K-2: Nonfiction Writing

Overview of Nonfiction from Calkins
prezi
  • Procedural Writing
  • Informational Writing
  • Idea-based Writing


Part 1: How-To Books

Book Pass (10 minutes):
One way to start a unit is by using a technique called a Book Pass. The purpose of a book pass is to expose kids to as many books as possible in a short amount of time. Since you are starting a new unit, the book pass can expose them to literature that is similar to what they will be writing. As you look through the books, think if they are how-to books or all-about books.

Steps in modeling the How-to Books
  1. walk children through the steps of writing a How-to book. Explain how you got the how-to paper and show them your story.
  2. have children list out the steps in writing a how-to book on writing. (see p. 4)
  3. send children out to work on ideas for how-to books
  4. give students the option of looking at example texts if they would like to look at them.
  5. bring them back and discuss if their topics are good “How-to” topics
  6. Encourage children to get “how-to” paper and start writing.
  7. conference with students (see p. 7 for suggestions of conference topics)

Discussion: This unit could last two weeks or it could last a full month. How might you plan these lessons? How long might your unit last? Take some time for planning and reflection. Please note assessment rubric on p. 39 – very helpful to see who is doing well with this topic!

Part 2: Introducing All-About Books

All-About Books: Start by connecting with children’s literature. Find mentor “all-about” texts. Some things to notice about All-About books
  1. The title gives clues about the kind of book it is
  2. sometimes these books are divided into parts
  3. Have kids browse books and look for the parts of the All-About books (see p. 59)
  4. Talk about some of the text structures in the book (headings, TOC, titles, chapters, pictures, diagrams, etc.)

Children’s Writing:
  1. After looking at books, return to children’s writing. Have them make a list of possible topics.

This chapter takes you through the process of selecting a topic, structuring the table of contents, planning each chapter, making diagrams, selecting other topics they could teach in their writing, and revision strategies. (see All About Books Often Have on p. 106)

Discussion: This unit could last two weeks or it could last a full month. How might you plan these lessons? How long might your unit last? Take some time for planning and reflection. Please note assessment rubric on the very back cover of this book – very helpful to see who is doing well with this topic!

Part 3: Celebration

Is there a time you could schedule a celebration – either as a class, grade level or K-2? Have students share their nonfiction books they have created!