Severe Weather How To Writing

Sooooooo….I’m on a 2 week intercession/break from school and starting to catch up on blogs.  Good grief!  I’ve had all of these blog posts floating around in my head and no time to sit down and type!

April was all about continuing our weather unit and focusing on severe weather!  In Arkansas, there is no better time to learn about severe weather than April…especially since we had to take cover for tornado warnings just a few days ago!  YIKES!! #tornadoalleyprobs

It’s also about this time of year that I get a little bored with writer’s workshop {just keeping it real friends!} because we’ve mastered narrative, informative and opinion writing.  So focusing on how-to-writing is not only a refreshing change of pace, but it blends perfectly with severe weather!!

I’ve written about our experiential learning with how-to-writing in a previous post so I won’t rehash the peanut butter and jelly fabulousness, but I wanted to blog a bit about how I scaffold my kids’ writing so they can eventually write a full how-to paragraph independently!

We do our peanut butter and jelly writing whole group. {Yes, I know this isn’t severe weather and feels like a hard right turn, but I promise we are getting there….I like writing about simple things first that we already know about before adding the research step in there too!}

Anyways…We record pictures together and orally give the directions using our order words.  During our oral retelling, I introduce our how-to graphic organizer from my Do You Want to Draw a Snowman packet.

The next day we wrote about how to brush your teeth.  I brought my toothbrush and toothpaste and all! 🙂

I think this one is usually the most popular with my firsties…and mainly because I’m trying to teach with toothpaste and a toothbrush in my mouth!  {Sorry, no pics of this….it’s kinda hard to have toothpaste dripping down your chin, ask kids to tell what the step is AND manage to take a selfie of the craziness happening!  But I can promise you it’s a priceless photo!}

Since this was our second experience, we used a graphic organizer to record our pictures together again…but this time we wrote the directions instead of orally retelling the steps.  We drew all of the pictures first.

Then, we went back and wrote the topic sentence and step 1 together.

They finished the rest of the paragraph on their own.  These graphic organizers were the perfect scaffold that helped my kiddos make the leap to writing how-to paragraphs independently.

The next day or two, we brainstormed a list of things they were experts on and could write instructions for.  We also talked about how some things must be sequenced {like brushing your teeth}, but other instructions don’t necessarily have a sequence {like getting ready for school}.   I had them draw their pictures first for their topic and then write in their journal.  I was super impressed with how well they did!

Then, I knew we were ready to add the research element to our how-to-writing.

We had been learning about types of severe weather.  I wanted to focus more on tornadoes since…we are in tornado alley after all!

We listed ways to stay safe in a tornado…

They wrote directions for how to stay safe in a tornado and then we used shaving cream and a few drops of paint to make some tornado art! *Pro Tip: make them make their scene with construction paper first and leave a “spot” for the tornado.”  Add the shaving cream tornado afterwards!* #yourewelcome #beentheredonethat #muchbetterthistime

The kids had a BLAST writing these and making their tornado scenes to go with them!  It was the perfect end to our severe weather and how-to writing!  You can find the tornado safety paper and more severe weather paper and templates in my severe weather packet on SALE 20% off for the next two days!

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