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Exploring Lesson Plans for Additional Authentic Writing Activities

 

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ReadWriteThink.org

 

 

Using Literature as Models in Writing Workshop

Using Picture Books to Teach Setting Development in Writing Workshop
This lesson invites students to examine the craft of developing the setting of a story through focused experiences with picture books, such as careful analysis of setting portrayal using the text and illustrations as cues.

Using Picture Books to Teach Characterization in Writing Workshop
This lesson invites students to examine the craft of developing characters through focused experiences with picture books, such as careful analysis of character portrayal using the text and illustrations as cues.

Writing Alternative Plots for Robert C. O’Brien's Z for Zachariah
As a culminating activity for Z for Zachariah, by Robert C. O’Brien, students write alternative endings for the novel based around the important decisions made by Ann Burden, the main character.

Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts
In this lesson plan, students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring a multigenre picture book, short chapter books, and, if desired, multigenre novels. Students will brainstorm alone and together what they will need as readers to read and understand multigenre texts successfully. The students will share findings and discuss strategies needed to comprehend, and by extension to write, these texts.

Picture Books as Framing Texts: Research Paper Strategies for Struggling Writers
In this lesson, picture books give students frames for structuring research projects, freeing them from the language of their encyclopedia sources and allowing them to focus their attention on the content of their papers. Using picture books as models, students are able to think more about what to say and less about how to say it, which leads to better learning experiences and better writing.

Paying Attention to Technology: Exploring a Fictional Technology
Students complete a short survey to establish their beliefs about technology then compare their opinions to the ideas in a novel that depicts technology (such as 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, REM World, or Feed). By exploring the fictional technology, students are urged to think more deeply about their own beliefs and to pay attention to the ways that technology is described and used.

Classroom Practices:  Research on the Web

Animal Study: From Fiction to Facts
Animal inquiry is often part of the primary grades curriculum, and the Internet offers opportunities in animal study not found in print text.  However, the challenge is using these resources in developmentally appropriate ways.  Animal Study: From Fact to Fiction offers multiple online tools and resources to model the research process.  Resources are also included for black bears, fish, frogs, toads, penguins and polar bears.

Research Building Blocks:  Examining Electronic Sources
The quantity of information available on the Internet today is a double-edged sword for the rookie researcher.  This ReadWriteThink lesson teaches elementary students how to use the Internet with a critical eye.

Inquiry on the Internet:  Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection
In this lesson plan, middle school students explore a class inquiry project, collecting Web-based resources that can be used for further study during the course of the class or for more in-depth projects. Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists and questions to find and evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the items they have found will be valuable to the class. This lesson plan can be completed individually or in groups. For demonstration purposes, this lesson plan focuses on researching a specific country or several countries; however, this activity can be completed with any inquiry topic in the classroom.

Genre Exploration in Writing Workshop

GRADES 3-5
A Genre Study of Letters With The Jolly Postman
In The Jolly Postman, a postman rides his bicycle delivering letters. To whom? Storybook and nursery rhyme characters! After reading The Jolly Postman, the students will learn the attributes of different types of mail. Then, the students will categorize the letters from the book, and finally their own mail.

Fairy Tales from Life
Students read and analyze fairy tales, identifying common elements. Choosing common situations and working in small groups, students will write original fairy tales, using story maps and storyboards to organize and gather ideas. The project concludes with class presentations.

Genre Study: A Collaborative Approach 
Encourage your students to explore elements of common literary genres, not only as a way to appreciate the wealth of literature available to them, but also to expand their models for effective writing. Using a customized bookmark, students will learn and document characteristics of chosen genres.

Looking for the History in Historical Fiction: An Epidemic for Reading 
Historical fiction can provide a powerful way to introduce your students to the large themes of history because of their human approach to the events they cover. In this lesson, students will be reading and responding to historical fiction. Then, they will be using nonfiction sources to verify the “facts” presented in the novels.

GRADES 6-8
Expository Escapade—Detective’s Handbook 
Students will combine reading in the detective fiction genre with expository writing. Embedded in this unit are reading and writing skills such as defining, editing, explaining, illustrating, justifying, revising, supporting, and validating.

Fairy Tale Autobiographies
Students will work in groups to read and analyze fairy tales, brainstorm for events in their lives that could be changed into fairy tales, develop setting, characters, and plot for their fairy tale, write, illustrate, and compile their fairy tales into group books.

Imagine That! Playing with Genre through Newspapers and Short Stories 
Students identify genre characteristics for narrative short stories and journalistic newspaper articles then practice both genres by turning a short story into a news article and an article into a short story.

Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs 
Students will combine reading with descriptive writing. Embedded in this project are skills such as compiling, composing, defining, describing, illustrating, rewriting, and validating.

Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts 
In this lesson plan, students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring a multigenre picture book, short chapter books, and, if desired, multigenre novels. Students will brainstorm alone and together what they will need as readers to read and understand multigenre texts successfully. The students will share findings and discuss strategies needed to comprehend, and by extension to write, these texts.

Hypertext Writing Experiences

Hypertext can simply be defined as the electronic linking of text. When students are given the opportunity to deliberately link text, they gain understanding that there is more than one way to conceptualize text.  This also helps students with the realization that text does not have to be linear. These lessons from ReadWriteThink provide hypertext writing experiences in the classroom.

Book Reviews, Annotation, and Web Technology
Integrating technology, research, and the language arts, students work collaboratively on this lesson reviewing books and creating hypertext on the Web. Reading, writing, purpose, and audience are synthesized, resulting in a challenging and creative student project.

Choose Your Own Adventure: A Hypertext Writing Experience
Working in groups, students will read and analyze Choose Your Own Adventure Stories in text or hypertext format and brainstorm to develop setting, characters, and beginning plots for their own adventures. Working in smaller groups and finally individually, students will develop Choose Your Own Adventure Story Web sites.

Exploring Literature through Letter-Writing Groups
This lesson asks students to discuss literature through a series of letter exchanges. It can be used as a one-time assignment in conjunction with any work of literature or it can be used throughout the year with the students discussing, and even making connections among, a number of literary works.

Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection
In this lesson plan, students explore a class inquiry project, collecting Web-based resources that can be used for further study during the course of the class or for more in-depth projects. Students use Internet search engines and Web analysis checklists and questions to find and evaluate online resources then write annotations that explain how and why the items they have found will be valuable to the class.

Story Character Homepage
A project for literature circles or class novels to develop understanding of a character. In groups students will look at examples of homepages on the Internet, note what elements most contain, and use them as models to create a homepage for their chosen character.

Book Report Alternative: Getting Acquainted with Farcebook
In this alternative to the traditional book report, students report on their novel choices using Facebook-like pages.

Weaving the Multigenre Web
Students analyze the elements of a novel in many different genres and then hyperlink these pieces together on student-constructed Web sites. This is a lesson which can be used with either a whole class novel, individual novels, partner books, or small group literature circles.

Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology
This project engages students in meaningful research using poetry as a focal point. Students identify words and phrases in a poem by a Native American and in the process, learn about Native American culture and history. Students create a Web site using the poem as a "launching" space that takes readers into various explanations of words and phrases.

K-12 Classroom Practices:  Publishing on the Web

Weaving the Threads:  Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology
Nancy Patterson offers this sample lesson to illustrate how meaningful research, poetry, and Web publishing can be the focal point for an alternative to the traditional research paper.

Weaving the Multigenre Web
Pat Schulze offers an alternative to the traditional methods of analyzing the elements of a novel.  In this lesson, students repesent their understandings in many different genres and then hyperlink these pieces together on student-constructed Web sites.

Choose Your Own Adventure:  A Hypertext Writing Experience
The ever popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories are back as a hypertext experience. While the students may start writing in groups, the final format is really up to the individual student.  Publishing on the Web makes collaboration and organization of the activity that much easier.

Story Character Homepage
Looking at a character's development over the course of a book or series has its own set of challenges. Add to it the opportunity to present the infomation in a Web format, and you have the makings of valuable conversations for middle school or high school students.

Exploring Literature Through Letter Writing Groups
This lesson asks students to discuss literature through a series of letter exchanges. It can be used as a one-time assignment in conjunction with any work of literature or it can be used throughout the year with the students discussing, and even making connections among, a number of literary works.  Exchanged letters can take the form of handwritten letters, typed letters, electronic documents, e-mail, online discussion posts, and even Weblog posts.

Strategy Guides

Teaching With Blogs
This Strategy Guide describes the processes involved in composing blogs in the classroom, the process of writing regular posts, or entries, that are published online.

Bringing Lessons to Life with Animoto
Using Animoto, a free Web 2.0 tool, students can develop short digital videos that include music, photos, video clips, and text as well as share their creations electronically.

Teaching with Zooming Slideshows through Prezi
Through Prezi, a web application, students create "zooming" presentations for various purposes, such as presenting research, defending an opinion, or sharing a digital story.

Speak to Me: Teaching with Voki
Through Voki, a Web 2.0 tool, students create customizable avatars for class presentations for various purposes, such as presenting biographical information, expressing an opinion, or reading a poem.

Using the RAFT Writing Strategy
This strategy guide introduces the RAFT technique and offers practical ideas for using this technique to teach students to experiment with various perspectives in their writing.

 

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