Stage 1- Desired Results
Transfer:
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 context 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.
Standards:
  • W.3.2-Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly
  • W.3.4-With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
  • L.3.2-Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • L.3.3-Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • W.3.5-With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  • W.3.6-With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
  • W.3.10-Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Essential Questions
Overarching:
  • Why do we write?
  • How do writers approach the craft of writing to inform and explain?

Topical:
  • 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
Overarching:
  • Writers write to inform and explain ideas.
  • There is a craft to writing effectively.

Topical:
  • 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 writing informative/explanatory texts.
  • Characteristics of informative/explanatory writing.
  • The organization of informative/explanatory writing
  • How the use of formative, illustrations, and multimedia can aid comprehension.
  • How to develop the topic using facts and definitions, concrete details, quotes and other information and examples related to the topic.
  • How to use words, phrases, and clauses to link ideas within and across categories of information.
  • How to use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform or explain about their topic.
  • How to conclude their writing or section.
  • How to expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener, interest and style.
  • How to improve their writing through word choice and sentence fluency.
  • The writing process for drafting, revising, and editing of a piece.
  • Their audience for the task.
  • The writing process for drafting, revising, and editing of a piece.

Vocabulary:
informative
explanatory
research
main idea
details
Students will be skilled at …
  • Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • Introducing a topic clearly, providing a general observation and focus, and group related information logically.
  • Including formatting(e.g.,headings),illustrations,and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Developing the topic with facts,definitions,concrete details,quotations,or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • Linking ideas within and across categories of information using words,phrases,and clauses(e.g.,in contrast,especially).
  • Choosing precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • Providing a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented
  • Expanding, combining and reducing sentences for meaning, reader/listener, interest, and style.
  • Improving word choice and sentence fluency by crafting a variety of sentences by using simple and compound sentences, conjunctions appositives, and appositives.
  • With guidance and support from peers and adults,developing and strengthening writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Stage 2- Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks: Students revise and edit one informative/explanatory writing.

Formative: Students will write several seeds of informative/explanatory writing in their writer’s notebooks. Conference with students to support their application of the skills and strategies taught in the mini-lessons.

Summative: Students complete revising and editing checklist on their writing.

Student Self-Assessment: At the end of the unit, students will write a reflection piece on what they have learned about informative/explanatory writing. See suggestions for other student self-assessment at the end of the unit.
Stage 3- Learning Plan
Students will write an Informative Article about an “expert topic” using an informative organizational structure. The “expert topic” refers to a topic they already know well and do not need to research. The informative organizational structure consists of an introduction,a body and a conclusion,which distinguishes itself from the beginning, middle and end of the narrative organizational structure.

Teachers may want to modify this assignment to address individual class/student needs. Suggestions for modifying include:
  • Rather than leaving the topic open to student choice, pick a shared experience (a field trip, a unit of study, a familiar location as a setting) that allows you to build common vocabulary.
  • Several lessons ask student to share with a partner. You may want to pre- determine partners for the entire unit.

The lessons follow the steps in the writing process and call on the teacher to model an “expert topic” for students throughout the unit. Feel free to use the model topic of– ‘Our Classroom’ with examples in the lessons. Or use another “expert topic” of your choice, which will be used throughout the unit.

The mentor texts chosen for this informative article unit, a student sample of an informative article, “Ballet,” and a Scott Foresman passage, follow the simple informative structure of introduction, body and conclusion. It is important to note whether other informative texts you may read follow this same structure.

At the end of the unit, there are two culminating lessons. One is to publish the Informative Article. After the culminating lessons, schedule a celebration lesson in which students read their writing aloud. Celebration at the end of the publishing process is an important way to let students know we value their writing. It is something to look forward to and can motivate students to do their best work while publishing. Celebrations can be as simple as sharing writing with a partner or as elaborate as an author’s tea with parents. It is entirely up to you. Try different ways to celebrate at the end of each unit and have a marvelous time with your students as you write together through the year.

Lesson #1: What is Informative Writing?
Lesson #2: Expert List
Lesson #3: Selecting an Expert Topic
Lesson #4: The Graphic Organizer
Lesson #5A: Drafting
Lesson #5B: Checking your Organization
Lesson #6: Leading with a Question
Lesson #7: Revising the Body
Lesson #8: Conclusion Paragraph with Linking Words & Phrases
Lesson #9: Ending Punctuation
Lesson #10: Using an Editing Checklist
Lesson #11A: Guide Words in the Dictionary
Lesson #11B: Checking for Spelling Errors
Lesson #12: Publishing
Lesson #13: Reflection
Lesson #14: Read Aloud your Writing

Full Lessons:

Resources
Digital:
To incorporate the Common Core State Standards W.5.6 which describes the use of technology students could:
  • 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.
  • Share writing over school announcement system.
  • Have students project the written pieces using a document camera.