When it comes to expository or informative writing lesson plans, planning is key! This type of writing may be worlds different than what your students have ever tackled before. Not only do we have to be organized in how we present this type of writing to prevent overwhelm, but we also have to take the time to teach our students how to be organized writers themselves! Here are some top tips when it comes to planning your informative writing lesson plans, and creating organized writers in your classroom.
Start With The Basics
Students are used to hearing stories from birth. Data shows the students usually perform better on standardized tests in skills involving narrative writing, most likely because they are most familiar with this type of text! Data also shows that informational texts can be one of the toughest areas for students to tackle on standardized tests. This could be due to many factors, such as boring topics, but it can also point to the fact that students just aren’t as comfortable with tackling this type of text. When we are asking them to compose it, we really need to start with the basics. What is informative writing? How does it differ from other writing we’ve done in the past? Looking at strong mentor texts can help jump-start their thinking about how this type of writing can be done. Show them that informative writing is interesting and that it’s used in real life!
Provide Clear Expectations
Instead of throwing students right into expository writing, this is a type of text that truly needs clear explanations. You may even have to go over it in class multiple times for it to sink in. Illustrate the basic structure, how many paragraphs you are looking for, and be sure to give an example paper. Check out this 5th Grade Informative & Expository Writing Unit for clear mini lessons to orient students to this style of writing. As you discuss topics and expectations, keep in mind that student choice is KEY to keeping their interest! Allow them to choose their own topics or select from a list of choices that they can get excited about!
Rubrics and Organizers Galore
Graphic organizers are the best way for students to keep their thoughts and facts in order as they begin the research process. Throw the old fashioned “note cards” out the window! You can create fun organizers digitally, as most research will be completed digitally as well. We all know students can have messy binders and trouble keeping track of belongings, so this is a point where you really have to take the time to stress organization and storing their facts/research in the same spot each day. I also take this time to introduce students to the rubric for their assignment. I let them know that a graphic organizer keeps them organized as they are working, and a rubric keeps me organized while I am grading. You’ll want to give each student a copy of the grading rubric and take the time to make them aware of each section that you will be grading them on.
Once students know their end goal, they can plan a map of how to get there. Proper planning builds confident writers and writers who are not scared of writing in the future! Practice makes perfect, so be sure to allow students the time in class that they need to plan their writing properly. With clear expectations and an organizational system, you will have students that embrace expository writing in no time! Give them the tools they need to become an excited expert in their area of study!