Informational Writing tied into Speaking and Listening

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Today was my formal observation day....I use to get sooo nervous on these days!!!  Now after 20 years I can happily say I go in with more calmness and confidence...thank goodness.  We get observed 2x's every 3 years.  How often do you get observed?  I almost always do a guided reading group because I think that is my strong suit and I feel that's where I shine the most.  I started thinking though since I only get observed every 3 years I should do something else and glean some insight on writing.
Sometimes this is how I feel during observation week though to be honest:
So ~ Informational Writing it was!  I introduced it last week.  I had each child bring in a stuffed animal from home ( my awesome friend Tammy's great idea ).  We took notes and discussed facts about our animal.  I wanted to move from an inanimate object to a person as our writing assessment in December will be on 'me'.  So I created a few anchor charts:
writing anchor charts first grade

Here is the graphic organizer from my Informational Writing Pack that worked { perfectly } for this lesson.

I know they could've written right on the paper but they loved taking notes on a sticky note and I had a couple kids I gave an extra sticky note to because they wrote more. :o)

writing graphic organizers - primary

I broke this lesson down into a step by step version...I modeled the first square on the anchor chart about my mom and then transferred the notes to my sticky note.  Then I had the kids THINK and write and then this is where the speaking and listening came in...
They took out their talking sticks { thank you to Pinterest and Tammy Williams } and took turns sharing what they wrote.  I had the 'listening' kiddos REPEAT back to the speakers what they heard them say about their moms.  It was great!  I loved hearing the dialogue in my class and they were all engaged.
Use a talking stick during partner talk share time to make it more efficient

A rough draft - I love her closing mom is a lovely woman. :o)

If you like any of these ideas ~ Check out my informational Writing Pack - I also have a bundled pack with informational, opinion and narrative.  How are you doing with informational writing this year?

and here is the link to the { bundle }.
Leave a comment about how you think his pack can help you in your classroom and I will pick a winner later this week.


  1. Wonderful ideas. It's always good to "visit" other's classes and gain new insight. -- My formal observation is this week. Our administrator chooses what she will watch. We do NOT get to choose. I'm shaking in my shoes. :) -- Thank you for sharing your top-notch ideas.

  2. I am amazed at her writing! I need this to help my kiddos! wendy

  3. We don't get formal observations after the first 5 years unless the principal chooses to do them or feels they need to do one.

    1. Wow - I haven't heard of that one...I like every 3 years and I don't mind the pop in informal ones where they are just there for a little bit either.

  4. Awesome ideas! I am the weirdo who loves observations. I know I am weird it's ok. We have 4 a year. 2 informal and 2 formal every year, plus I invite to my classroom on other occasions. I love feedback!

    1. I hear you too Stephanie - I love the feedback too - that's what makes up better right? :o)

  5. Love informational writing! I have a few that could really use the step by step breakdown. Thanks for sharing! I bet you did great!!

  6. Thank you for sharing! It looks like a great lesson! I really struggle getting some of my kids to write! I would love to win your pack! :-)

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  8. Your packet looks great and would really help me teach the Common Core writing. I just had my evaluation yesterday. I am glad that is over!

  9. I'd love to win! Writing isn't exactly my strong suit so I'm sure this would be of great help for me!!

  10. Love this!
    I love how you used sticky notes! :) And you have a beautiful handwriting!
    New follower :)
    Miss Elementary

  11. I love the talking sticks. I use these too!!! You are an amazing teacher.

  12. With the new evaluations system in OH I think I will be observed twice a year with a few informals ones as well. We are departmentalized so I teach writing and I LOVE it!!! This pack would be VERY helpful as I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to help my kiddos organize their thoughts. We are doing informational writing right now with Long Ago. :) In the spring we'll do animal research as well.

    Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

  13. Oh my word! This is fantabulous!!! This would be perfect for teaching the common core. My fingers AND toes are crossed for this jam packed unit.

  14. so great! Our district just moved to a standard-based grading system. I KNOW i need some extra help in the area of informational writing! I've added this pack to my wish list because I know this will be of great use :)

    Mindful Rambles

  15. I love the idea of students writing their notes on sticky notes. It is probably a LOT more fun that writing directly on the paper! And I like the talking sticks too. I remember that feeling last year of enjoying my observations. I don't have a formal observation this year (different type of job this year) and I just invited several people to do some informal observing and suddenly I am nervous about it!