I hope your break was restful, fun, and restorative, and welcome back to Literacy! With a new year comes a new engage block and, for literacy students, lots of new writing skills. All literacy classes this block will be learning and refining the fine art of informational writing. While the the term "informational text" may sound boring, writing with the intent to teach or inform is empowering for many people. During these classes, students will not only be learning the writing skills of the genre, they will have the opportunity to be "experts" in the topics most important to them; I fully expect to be well versed in all things Minecraft by the time this block is done! Check out the rest of the post to get some more details about what each grade group will be focusing on this block.
1/2 Informational Writing 1
For many of the 1st and 2nd grade students, this will be the second time they have focused on the writing skills in literacy, as many took either Narrative or Opinion writing last block. Kids who had writing last block will come in with lots of great Writer's Workshop skills that will allow them to take more leadership in their learning this block. Informational writing at this grade group is focused on establishing and growing technical writing skills, such as writing to teach or inform and staying on topic. In addition to practicing these skills, students will also be growing their writing endurance and independent work skills through the use of a Writer's Workshop framework. A stretch goal that we have for this class is to start integrating real facts into our writing. This aspect is not a focus in informational writing until later grades, but the kids love informational texts so much that it would be silly to not use this material in our writing!
3/4 Information Writing 1
The 3rd and 4th grade writers will be focusing on refining and stretching the foundational informational writing skills that they learned in earlier grades. The goal of our writing will still be to inform or teach, and students will still have ample topic choice, but they will now be spending more time looking at the "little" parts of their writing. In addition to adding skills like appropriate paragraphing and using linking words to help convey meaning, we will be placing a focus on using real facts in our writing. A stretch goal that we have for this class is to start integrating researched facts into our writing. Research is not a focus in informational writing until later grades, but supporting your writing with real, credible evidence is a valuable skill that students will use throughout their lives.
5/6 Information Writing 1
Starting in 5th grade, the standards push students to research evidence to support their writing. In addition to writing pieces that follow the rules of the information writing genre, we will have to make sure that we are using evidence we found in research in our writing. While the addition of research may seem daunting, it opens up more topics for students to explore because they can now research something they don't know a lot about and write about what they learned. A stretch goal that we have for this class is to start integrating citations into our writing. This aspect is not a focus in informational writing until later grades, but it is a necessary skill for informational writers, as part of being a credible technical writer is the ability to show were you get your facts from.
Ring in the New Year by remembering to get your read on every day; reading for at least 20 minutes every day outside of school makes for stronger readers.