Thursday, February 11, 2016

February-Progression in Writing to Support Understanding

Through our professional development discussions, team dialogue, and meetings with Michelle, my beliefs around writing continue to be solidified.  The idea that students need to be exposed to multiple examples (mentor texts) of a particular type of text so that they can study the craft moves of the author, along with studying the text features of a particular genre is one of my strongest beliefs about writing.

For example, right now we are studying non-fiction texts and their features.  What I really enjoy about this unit is that students are looking at non-fiction texts such as: interview transcripts, documentary videos, and articles about the rain forest.  These are types of non-fiction texts that I have typically not used before.  Students are guided through taking notes on the various text features, as well as comparing and contrasting the different forms of non-fiction.  Below is an example of one students text features notes.  Through our immersion and close study, students will become very familiar with the text structures of non-fiction so that they can be confident in creating their own as our culminating project.


  1. Colleen, this unit sounds really interesting! Like you, I have never thought to use such a wide range of nonfiction text. Interview transcripts and documentary videos are wonderful resources. I oftentimes have to readjust my definition of text. It is also interesting how you're relating the text features to the specific types of writing. It will be really powerful for students to analyze why authors make the decisions they do. Keep up the wonderful work!

  2. I've seen firsthand how students are thinking about the various text features and thinking about how each contributes to their understanding of the text. They've been able to differentiate between an interview format and a narrative format. Your three-column notes for organizing information on the similarities and differences of text features was extremely helpful to those students who chose to use their notes on the mid-unit test.