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The Teacher Tip

Planning a Study in Information Writing

May 14, 2018

Adapted from 180 Days by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle

Our journey throughout this unit echoed many of the features we introduced in our study of narrative text. To help our students increase skills and understandings in the genre, we immersed them in expository texts, stopping frequently to notice the moves and techniques found in this discourse. We continued our daily book talks, but this time we included more books of nonfiction.

In any study we plan, we know that learning the features of a genre will help students as writers, but doing so will also change them as readers. This is especially important with informational writing. We have both shared fake news stories with our students as if the news was real and been horrified when not a single student has questioned the article’s source or validity.

With the amount of unreliable information in the world today, students need voluminous critical reading practices, so we frame all out teaching in this unit around a few critical questions about informational texts:

• Who wrote this?
• Who is the intended audience?
• What is the purpose of this information
• Why is the information presented and organized in this way?
• What is said?
• What is not said?

We want our students to understand these questions deeply both as consumers and producers of informational texts, so in each lap of the study, we plan to teach skills for both reading and writing.

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