I begin today's lesson by saying to students, "you know so much about plants now. You have done experiments with the celery drinking up the colored water, with plants growing with fresh and salt water, with plants growing in light and dark. You have taken apart plants and studied plants that grow in the salt marsh. Each time you learned many things about plants. I am going to hand you back your plant journals so you can refer to them as you write your own "All About Plants" book."
I hand out a small folded booklet all about plants book.pdf that has All About Plants by ___________ on the cover, a Table of Contents Page and then 5 pages each with a line for the Heading. I say, "you are going to first put your name on the cover and the date on the inside of the cover because all books tell when they are published or made." After that is done, I say "before you fill in the table of contents for your books lets generate a list of topics you might include." Students suggest ideas such as Stem, Root, Petal, Pollinating Plants, How Plants Grow, What Plants Need to Survive, Seeds, The Life Cycle of a Plant, etc. and I write them all on the board.
Now I say, " you will need to pick 5 of these, or if you have other ideas, you may use your own headings. I want you to write the 5 topics you are going to put in your book on the Table of Contents." I give students time to do this.
Now I say, "Now you will write about each of those topics on a different page of your booklet. You will need to copy the heading onto the line on that page and then write at least 3 good sentences to explain the topic. You should also add pictures or diagrams to each page."
I give students time to write their books, using their own journal pages for reference as needed. I circulate around the room to offer support and to conference with students about what they are working on.
When students are done writing the books, I collect them and review what they have written. I am looking to see if they mention how plants need sun, water and soil to grow, do they know what pollination means and do they have an idea about the parts of the plants and that there are many diverse plants that can live in a single habitat. These things stem from the NGSS for second grade life science topics.
When all books are written,Table of Contents, 2 pages, Single Page I arrange a writer's share time. I group the students into sets of 3. I give each student a chance to share his/her book with the others in the group. This allows the students to see each other's pictures and to hear what has been written. The books are too long for a whole class share.