Mainly I chose this animal because there was a recent Scholastic News article about it. You are more than welcome to substitute the books for a text of your choice. My students were confused; I was frustrated, and my instinct told me that there had to be a better way.
I like to spend a couple days working backwards where students read an informational essay and place the information from the essay to the graphic organizer. I want this step of informational writing to feel like a natural process of writing to my students.
I think part of my problem was that I misinterpreted my writing workshop training, and I was under the impression that students should just start writing.
Once students have selected a topic, that I have approved, I teach students how to break their topic into three subtopics. Fortunately, most of my students are already able to write good paragraphs.
Days Writing When students wrote their paragraphs this week, I encouraged them to use related facts, rather than just three random facts.
I also create an informational writing anchor chart with students, so they can refer to the anchor chart throughout the year. I think this step is especially important, because my students will have to respond to a writing prompt on their state test. The mentor texts are all just suggestions.
It takes me at least two weeks to get my students to the point of actually writing.