Posted by Laurie Sullivan at 11/12/2012
Mrs. Bratt and several teachers at Barrett are attending a weekend class devoted to non-fiction writing. During the past week we were fortunate to have Mrs. Bratt co-teach with the third grade team of teachers in the Discovery Lab. The third graders are writing a nonfiction book based on their field trip to Patuxent Research Wildlife Refuge. In a previous lesson the students organized information from the trip into a web. This is a very helpful prewriting strategy. In this week’s lesson students “turned and talked” about what they already knew about how nonfiction books are organized. Then Mrs. Bratt used a nonfiction book to generate from the students a list of nonfiction text features. Dr. Sullivan explained how linking words assist writers and then modeled a “think aloud” with the classroom teacher based on the web. Next the class divided into groups to write chapters based on the web. There were four chapter groups (Introduction, Hike, Visitor Center, Tram Ride) and one group worked on the glossary. At the tables the students used a copy of the web and photos from the field trip to assist with their writing. Students wrote one idea per index card and organized the index cards for their group in order. The Conclusion chapter will be completed in the classroom as a shared writing experience. The next step will be for the students to revise and edit the chapters based on peer feedback. When the text is complete, the students will select photos that they took on the field trip to support the text. Finally, they will use the MacBooks to publish their writing as an iBook.