Reading and Analyzing Non-Fiction Text (Informational Writing)
Terri W came in to present this to us.
Rationale – why to include in LA program
- Allows the writer to think about priori knowledge before drafting
- Encourages the writer to research to confirm or disregard prior thinking.
- Helps the writer read to locate new info, not just prior thinking
- Ensures accuracy of information because the writer is including only information that is confirmed prior knowledge or new info explicitly stated in the materials they are reading
- The category “wonderings” encourages the writer to read to locate specific info
This is a way to get kids writing that is more than writing a report.
How to include in LA program
KWL (Know, Wonder, Learn) – what do students KNOW already, WONDER or want to learn about and then afterward what have the LEARNED.
To use this strategy, first children state information they know about the topic. Then children come up with questions they want answered. Then they research to specifically answer questions raised.
We started by brainstorming what forms of non-fiction writing we know about. We came up with things like report writing, biographies, research papers, book reviews, reflections and journalling, etc.
Then we did an exercise using the topic of wine. We brainstormed things we thought we knew about wine. We were in pairs and had three sticky notes – we could write in sharpie one thing we knew on each. Then we went around the room and each pair shared something they had written and stuck their sticky note up on the board (if it hadn’t been covered already). We had also written down something we wondered about wine I am guessing and stuck that up there too. Here is what the board looked like:
What I think I know (prior knowledge) – children state information they think to be correct about the topic.
Yes I was right (confirmed) – children research to confirm prior knowledge.
What I learned (new learning) – children research to locate additional information not stated in prior knowledge.
What I couldn’t prove (misconceptions) – children research to discard prior knowledge
What I still want to know (wonderings) – children raise questions based on the new information gathered.
We also had a vocab page that we kept adding to as we came across words we didn’t know.
Then we were each handed an article to read about wine. Terri tried to anticipate the kinds of things we would put up on the board and selected her articles based on that. But, she also said the teacher is not the vessel of knowledge and you sometimes do your best units on topics you know nothing about and you and the kids are learning together. The kids can be the experts sometimes. You can also use tech (e.g. iPad program Explain Everything to find out the answers to your questions). The idea is not to make students the experts on the topic but rather to help them with processing and skill building.
Somehow we ended up writing a cinquain poem about wine at the end. I think this was based on the info we looked at throughout the lesson. A cinquain is a five-line poem that describes a person, place or thing.
Gradual release of responsibility
I do – teacher models
We do – share with a partner
You do – student does it independently