Teach children informational writing
Informational writing is a good way to do a shared writing activity. With this type of writing, you teach children how to summarize information that they have learned through a shared experience. The experience might be a place that they have gone to, or something that they have done. It also might be a book that they have read, or a video that they have watched. Start by choosing a shared experience and then continue on with the following steps.
Here is an example of a shared informational writing.
Ethan and I shared a book about space. This has been a topic of great interest for Ethan lately, so he was excited about the book. After discussing it, we decided to make a Venn diagram about gas planets and rocky planets. This was a way to organize what we had learned. Then we worked together to write the following:
Rocky planets are small. They are solid so you could stand up on them. They are made of rocks and dirt. Gas planets are very large. They are made of gas so they are not solid. If you tried to stand on a gas planet, you would just sink in. Both kinds of planets revolve around the sun. They also have gravity and they can have moons around them.
Ethan then took the Venn diagram and used it as an organizer to write his own paper about planets. His writing closely followed what we had written together. This was a good learning experience for him. He practiced verbalizing and organizing his ideas.
Here is how to implement your own informational writing activity.
Start by choosing a shared experience and then continue on with the following steps.
- Do the activity together.
- Ask questions to elicit responses about the information that the children have learned.
- For young children, you might simply have them tell you something new that they have learned.
- For older children, it is appropriate to help them organize what they learned into main ideas.
- Write the children’s responses.
- Read the responses with the children to make sure that they say what you want them to.
- Work together to make any changes needed.
The length of this activity should be age appropriate. For very young children it should be very short. For older children you can probe a little deeper to help them come up with more thoughtful ideas.