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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Writing and Researching with Fact Sheets: Part I

Sometimes someone passes along a piece of information that sends my brain into immediate teacher planning mode. With a change in our district professional learning this year, I have not had many of these moments as of late. But then my professor (I am part of master's reading specialist cohort) brought something to our last class that sent my mind a-spinnin'!

From Coaching Writing in Content Areas: Write-for-Insight Strategies (a book I am not familiar with), I was giving a fact sheet about whales. The page includes a list of information about whales, followed by student ability writing levels: 

My first thought: I can totally turn this into a game!


Writing Challenge Game 1: The Most Superior Writer of the English Class 

  • Each student will receive a copy of the fact sheet. 
  • Each student will attempt to write the bestest, most wonderfulest, superiorest paragraph about whales. 
I certainly don't expect perfection with their sentences, but I want to get them thinking before we move into more formal writing instruction. My secret superhero plan is to sneak into their documents from my computer while they are working, and tell each student that someone else's paragraph is better. It will drive my Pre-AP students nutty. 


Writing Challenge Game 2: Create a Stupefying Fact Sheet

  • Students will work in partnerships to create a fact sheet about an assigned topic. Look at me sneaking a mini-research assignment into class. 
  • I made the topics (but I can also see doing this with student-generated topics). 
  • Topics include endangered animals, planets, television shows, countries, authors, foods, universities, and... John Cena. 
  • The student-created fact sheets will be used to go through another round of Game 1. 

After this, I am going to do grammar and sentence structure lessons that we use to revise and edit the writing challenge paragraphs. This is one of those lessons that I feel giddy about, and I am hoping it goes as planned in my head. I may have to get some pom-poms or a coaching whistle. 

Stay tuned for the follow-up. 

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