Thinking about Informational Writing

The innovators over at Two Writing Teachers Blog got me thinking about how we approach Informational Writing.  We often begin with thinking about images that would tell the story or explain our idea, but if we think about other text features, they can be just as impactful as we approach Informational Writing.  They asked 4 questions to guide our thinking as our writers study models of INformational Text to learn more about how it is written.  How often do we forget to study the text before we begin talking about the characteristics of the text?  

Here are the 4 questions:

  • What information is the author using this text feature to convey?
  • Based on the text features, is there an idea that the author wants me to understand about the information?
  • How does the author use the text features to convey information?
  • How could I try something like this in my own writing?

The last question is my favorite.  If the author used a call out box, or bolded a word, it would be quite easy for a child to “Try that” in their own writing.  I believe that it would lessen their anxiety in “getting it right” and encourage them to try something new and innovative in their own writing.  I am feeling excited to try this idea with students.  Do you think these guiding questions would support the writers in your classroom?


Current Events and Differentiation in one!

Have you ever wanted your students to read current events or non-fiction, but they have struggled with the text level?  I think NewsELA may have an answer.  NewsELA is a free site with news articles in different categories.  Each article can be read in up to 5 different Lexile levels.  Now, Free Technology for Teachers has added another level of practicality…Google Docs.  How cool would it be for students to comment in the article or collaborate on a topic in a GoogleDoc?  I am excited about the possibilities.  


If you were thinking about tinkering with the new Google Classroom, that may also be an option to integrate NewsELA with ease.  


Check out the article from Free Technology for Teachers and look into NewsELA…Great stuff and an easy way to use Google Docs or Google Classroom, all while challenging the reading levels of your students.

Free Technology for Teachers article: