Use this graphing unit to develop students' math skills as they discover the characteristics that make them unique and the traits they share with classmates.
Step 1: If you haven't already discussed nonfiction in class, explain the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. Show multiple examples of nonfiction that students might find in their homes, like science magazines and books, newspapers, and picture books.
Step 2: Discuss procedural nonfiction books. Be certain to include books that cover various interests, such as games, repairs, cooking, etc. Inform students that writers of how-to books are subject matter experts and that everyone is an expert at something.
Step 3: Tell students that even they are experts at things, and give them a few examples of what this means. Generate and organize ideas on a sheet of chart paper. If desired, make a list of each student's expertise.
Step 4: Share one thing that you are good at and tell them that you are going to write a book about it. Organize your idea into five parts aloud in front of your students. Walk it across your fingers (each step is a finger). Write the title of your How-To book on your sample How-To Planning Sheet template.
Step 5: Number your first square and begin to sketch your first part. Write a key word underneath the picture. Then move to the second square and do the second step of your how-to book. Repeat through to the fifth step and show students that they can add a box manually, if necessary.
Step 6: Ask each student to think about something they do that makes them an expert. Then ask them to turn and share their idea and steps with a friend. You can also have students share ideas in small groups.
Step 7: Give students time to organize their ideas, then call each student by name and ask them about their ideas. If a student does not have an idea in mind, ask them to remain on the rug so that you can work together to generate an idea. Ask the rest of the students to begin to sequence their ideas on the How-To Planning Sheet printable.
Step 8: Model how to transfer work from the plan sheet to writing paper. Model how to add details to drawings, sound out words, use the word wall, and use of writing conventions.
Step 9: Confer with each student to assess their readiness to move on with the process.
Step 10: Provide class time for students to write out their steps and add illustrations on writing paper.
Step 11: Have students put covers on their books using the construction paper. Students should also write a title and color the pages of their books.
Step 12: Keep all of the how-to books in one area of the classroom and encourage students to read them and ask the authors any questions they may have.
Stronger writers will be able to produce more detailed procedures. Awareness of each writer's capabilities will allow you to direct students to write easier or more challenging work.
Scholastic publishes several these books that fit right into this unit:
This lesson is adapted from the how-to unit from the Teachers College Reading & Writing project.