Finding the Important Facts

Now that we are in February, we are almost to the end of our American Contributors unit.  We have been researching George Washington and Abraham Lincoln this week.  I have blogged about several activities already so I will not rehash them.  This post will focus on how I tied our big idea unit into Readers’ Workshop and Writers’ Workshop mini-lessons…because let’s face it: We don’t have a lot of time.  The struggle is still real… So, when I find a way to tie reading, writing, and content together into one big block of time, I’m a happy teacher!

This is the 2nd post of 3 posts (for now) about our Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop focus on fact and opinion.

During our first two weeks of our American Contributors unit, we worked on recalling facts from a text that support each person’s contribution and how to choose what to write about.  You can read about that in this blog post.

Then, our reading focus became listening to decide if information is a fact or an opinion.  Read the first part to this mini-series in this blog post!

This week I had two goals in mind for Readers’ Workshop to wrap up our unit.  Let’s take a look at the first one for this little blog! 🙂

Our first focus was…

We “graduated” from giving facts after only a few pages to listening to the whole article or book and then recalling facts from the entire text.  I think this helped kids filter out the minor details and focus on what’s important!

The first day of Readers’ Workshop this week, we started reading one of my favorite books…The Important Book.

We read each page and talked about what was important about each topic and what was interesting.  We also discussed WHY the important fact was chosen as important.  We read the book across two days in Readers’ Workshop to keep the lesson part “mini!” 🙂  We charted our discussion.

During Writers’ Workshop they chose a topic and wrote about what is important and interesting about their topic in the same pattern as Margaret Wise Brown.  We just did this in their journals, but they were too cute not to share!


So how does this tie in with content?  Because after these activities, we were able to move on to charting important and interesting facts on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.  Here’s the beginning of our chart for Lincoln…

No, the dry erase board chart isn’t the cutest, but it got the job done.  And this was the perfect segway into our Writers’ workshop time where we talked about which kind of facts we need to include when teaching about someone.  This chart helped make it easy for kids to see that while the interesting facts help give our writing style, it’s our duty as authors who teach our readers to include several important facts as well.  And this made a HUGE difference in their informative writing!

Now that we’ve got our facts down pat, we will be moving on to how to choose facts to support our OPINIONS!

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