Who's on First, What's on Second - Good Writers Know Who They Are Playing Against

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SWBAT...write topics to a specific audience group using a text structure that best attracts the target audience and shares the topic information

Big Idea

When we write we need to think of who will be reading it. We're not writing for us - we're writing for our audience. How we write affects who we attract and how much they like it.

Creating the Purpose

15 minutes

In this first section I want to review their Analyzing a Text Structure worksheets response sheets because we didn't have enough time to do this in the previous lesson. If you choose not to do the first lesson this could also be your "Do Now" for the morning. It's important to have this discussion to first activate their prior knowledge of the text structure topics, and second to check for understanding before we move on with the lesson.

I ask student groups with different topics (there are seven varieties) to stand and share their worksheets and why they made the choices they did. One person for each worksheet responds and the others get the opportunity to question them and discuss why they disagree or what other choices would also work. We go through all seven worksheets in this manner. You can review the Analyzing Text Structure Poster if there are discrepancies within the group answers. 

I ask students what made it so difficult to determine which text structure was used in the book hunt.  This question would need to be asked on a a consecutive day of lesson teaching or students may not have the recollection to answer it. If you have a few days between I would ask them a more leading question such as Can an author use more than one text structure like asking a question and presenting a problem or a cause effect event that also has a related problem shared in the book? I ask for examples of what books were difficult for them to classify and why.  I show them the books to activate their prior learning. If you don't have books you can give an example like: butterfly life cycle is a sequential but if their habitat is being threatened then it also has a problem solution text structure.

I share that authors can use two or more text structures in their writing but they begin their writing with a certain text structure and audience in mind. For example, if I want to attract young students who like lizards, I could write a chronological order book about their life cycles to attract readers who have not learned these facts before, or an informative book that shares their locations in the world for those who are interested in catching one, or a cause and effect book that shares how their numbers are decreasing due to human pollution for those who want to help save their populations. It is the people I want to interest that decide the type of informative report I will write.

I share that now they will get the opportunity to use what they have learned about the five different text structures and their uses to write a short informative piece that targets two different audiences.        


Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

Before I ask them to do this activity independently, I first need to get them to a higher level of understanding. We gather together and I show them the text structure poster 1 and text structure poster 2 again. I ask them to share some ideas for books or writing that could be used for each type of text structure that we could add as examples to each of the sections. I share the first to model by stating that I read a recipe book last night which told me steps to making the Lemon Cake for our Volunteer Tea. That book gave recipes so that would be a chronological order text format because I had to follow the steps in order to make the recipes.

I ask students to think about other books that would be good to write in the sequential order or chronological order formats. I start with this one because it is the easiest for them to think of ideas for and that makes them more willing to give effort for the more difficult ones. Students share ideas aloud and with partners and I call on them and add these to our poster. I write their ideas on each of the category areas to help students make connections for types and writing and common structures used. This will also give them a visual reference for when they begin their own writing tasks.

I know want to guide them into the writing section, so I select a Topic Tag for Text Structure Writingout of the bag and it is the prompt about what food a tiger eats in a zoo. I then model pulling an Audience Tags for Text Structure Writing out of the bag labeled audience and show it to my students.  I have audience tags in the bag such as young students, adult professionals, boys, girls, small children, grandparents, etc. for students to pick randomly from - this not only adds the joy factor but also gives a bigger focus to writing for their audience which is where I want to guide their learning to. I read it aloud "a teenager". I project the Analyzing Audience Worksheet and begin thinking aloud and modeling how to complete the sections with my information. I share that I am going to make my audience a boy who is in eighth grade. He likes to read about exciting topics or scary events and knows about tigers and what they eat in the wild, but not what they eat in a zoo. This means I need to write with excitement or fearful information to get his interest. I continue that I could write about how a zookeeper needs to feed the tigers only after they have been locked in their "caves" because their favorite meals are raw meat. Zookeepers are too similar to this food source for them to interact with tigers when they are hungry. If they are not careful they can quickly become the tiger's next meal! A little gross but definitely gets their interest! 

Independent Learning

20 minutes

Now I share with students that they will get the opportunity to write on a topic to two different audiences for two different text structures and chosen audiences. I also share that they need to think of their audience and age groups first and then of how they can adapt their writing to best interest them in their topics. 

I have one student pass around the bag of audience tags and have each student choose a tag and a second student go around and let each student choose a Topic Tags for Text Structure Writing. I also give each table group a Text Structure Definition Cards page to help them in getting started with the format they chose. They will complete the Analyzing Audience Worksheet on their first choices and then choose a second two when they complete their first entry. 

I help those who need it in getting started on their topics by asking them questions that help them get ideas for what to write.

Here's a review of where you want to take student work and how this supports Common Core expectations:

Closing the Loop

10 minutes

Students get to show off their skills now - I choose random names and allow "three outs".  That's three students who can opt out of sharing but after we hit three all names I pull have to "play" or present their writing to the class - fun way to get everyone involved and to build community of thinking of self or others.

I close by asking the big question - When we write do we write for ourselves or our audiences? or both? and why?  

I'm looking for students to agree more strongly that we write for our audiences but I also want them to state that to be a good writer we also have to be interested in our chosen topics. If not then our writing will reflect that attitude.