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Up Your Nose. . .?!

Two weeks ago, I drove to school thinking about the impressive features I had noticed in fourth graders’ information books. Upon their arrival, I checked in with three writers about borrowing their books for the beginning of writing workshop. When we gathered on the rug, I quickly shared that I wanted to begin our time together by sharing some writing spotlights.

“Check out how Eli has been working on a glossary at the end of his book. I know many of you were studying glossaries with your reading partners a short while ago. Maybe this is something you’ll try in your own books.”
“Maybe you’ll want to try breaking up your illustration box into more than one part like Colby did. Do you notice how his work connects to the nonfiction text structures we’ve been studying as readers? He tried out a compare and contrast structure in his picture.”
“And. . .let’s look at the way Zoey drew a diagram of an ice skate to teach her audience. I bet she’s noticed lots of diagrams in the nonfiction books she reads. You could try this, too.”

Writers, today I want to teach you that writers can turn to experts to try out new things in their writing. Some of those experts are right here in our writing community, and some of those experts are published authors beyond our classroom!”

Then, I reached for a brand new book I had discovered at the library– one I described as cool and gross. The BIG reactions began immediately upon the cover reveal. Faces scrunched up and a chorus of blech and “Eww!” erupted. We collectively giggled and grinned. I’ve got them hooked, I thought. Let’s get started.

Remember, as we read, you are going to think: ‘What cool things did this author and illustrator do in this information book that I could try in my own writing?'”

We read. We reacted. We paused to talk with partners and add to our class chart. We lingered on the rug for longer than usual, but engagement was high and joy was coursing through the classroom. Check out the wide variety of craft moves that fourth graders discovered:

Alright, take a close look at our chart. Give a thumbs up when you have a plan for a NEW craft move you’ll try in your book today. Ready? Off you go!”

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