The Experts - Day 1

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SWBAT create a heading and Table of Contents that will assist them as they write an information piece of writing teaching others what they have learned about the patterns of our celestial objects.

Big Idea

Did you know that we are space experts? We are going to write a nonfiction piece of writing teaching what we know about our patterns in space!!

Setting the Stage:

National Science Education Science Standards Connection:

The National Science Education Standards has said that making observations is key to inquiry-based and discovery-focused learning in science instruction. In order to do this students participate in inquiry-based learning that allows them to solve a problem in science through observation, discourse and using a science journal. In this lesson students will use their science journals to help construct a nonfiction teaching book, that teaches others what they know about our celestial patterns.

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this lesson students are asked to use their science journals, investigation worksheets and any other materials in their science journals from our investigations on our celestial patterns.  My students will use this information to construct a culminating writing project that allows them to show off what they know on the standard 1-ESS1.

ELA Common Core

The ELA CCSS asks that students write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.  In this lesson students will be writing nonfiction text to share what they know about the patterns of our celestial objects. Nonfiction reading and writing is the most common type of text that is used in the professional world. To support our young students they will need to learn how to navigate through the steps of our writing process - develop ideas, plan, draft, revise, edit and publish. It is suggested that students have multiple experiences in teaching nonfiction writing.  Throughout the school year my students have engaged in learning how to write nonfiction using actual nonfiction units of study designed for a writing workshop.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.


Unit Anchor Charts

Table of Contents

Writing Paper

Science Journal:  Materials from our unit Celestial Patterns: The Sun, The Moon and Stars

Accountable Talk Anchor Chart

Planning & Researching:

15 minutes

I decided to add a section to this lesson that allows students to first develop an idea and do a little research before diving into our mini lesson.  Being that this is only a 3-day series, much of the work that goes into teaching nonfiction writing has occurred while teaching a unit on nonfiction writing. In order to become familiar with what the the CCSS has asked of our young writers I use a variety of resources. One resource that has supported my development in writing workshop are Lucy Calkins Units of Study.

Boys and girls, you have learned so much about patterns in space.  Right now please turn and tell your turn and talk partner one things you have learned about these patterns.

As my students share I simply listen in on conversations.  When I bring the class back together I point out a few things I hear students say.

Thank you for sharing! I heard so many great things.  Erica said that she learned that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west - that is a pattern.  Will said that he learned that the stars are in the sky all the time but you can only see them at night because of the sun - that is a pattern too!  I heard Hunter say he learned that the moon moves across our sky - that is also a pattern. 

I hang up all three of our completed KLEWS charts

Let's look at all of the stuff we have learned in our Celestial Patterns unit. 

Together we review our KLEWS charts. 

My students have a lot of experience writing teaching books or nonfiction books.  We have already had a publishing party. You may need to add a few extra lessons to support your students in developing a plan by having them tell what they know across their fingers. For example: The sun has patterns, the moon has patterns and the stars have patterns.  Those 3 topics could make 3 different pages of writing. 

Today you will be creating a teaching book that teaches your parents, your friends and even our principal about the patterns of our stars, moon and sun. You have learned so much about these patterns that I cannot wait to see what you come up with.  During our writing time you learned how to do so many great things that "expert writers" do. I show my students our different anchor charts that we created during our writing time. Today I want you to start by making a plan for this teaching book. I give my students a few minutes to get some ideas. Once my students give me a thumbs up signalling they have a plan, I ask them to share their plans with their turn and talk partners. I listen in on these plans and help guide some of the ideas.  After a few minutes I bring them back together.

I am so amazed watching you develop ideas for this writing. I LOVE that you even told your big ideas across your fingers. You remembered that that is a great tool for getting your writing organized.

I share my observations and what I heard and then pass out our Table of Contents and have them write their big ideas on each line. During this time I provide support to my students by conferring and checking in on their work. 

Mini lesson

15 minutes

The NGSS asks that we integrate the science standards with the Common Core ELA and math standards. In this lessons students use their knowledge on 1-ESS1-1 to construct a nonfiction writing piece that teaches others about the patterns of our celestial objects.

Connection: A connection is a way of activating prior knowledge to what the students have already been learning.

Boys and girls, we have created a very important tool that will help keep our writing organized and help our readers to find information quickly in our books: A TABLE OF CONTENTS! This tool will help you with the work you will be doing today.

Teaching Point: A teaching point focuses on the one small skill or strategy being taught.

Today, you will be learning how to add headings to your pages that will match your Table of Contents. This is something you have never done before.  The last time we made a Table of Contents we did it a different way. We took our headings and then created our Table of Contents but writers there are many ways to get our writing organized and today you will learn a new way.  A heading is a title at the head of each section in a book.  These headings help our reading know what it is they are reading about. 

I LOVE using mentor texts in my mini lessons as well as modeling my own writing.  For this lesson I will be doing both.  I love how Kelly Boswell says in her book, Write this Way: How Modeling Transforms the Writing Classroom.  If you think about it, modeling plays an important role in how the human brain learns almost anything. Infants and toddlers watch their caregivers talk, walk, and eat with a spoon. Piano students notice and note the way the instructor's hands are placed on the keys when playing scales. Tennis players watch and listen as the coach demonstrates how to serve the ball. Student teachers observe a master teacher before teaching lessons on their own.

I show my students the book Sharks?????? by ????. We begin by looking at the Table of Contents.  I read the title for page 1. 

Boys and girl, do you see what I am seeing.  The Table of Contents says ............. when I turn to that the page the heading says the exact same thing.  I am going to try the same thing for my book. 

I show my students my Table of Contents and then on my anchor chart I write  my heading by writing the exact same thing I wrote on my Table of Contents. I point out how I was careful to capitalize my heading. I model this two times for my students.

Active Engagement:

Now it is your turn, I want you to look at my next line on my own Table of Contents.  What do you see? The students all yell out!  They are all super engaged and ready to show off what they know. Who would like to come up and label my next page on my book? I allow my students to share the pen and help me create the rest of my headings on my teaching book. 

Today, you will each need to one piece of paper for each big teaching idea you have on your Table of Contents. Let's look at Erica. She wrote; the patterns of the sun, the patterns of the moon and the patterns of the stars.  She will need 3 pieces of paper - one for the Patterns of the Moon, one for the Patterns of the Stars and one for the Patterns of the Sun.   At the top of each page she will write her headings just like we did together.


Today and everyday when you create a teaching book you can use a Table of Contents and headings to help you organized your writing and to help your reader find information in your book. Are you ready to give this a go? Great! Let's get started!!

I send my students off to create their headings and start their writing.

Independent Writing:

20 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. In this lesson the students use their thoughts and ideas for their their science journals to help construct their writing. I tell my students to use the work from our science lessons (Investigation worksheets and science journals) to help construct their writing. During this independent work time students use their own scientific research to clarify ideas, thoughts and learning from our unit.

ELA Integration: Independent writing is writing time designated after a mini lesson when students get to go off and practice what has been taught. During this time students write by themselves with varying levels of support from the teacher. The student writes for a specific purpose with a clear understanding of the skills and strategies expected during this time. 

As my students write I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching.

Mid-Workshop Teaching Point: Boys and girls, look up here!! Can you see this work? I have placed Erica's writing on the document camera. Look at what Erica did. Do you see her headings match her Table of Contents perfectly!! Now she is ready to write. As you finish your headings, you may get started writing too!  I can't wait to see what you write about the patterns in our sky.

Partner Work:

10 minutes

It is suggested that teachers assign partners who will stay together for a long stretch of time. I assign new partnerships each month however I use my workshop partners multiple times throughout our school day, each day and in just about every subject area. Partner work can help support the work being done throughout the day and these partners can be used in reading, writing, math, social and science. In my classroom partners support each other with planning, revising, editing, investigating and solving problems together. During my partner time I am able to confer with partnerships to support and extend the work children are doing together.

I ask my students to find their workshop partner to share the work they have completed today. All of my students have completed their headings and are ready to dive into the tough work drafting. Each partner's job is to check to make sure the headings of their partner's writing matches the Table of Content.


5 minutes

At the end of every writing session I celebrate the work my writers have done that day. I ask my students to bring their writing to the carpet and stand along the edge facing in.  Each child holds up their writing for everyone to see.  We cheer and yell, "Hip-Hooray, we created headings in our scientific writing today!"

I ask my students to quickly sit down, Boys and girls today you have a great start to your scientific writing. You created a Table of Contents and headings and now you are ready to draft your piece of writing!!  I want you to be thinking about what you want to write for each of your sections.  I know you have a lot to share and I can't wait to see what you do!

Would anyone like to share their scientific writing?  I ask only a couple of my students to share their writing/headings/Table of Contents thus far. After each child has shared I show my students our anchor chart on accountable talk and ask my students to give feedback on the scientific data presented today. Students respond with I agree because... or I disagree because ..... This is a great tool for helping students to include factual data in their scientific writing.