Try This Engaging Writing Lesson
Teaching nonfiction writing can be a bit tricky sometimes. You have to find a topic that will be engaging, but also easy enough to write about. Well, earlier this year I tried a writing lesson that I had done in the past, but in a new way. I worked with a BYOD class, so decided to use that to my advantage. One of the videos is at the bottom of this post.
Here is how the Lesson Went:
The topic I picked was: Animals You Never Knew Existed! Just by the title, the children were hooked. We watched a Youtube video that showed some amazing animals from around the world. The children didn’t believe that the animals were real, they thought it was a joke video.
Then, we talked about the four main topics that are used when writing or discussing animals: Appearance, Diet, Habitat, and Interesting facts. The students divided their white boards in to these four topics.
Then, I shared my own writing about an interesting animal called: A Pink Fairy Armadillo. Together, we found the information about its Appearance, Diet, Habitat, and any Interesting facts.
After the discussion time, the students were to draw up their own plan with the four main topics, ready for their research mission. For the Research Mission, I set up papers around the room, with a photo of an animal, and some QR codes that would lead them to different websites, which helped them to find their facts for their plan.
When the students came in to class and saw the papers up on the walls and windows, they were very excited about what they would be doing.The first 20 minutes of the activity was the students scanning these QR codes to learn about the intriguing animals. There were ‘oooooohs’ and ‘aaaaahs’ all around the room.
Once they had chosen one of the animals to research, they started reading the websites to find the facts for the four main topics: Appearance, Diet, Habitat, and Interesting Facts. They filled in the plan with bullet points of their facts.
When their plan was finished, they started writing. Rather than just writing a description of their chosen animal, they were to write a script for their animal to introduce themselves. The students’ final writing was published on to Puppet Pals. They had a photo of their chosen animal, and made the background the habitat of the animal. Their animal spoke about themselves and shared all the facts that the students had researched and found.
This was such a fun activity, and the students wanted to keep working on it for a week afterwards.