Using Non-Fiction Features in Our Writing

To use my Arkansas lingo, we are “smack dab” in the middle of our Animals Unit, which means we are all about using non-fiction features in informative writing during writers’ workshop.

I’ve blogged some about the graphic organizers I use to teach informative writing, but I wanted to give some love to some other anchor charts that are super important in my room during our non-fiction writing units!

We have been studying non-fiction texts and their text features during Readers’ Workshop

{still waiting on my crazy color ink to arrive so I can print these cards and hang them up….I’ve already taught them with kids and shown them the cards on our smart board…just waiting….still waiting… #thestruggleisreal}  You can grab those cards HERE and hopefully have yours up on your wall faster than I can! 🙂

As we read and researched animals and our human body during our Science Squeeze {aka…teeny tiny block of time dedicated to science….can I get an amen???}, we recorded topics that we became “experts” in so that we would have a class list of topics we could write to teach about!

In writers’ workshop, after spending some time on our non-fiction graphic organizer {grab a copy HERE}, we moved on to teaching our readers like authors teach us!

{Find both of the anchor chart templates here.  Just print and fill in with your kids!}

Each day I taught a mini-lesson focusing on one of these points from the anchor chart.  We also connected each strategy to the text features we are studying during readers’ workshop….

We teach with diagrams and labels because non-fiction authors use those text features….

We make our smart words bold print because that’s how non-fiction authors teach get us to notice their smart words…

We also charted smart words as we researched birds this week to get some practice listening for and picking out smart words from a source!  It’s easy to do when you are looking at the text because of bold print, but it’s much harder when you are just listening or watching a video!  First graders easily confuse a smart word and a fact sentence, so this practice was really, really good helpful for my firsties!

And the last strategy…We write twin sentences because non-fiction authors use those to help define the bold printed, smart words…

I modeled writing using that strategy and then we practiced independently.  During share time, I chose students to share who showed the strategy we focused on for the day!  And they are really catching on!  Using real non-fiction text features during writers’ workshop really has a way of engaging kids because it makes them feel like the “real” authors they are!

These lessons are from the writing portion of my Animals Unit and that packet includes anchor chart templates as well as detailed daily and weekly lesson plans for writers’ workshop!

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