to make their work into a book. They can also put their owl word cloud in their book. For final publishing I have the student read their writings in the author’s chair. They can can show their pictures and word cloud to the class.
For further publishing students can use Kidblog to blog their writings. I like to send out their blogs to teacher friends and other people who I trust to comment on their work. Students love to log in to read what others have to say about what they wrote.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.
Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.