“Expert” Nonfiction The purpose of this type of writing is to allow writers (students) to use their own knowledge to write non-fiction. Writers use their own expertise for information rather than researching the topic. Helping students build a strong understanding of non-fiction writing, with paragraphs, table of contents, diagrams, and craft that elevates non- fiction writing, will give them a strong foundation for future writing of various non-fiction text. (L. Hale; A Guide to Writing Workshop) Exploring the Nonfiction Genre
Characteristics of Nonfiction Fact-based information Informational Title Chapters/ Steps Headings Table of Contents Illustrations/ diagrams Labels/ captions on pictures
Nonfiction Objectives Explore the nonfiction genre, looking at mentor texts, their own writing, and their peers’ writing. Write a How-To Book in which he/she will teach the reader to do something. Write an All About book in which he/she will write all about a topic he/she is an expert in. Revise How-To and All About books to be more explicit. Publish a How-to and an All About book.
Preparing for Nonfiction Here is list of supplies that will be helpful for the writer’s workshop: 2 Pocket Writing Folder for each student Chart paper (with or without lines) Writing Paper (with different number of lines) Staplers Pens (black or blue and red) Poster or chart paper for anchor chart Templates for nonfiction writing Nonfiction Mentor texts
Types of Nonfiction The Nonfiction Unit is broken into 2 types of writing: How-To Books How-To Books All About Books All About Books
How-to Book A How-to book requires a writer to identify a procedure he/she can do and give “the directions for that procedure starting at the beginning and proceeding in a step-by-step and explicit fashion to the end.”
How-to Books Lesson Summary Students will plan, sketch, & write a How-to book in Lesson 3 & 4. Lessons 5-8 are revision lessons focused on clarifying the directions/How-to books. Lessons 10-13 will ask students to revise & edit books to prepare for publishing.
Tips and Tricks for How-to Books Students will draft many How-to books within first part of unit. The mentor texts we used were From Seed to Plant for grade 1 and Monarchs for grade 2, both by Gail Gibbons. Spend some quality time in the immersion lesson/genre study. Provide many nonfiction books for students to look through & analyze for characteristics. Have many copies of the How-to paper. Push students to chose a topic they really know how to do. Suggest a school related How-to if they are struggling, i.e. “How to order lunch” or “How to get ready for writing.” A published piece in this unit may be one How-to story that the student has revised and edited or it may be a collection of How-to stories that the student has revised and edited. How much a student publishes in this unit depends on the writer.
Let’s Try It! Lesson 2 Minilesson: Introducing a How-to Topic List Writing: You will generate a list of How-to books you would like to write. Conferencing: I will give one compliment and one suggestion on your writing Share: Share your topic list with your partner.
Let’s Try It! Lesson 4 Minilesson: Writing a How-to Book Writing: You will write the steps for your How-to book. Conferencing: I will give one compliment and one suggestion on your writing Share: Share a few How to Books with the class that follow the anchor chart.
How to Write a How-To Book Anchor Chart List the things you could teach people to do. Choose one idea. Get How-To paper (or Set up your notebook to write How-To). Plan the Steps on the paper (touch each box for each step). Sketch the steps. Write what you’ll need in step 1. Write the steps in order.
Let’s Try It! Lesson 6 Minilesson: Revising Confusing Parts with Words Writing: You will reread the steps for your How-to book and act it out. Revise any confusing parts. Conferencing: I will give one compliment and one suggestion on your writing Share: Share an example of how a student revised a confusing part with words.
How to Helpers Anchor Chart A title that tells that this will be a How-To book A list of things (materials) needed Pictures that teach the reader what to do Number for each step Labels/captions on pictures
Connecting to the Core Turn and Talk: How does the How to part of this Nonfiction Unit address the common core at your grade level?
All About Books An All About book requires a writer to teach the reader about a topic that he/she is an expert in through his/her writing. This second part of the unit will expand on students’ understanding of expository writing. Students will now use chapters/sections as well as incorporate a variety of writing styles/formats/layouts to convey information.
All About Books Lesson Summary Lesson 2-4 will prepare students for All About book with a topics list, draft of a Table of Contents, and draft a How to page for their All About book. Lesson 5 & 6 will introduce special features of a nonfiction/expository book. Lessons 7-11 teach students how to add additional information in fun & interesting ways within the nonfiction genre, such as adding numbers & names related to the topic, advice, weird facts, and/or observations. These facts should be written in paragraph form. Lessons 12-14 teach students how to revise their All About book for publication. Lessons 16 & 17 apply the conventions to good writing in preparation for publication & celebration.
Tips and Tricks for All About Books Be sure students know “all about” the topic that they choose. Spend the time brainstorming to ensure that they know at least 10 things about the topic. Students will write & publish 1 All About Book. They can revise and edit the entire book or just a few pages. Study All About books to fully understand how focused the topic is. Gail Gibbons is a great mentor author for this unit. Use the “Everything I Know About…” template in Lesson 3 rather than the Table of Contents. Include pages that are typical of nonfiction, such as diagrams, but ensure that students write paragraphs about the subcategories on their topics. Students can do outside reading about their topic; however, this is not a research writing assignment. Students should not be assigned reading on their topic. You do not need to become an expert on every topic that your students choose. It is okay if some of their facts/ideas are incorrect. The goal is for students to develop their understanding of and explore the nonfiction genre.
All About Books Often Have Anchor Chart A big All-About title (that gives readers a clue that it will be about a big topic) A How-To page Chapters or sections (that fit under the big topic – but each section is about something different) Headings (that name its different sections or chapters) Table of Contents (to tell the reader the titles of the sections or chapters and the page numbers) Pictures (that match the information in the words)
Let’s Try It! Lesson 3 Minilesson: Structuring All About Books Writing: You will write “Everything you know about….” to test out your topic. Conferencing: I will discuss your list with you to ensure you know enough about the topic to write all about it. If needed, I may guide you to a new topic. Share: Share your list with a partner.
Let’s Try It! Lesson 9 Minilesson: Advice or Weird Facts Related to the Topic Writing: You will continue working on your all about book. Try to add advice or weird facts relating to the topic. Conferencing: I will give you one compliment and one area to work on in your All About book. Share: Share an example or two where a student added advice or a weird fact.
Let’s Try It! Lesson 12 Minilesson: Revising: Deleting/Moving Sections of Text Writing: You will continue writing and ensure that your writing is organized. Reread your writing to see if you need to delete or move any pieces of information. Conferencing: I will discuss your list with you to ensure you know enough about the topic to write all about it. If needed, I may guide you to a new topic. Share: Share your with your partner where you moved or deleted something and explain why you did it.
Looking at Student Work: All About Books Samples from Gr. 1 & 2 in Malden
Connecting to the Core Turn and Talk: How does the All About part of this Nonfiction Unit address the common core at your grade level? Does the Nonfiction Unit meet the common core expectations?