Stage 1- Desired Results
Students will be able to independently use their learning to…
  1. Demonstrate independence in reading complex texts, and writing and speaking about them.
  2. Build a strong base of knowledge through content rich texts.
  3. Obtain, synthesize, and report findings clearly and effectively in response to task and purpose.
  4. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  5. Read, write, and speak grounded in evidence.
  6. Use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
  7. Come to understand other perspectives and cultures through reading, listening, and collaborations.
  • W.1.2-Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.5-With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • W.1.8-With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • L.1.1-Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.1.2-Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Essential Questions
  • Why do we write?
  • How do writers approach the craft of writing to inform and explain?

  • How do authors select what to write about in their informational writing?
  • How do authors organize information to share?
  • What can I learn from studying other authors?
Big Ideas
Writing to Inform

Enduring Understandings
  • Writers write to inform and explain ideas.
  • There is a craft to writing effectively.

  • Authors generate lists of ideas from their experiences, places, and things that they love.
  • I can study the work of authors to help learn the craft of writing.
Students will know…
  • The purpose of informational writing.
  • The characteristics of informational writing.
  • How to generate a topic list for how to writing.
  • The elements of informational texts.
  • How to write a sentence with a naming part (subject) and a telling part (verb).
  • How to take notes from primary sources.
  • How to organize information from a primary source into categories.
  • How to revise for clarity.
Students will be skilled at …
  • Answering questions on their topic.
  • Gathering information from informational text.
  • Using their own words to write complete sentences from their notes.
  • Including elements of informational writing.
  • Writing complete sentences.
  • Editing their writing for correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization.
  • Publishing using legible print and appropriate spacing between letters, words and sentences appropriately.
Stage 2- Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks: Students revise and edit one shared informational research piece.

Formative: Students include the elements of informational writing in their shared research writing. Conference with students to support their application of the skills and strategies taught in the mini-lessons.

Summative: Students complete editing checklist on their writing. Final piece of writing serves as summative.

Student Self-Assessment: At the end of the unit, students will write a reflection piece on what they have learned about opinion writing. See suggestions for self-assessment at the end of units.
Stage 3- Learning Plan
Weaving in all the elements of informational writing, along with research and note- taking, students will write a nonfiction book including a table of contents, four sections with headings, a labeled diagram(s) and illustration(s) with caption(s), and a cover with title and author’s name.

We use insects as the topic for our lessons. Since we expect students to do research, it is important to choose an insect they don’t already know a great deal about. We use aphids as the insect in the examples because aphids are not one of the insects studied often and yet are readily available if you want to bring some in for students to examine or if students want to search for them on their own.

Please choose a topic that works well for you and your students. You do not have to do insects! You can choose a topic that you’re studying in science or social studies. Just be sure that whatever topic you choose for the class, you have ample material available for the students to use for their research, including level appropriate books, magazines, internet sites, articles, etc.

The final books may be published in handwritten form. It can be a nice change of pace if you can find volunteers to type final copies allowing space for students to add illustrations and/or labeled diagrams. Encourage students to work neatly so the typist can read drafts.

Lesson 1: Choosing a Topic
Lesson 2: Generating Questions Using a RAN Chart
Lesson 3: Finding Facts/Note-Taking
Lesson 4: Table of Contents/Headings
Lesson 5: Writing Complete Sentences
Lesson 6: Startling Fact as Closure
Lesson 7: Diagrams and Captions
Lesson 8: Revising for Clarity
Lesson 9: Editing
Lesson 10: Using a Checklist

Full Lessons:
To incorporate the Common Core State Standard 1.W.6, to "use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing," you may choose to:
  • Take digital photographs of shared experiences.
  • Create a PowerPoint of writing with voice recordings.
  • Use story-making applications from iPads or other tablets.
  • Type final projects-use WORD publishing forms such as postcards and brochures.
  • Share writing over school announcement system.
  • Have students project the written pieces using a document camera.

Websites with aphid information (and often other insects!)

Primary Book: