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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nonfiction...The Finale

Join in the fun and read some more slices at the Two Writing Teachers  blog hosted by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz.

And...don't forget to get your chalk ready for Betsy's May Chalk-A-Bration on Friday.  She hosts this fun poetry/chalk celebration on her blog Teaching Young Writers.

I'm so proud of the work my kiddos did with informational writing!  If you want to know more about how we got to this point, read the last two posts here and here.  The short story is...we learned about text features in nonfiction books, we read LOTS of nonfiction books, each child picked an animal they wanted to learn more about, they read books about their animal to learn more (research), and then they used a planning sheet to write down the information they learned.  After they were done with their plan, they wrote their own nonfiction book about their animal.

This is the planning sheet we used:

I apologize about the picture quality...if you click the picture it is easier to see.  The kids wrote the name of their animal at the top and then drew a diagram of their animal in the large box.  I asked them to think about the parts that they thought were important to know about the animal and label them.

The next three boxes are for facts that they learned.  Most kids wrote about where their animal lives and what they eat, some wrote about what their animal looks like as well.  I asked them to make sure one of their facts was something interesting that other kids might not know.  Many kids made a size comparison for their interesting fact, such as a dolphin can be as long as a bus!

The kids really enjoyed the planning step, but they loved the writing of the books even more!  After planning their books, they transferred their information into book format.  They put the diagram in their books, as well as the facts that they learned.  We discussed what a good title would be for their books and we made sure to spell the name of our animals correctly in our books.

Here are a couple of examples of the finished books:


By Adam

 Diagram labels: wing, head, foot

Some bats eat fruit.

Bats live in trees.

Bats hunt for food at night.


By Leah

Diagram labels: tail, body, mane, feet

Lions eat meat from animals.

Lions live in the forest.

Lions have babies.

(I seriously love these illustrations!  I mean come on...check out those lions!  Too cool!)

Once we completed the nonfiction animal books and I saw how great they were, I decided the kids should formally publish them.  I typed the books and the kids illustrated them.  Once finished, we had a writing celebration and read our books "on the big screen" (aka-the document camera) for our friends.  It was a great time!  The kids were proud of their work and told each other what they liked about their writing.  They were very excited about their published books and took them home to keep and read to their parents.  Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of them because they wanted to take them home so badly!  I'd say that's a pretty good problem to have!


  1. What a great way to finish up the year of learning! These are great and show such growth. Well done Robin! This is a unit to repeat.

  2. Terrific, Robin. I love seeing the work, and especially that final one about lions having babies-good picture too! Your non-fiction unit went very well. I'm glad you had such a lovely ending to the year!

  3. This is BEAUTIFUL work!! You have every right to be proud of those kiddos, and I hope they are equally proud of themselves!