I use my Procedural Text Flipchart to assess prior knowledge and give background information to my students. Then, we look at various gardening and landscaping books that I checked out from the library. I do a digital search for information together with my students and project the website so we can all examine the features of Procedural text for gardening. This gardening lesson was actually my students' ideas. We took an interest survey, and students were interested in analyzing procedural texts for gardening. They had done a previous Science activity on gardening, which sparked their interest. Basing a lesson on student interests guarantees engagement.
Student outcome of their text analysis indicate that the major components they found relevant are: list of materials, background information on plants and needs (sunlight, water, types of soil, etc), directions, and diagrams or pictures to clarify instructions. With these features in mind, I ask students to plan writing their own gardening manual based on either personal experiences or text they have read. I include a Procedural Writing-Graphic Organizer to assist students in the planning process.
I first model to students how to fill out the graphic organizer in the first section as well as a Procedural Writing Analysis Organizer. I tell students that mapping out your plan for writing is a great tool for organizing your ideas. Students can use a model such as the garden manual that we are doing together and transfer what they learned to their own writing. We complete a sample text together and discuss the relevant elements in this genre of writing. As they become authors of informational text during this activity, it is important to understand the purpose of their writing, which is addressed on the analysis organizer. Once, students are ready, I gradually release ownership by pairing students to work with partners in creating their own Garden Manual. Each partner will have samples as well as the graphic organizers to concretely guide them in this process.
Our classroom library has various texts on gardening. Digital sources can be attained from laptops and movies about gardening. I provide multiple sources in the classroom for students to research their topic. I formatively assess my students as they work and assist as needed. My favorite way of documenting observations is using my flip camera. I watch the videotapes and make note of what types of differentiation strategies students need.
Students shared the procedures for gardening. As evident in student artifact, Planting a Flower Garden Manual, and oral presentation, Planting a Flower Garden Presentation, the procedures were very basic at this point in time. Students are limited in their pior knowledge of gardening. After much discussion with other resource teachers, our media specialist has offered to conduct research with my students during their library time focusing on plants indigenous to Florida. She is actually going to plant a garden with them as a culminating activity. Common Core should incorporate writing across the curriculum. This is a great opportunity to integrate other subjects to build students' knowledge and create a foundation for further learning.