First Grade Informational Writing Unit: Week #1

So, last week I got to work with two first grade teachers and their classes during Writer’s Workshop.  It’s been such a fun experience and is really helping me develop my writing instruction!  Today, I am discussing our First Grade Informational Writing Unit: Week #1.
So far, here’s what I’ve learned:
#1.  Writing is a process.  Don’t rush it.  It’s okay for a unit to take weeks to complete. 
#2.  Handholding is completely acceptable and encouraged.  The CCSS has several first grade writing standards that start “with guidance and support.”  So, give it to them in the early stages before you release them to work independently.  
#3.  Don’t aim for perfection.  They’re first graders and their writing is going to be far from flawless.  Use mistakes as learning opportunities.
Since I’m in the middle of Week 2 and still have another week to go, I’m going to give you a little weekly snapshot of our activities after each completed week.  At the completion of the unit, I’ll upload the unit plans for free on TpT if you’re interested in seeing them – they’ll be specific for my unit, but might help you work with your own curriculum.
So, here we go.  In brief…
During First Grade Informational Writing Unit: Week #1, here’s what I’ve learned. I introduced our learning targets and some unit vocabulary that we’ve referenced every day since.  I wanted to make sure they were familiar with the terms I would be using.
Based on our district’s timeline, our first graders should be learning about caring for land, air, and water (science standard), so we incorporated that into our writing by reading about environmental awareness.
The strategy we focused on was note taking.  I made the graphic organizer pictured below and we added ways to care for land, air, and water as we read.
We read books and took notes on our graphic organizer during Days 1 and 2, and I established the intent to make a collaborative class “big book” afterwards.
On Day 3, we reviewed unit vocab and our graphic organizer before splitting into groups to work on our “Big Book Planning Page.”  This is where the kids worked in groups of 3-4 to make a plan/rough draft for what their big book page would consist of (text and illustration).  I gave each group a planning page and their actual Big Book page which was pre-labeled with a heading (i.e. How can we care for land?”) to help them guide their writing/illustration.  I really emphasized sharing ideas and responsibilities – writing, illustrating, coloring, etc.  They kids did a *fantastic* job collaborating and no one was left out!  Yay!
When the kids finished their planning page, they conferenced with me about their page.  We made corrections to their writing together and talked about how they would transfer it to their Big Book page.    Then, they were free to start writing and drawing on their page.  This took place on Days 3 and carried into the first 15 minutes of Day 4.
Here’s a sample of the planning page to Big Book page process.  I discouraged them from getting too detailed on the planning page, but this group wanted to color!
We had a 4-day week last week, so I crammed a lot into the 4th day.
After everyone completed their pages, we got together as a group to discuss how we should assemble the pages.  Then, we created a table of contents and read our book aloud.  Shoo!  That was a busy day!
And, that was a superfast run-down of Week 1!
Gina and Pam, thanks so much for sharing your class with me!!!!!

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Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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