read alouds

Whale Writing Unit!

Last week my was completely and utterly inspired by babbling Amy and her whale writing unit. If you have not seen it then you need to hop over! My kids just loved it and learned so much! Here are some pictures of what we did last week!
 To begin the unit I had students ask questions about Whales. We posted yellow stickies all around the big whale. Then I read a few non-fiction books about whales and I had my students interrupt me when they thought we had answer to a question. We wrote the answer on the sticky and then decided which topic it belonged under. They did great!

The next day I had students split into groups (pre-assigned) and I gave each group a book with stickies on them that correlated to the topics on the big yellow paper. Each student in the group had a job (kind of like literacy circles). Students were in charge of deciding who the reader was and who was in charge of each topic. They did AMAZING! Some groups needed help because we did have a few disagreements but this was a great way to get students collaborating and learning to work together (which I always do)!

The day after students gathered facts we organized all of their stickies onto the yellow whale according to topic.

The next day students got back together with their groups to start working on their big book page. I gave students a strip that asked them to write about and describe a specific topic. I can't tell you how much I emphasized that I needed detail in their writing. We really work on expanding our thoughts.
When students were assigned their topic I send one group up at a time to go to the whale chart and pull stickies they will need to write about their topic. We reviewed first what topics went with the topic on the whale chart. Students then worked together to form an informational writing. They all had jobs once again (writer, 2 spellers and an editor).

When students were finished with their big book page they got to illustrate about their topic. We discussed how when we read an informational book it will show a picture to expand on the information given. They had to make sure their picture was related to the information given on their topic!
(I forgot to take a picture of the big book: sorry!)

Taaa-daaa!! There you have it! This is a unit I will do year after year!

This week students were assigned a zoo animal to research with a partner since we are going to the zoo this Friday! We began today and oh my gosh... I don't know why I am in the room anymore?!! They are experts at gathering information!!!

Here is a sneak peek :)

Students can in the room this morning and were ecstatic about their animals!
Each group of students has a bag with at least three books about their animal.
Inside the bag they also have an animal report book that asks them to find information on certain topics
Tomorrow we are getting out the I-pads and using Nat-geo to find more information.
Then we are combining the facts to write an informational paragraph and students will get to type them up in the computer lab on Wednesday!

I can't wait for the zoo Friday! They will be little experts! We are also making some Expert Tags that they will get to wear to the zoo and when they see their animal they will get to share facts about them with their group members!

1 comment

  1. This sounds awesome. I "borrowed" Abby's ideas too except we researched sharks. My Littles had tons of fun! I can't wait to hear about the zoo research. I bet they are loving it!
    Mrs. Holder’s First Grade