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writing in response to informational texts

When Written Responses are a Hot Mess, Part 1

It’s frequently true. We have grand conversations about engaging nonfiction and then when our students write in response…well, the struggle is REAL. Here are some approaches I’ve found helpful in grades 2-6 — provide clear purpose for writing, respond to just a part of a text, plan for what they will write, engage students in …Read more

Hey, Mom! Guided Writing

“Who will you tell?” This is a conversation I’ve started having with students at the guided reading table before they write in response to an informational source. I usually start by saying something like the following: When you go home tonight and your mom asks about school, you could just say, “It was okay” OR …Read more

Orally rehearsing with key words can boost writing

Do your students struggle to compose sentences about nonfiction topics that make sense or sound right? Do they lack structure at the sentence and paragraph level? Here’s a few tricks I’ve been trying with small groups of late-early and transitional stage readers. As part of a conversation generate key words they will use to orally …Read more

Do they really get what the main idea means?

Can your students explain what their main idea statement means? Is a superficial understanding or misunderstanding of the main idea impacting their ability to identify or explain supporting details? We need to give students time to unpack the main idea. It’s worth it and pays off when they begin to identify key details and explain …Read more

Check out these reading responses!

A few posts ago I wrote about shaking up how we ask students to write in response to texts–creating hall of fame posters, designing two-page layouts for trade books, and writing letters. One of my colleagues in the field, Britany, a fifth grade teacher, gave this a go! She asked students who’d read the book …Read more

Are your students tired of writing summaries and analytic essays?

I’m shaking up how students respond to informational texts. I’m experimenting with letters, Hall of Fame posters for a bulletin board in the classroom entitled “People Who Have Changed the World,” designing and writing content for a book entitled Did You Know, and classified ads. Regardless of the format, though, I’m still  REQUIRING students to …Read more

Is “text evidence” becoming a fill-in-the-blank?

A few weeks ago I had the honor of working with a class of students who were writing an analytic essay in response to a text about Frederick Douglass. During this lesson, I’d posed a text-dependent question and we’d carefully read the article and taken notes.  When we moved from taking notes to using those …Read more