Getting Ready to Publish: Using Headings to Organize Report

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SWBAT use headings to organize report into sections.

Big Idea

Students make sections in their report clear by using appropriate headings.

Introduction and Connection

10 minutes

At this point in the unit, students are ready to publish their writing. Although they have already went through all of the steps of the writing process, I still want to add something to bring their writing or publishing to a higher level. 

This lesson is about adding headings to the sections of their report. 

For the connection, I show a few engaging nonfiction texts that have headings or subheadings for each section. I show some that are very straight forward and some that have interesting headings that require readers to infer what the section is about. This is a review of subheadings from a lesson I already taught about using headings and subheadings as a prereading strategy.

I explain to students that authors use headings and subheadings to help the reader prepare to read and understand the information in that section. As writers, they can use that same technique in their own writing.

Main Activity

20 minutes

To demonstrate, I show them parts of my draft and read through a section. After I read one section, I think out loud about what that section is mostly about. For example, I might say, "This section is all about the way people live. I can use the heading, 'The Way People Live' or 'Life of the People' or 'A Day in the Life of the People', etc."

I then show students another section and ask them to help me brainstorm a few headings that could work. I show them a section describing the landforms or physical characteristics of the region. Students share things like, "Physical Characteristics" and "What Does (Region Name) Look Like?". Some students even suggest creative headings, "Mountains, Rivers, Jungles, Oh My!"

After I've collected a few suggestions, I affirm that all of those ideas could work as long as the heading matches what is actually written in that section and that the reader can clearly predict what the section will be about. I also caution writers to make their headings match throughout the writing. For example, if they use a question style than all headings should be questions, if the headings are direct than all of them should be direct, etc. I remind them that the purpose of the heading is to help the reader and having different style headings can actually make it more confusing for the reader.

Students then go off to work on brainstorming headings for their report as well as publishing their report.


5 minutes

To finish the lesson, students get to share their favorite heading in their report. If there is time, I give every student a chance to share with the entire class, if not, they can share with a neighbor or their table group. 

For a few students, after they share their heading, I ask someone else in the class to predict what the section is about. I do that to reinforce the idea that the headings are meant to inform the reader. The reader or other student should be able to accurately predict the section connected to the heading.