Choosing A Topic

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SWBAT choose a topic to write about based on their own background knowledge.

Big Idea

Background knowledge can help enhance expository writing by providing a clear description of a topic being explored.


10 minutes

As students arrived in class today, they hurried to their work stations to find pictures and captions about various topics they've learned about in social studies and science. Without introducing the lesson for today, I just let the natural flow of conversation drive the introduction of the lesson. Students begin to look at the objects and I circulate the room to listen to their conversations. My intention for this exploration was for kids to begin a dialogue about the topics, reaching back to their prior knowledge. I hoped that it would spark a new interest and curiosity for these topics that would be the basis of our writing focus in this unit. After a few minutes I ask students to tell me what they see on their tables. We begin a discussion about the different topics. Next, I ask students if they were given an assignment to write about one of these topics, which one would they choose and why. I call on a few students and listen to their thoughts. 

Building Prior Knowledge

10 minutes

After discussing students' topic choices, I give students an opportunity to remember information about the topic. I tell students to pick the caption for  the topic they would be most interested in writing about. Students were then given a sheet entitled "What Do You Remember". I ask students to write down as much as they can remember about the topic they choose on their sheet. I walk around and talk with students as they are writing to let them know I am interested in their topic. Students write for about 15 minutes. 

Share Out

10 minutes

After students write about the information they remember about their topic, I ask them to turn and share with the person beside them their topic and their thoughts they wrote down. As students talk about their topics, I circulate the room listening in on students' conversations. Next, I ask students to now share something they remember about their partner's topic that their partner may not have included. I tells students to write this down on their sheet. Afterwards, I call on a few groups to share each others topics with the class as we move to the wrap up portion of the lesson.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

As we wrap up the lesson, I use this time as an introduction to the unit on informational writing. I ask students to sum up what we did today during writers workshop in one sentence. My goal is for them in some way to understand that what we did today was explore topics we might want to write about. I spark a conversation that asks students to describe the process we took and if they could relate it to the writing process. I also ask students what step would this activity mostly resemble. My intentions were for students to see this as the brainstorming process where students brainstorm ideas about a topic they may want to write about.