My writing workshop is usually about 50 minutes long and that always start with a 10 minute mini-lesson. After the mini-lesson, my students get about 30 minutes of writing time to try something from the mini-lesson or continue their work from the previous day. The last 10 minutes of our workshop is for sharing, and we like to share in all sorts of ways. Sometimes we partner up with a buddy to share what we tried that day, and other times I choose two or three students to display their work under the document camera. (If you don't have a document camera I highly suggest trying one out, it is amazing!) I use a single sheet paper instead of a writing notebook, and students keep all of their work in writing folders. We have been building our stamina as writers since the second week of school. My students truly value this block of our day as a quiet time to express themselves through writing. I usually turn off a few lights in the room and turn on Gary Lamp's Music for the Mind. His music is 60 beats per minute to support focused and fluid thinking.
During the last few weeks we switch from writing small moment stories into nonfiction writing. We started the writing unit off by comparing a nonfiction book with a fiction book. From this we discussed that fiction stories have characters, settings, problems, and solutions. Then we noticed that nonfiction stories do not have these elements. We decided as nonfiction writers we had to become experts at a topic in order to write about it. So we took our weather unit in science and focused on extreme weather. We researched blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. The kids loved it! Weather is such an exciting topic for them to learn about. Blizzards and tornadoes were the favorites in our class, because many of them haven't experienced these types of storms here in our area. We did a lot of our research on the IPads with QR codes that I provided them. They also had a big bin of weather books to read through. While reading, they kept their notes in a research notebook I made them. After a few days of research it was time to turn all we had learned into complete sentences for our books!
We spent about a week turning our research into writing while still examining other nonfiction books to learn how to "hook" our readers so they would want to read our books! After that we worked on revising and editing. Finally, we learned about nonfiction text features to make our books even more interesting! We added a table of contents, diagrams, captions, and a glossary. Before we knew it, about three and a half weeks of writing had flown by! We laminated our covers, bound our books together, and finally it was time to share our books! We invited parents and other 2nd graders to our room and it was a BLAST! Our room was packed full of readers!
We welcomed our guest with a letter we wrote for them during morning meeting. We even had a guest book for our visitors to sign! Check out a few of our published books!
To try this writing unit out in your own class visit my store for your very own copy! This product includes the following:
- 4 weeks of writing plans
- Suggested book titles
- QR codes for research
- Recording pages for research
- All of the pages to make your own informational nonfiction book
- Invitations to invite guest to your author open house
- Guest book
- 3 anchor chart examples
Hope you enjoy watching your students turn in to authors!