Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Writing Workshop Session 3 (Research-Based Information Writing)

Preparing to Write Informational Essays

Finding and Supporting Key Points

If you can't yet see a whole picture = you need to research more...

If you can see the whole picture = you are now able to break the topic into key parts - and you are on your way to being able to teach it to someone else

 Today I want to teach you that when writers want to become experts on a topic they read, trying to build a mental model of the whole topic.  This means that if they read about one example or one part of the topic, they think, "How does this go with what I know about the whole topic?"

(Model thinking and writing about a topic on a document camera - see page 24)

With a little thinking and writing you can grow an idea about one bit of a topic (one ear of the elephant) that might actually pertain to more of the whole topic (the whole elephant).

Active Engagement:
Turn to your writing partner and talk about the steps we took that got us to uncover what may be a key, overall point.

*Add to the Power-Learning and Note Taking Chart*

  • Freewrite about the topic, trying to grow insights, then see if the insights are applicable or true to the topic as a whole, or just to one case in point.

Continue researching and growing the big picture about this topic in general.  Next you'll be flash drafting an information essay on teen activism.

*Review the pointers and jot notes in the margins to remind yourself of whatever tips you think you need to remember

One theory I heard was the idea that teen activist change themselves, becoming different as a result of doing their work.  What a theory!

Another one I saw was the idea that one way teen activism begins is with a single moment of inspiration

Remember - once you have an idea about teen activists, write about it and tell a few examples... and more importantly - think of a way you can BUILD on that idea forming KEY POINTS

Let's look at the idea that one way teen activism begins is with a single moment of inspiration...

We can build on this by saying:

Teen activism begins in different ways.
  • A single moment of inspiration 
  • Repeated personal experiences with the issue
Let's take the theory that teen activism often involves a group of people working together to do something good...

The next key point could be that teen activism also involves people who work by themselves.

Teen activists work in different ways.
  • Some teen activists work together in small groups
  • Other teen activists work alone

Here's another key point:
Teen activist get support in different ways

  • Some teen actives get support from adults
  • Some teen activists get support from other kids
  • A few teen activists rely only on themselves for support
Think about your first key point and see if you can build off that point by finding another one that is closely related to it.  See the following list to help you!

Moving from One Key Point to a Plan for Logical Informational Essay

  • If you've noticed ONE way (teens overcome obstacles or change people), what might be ANOTHER WAY?
  • If you found ONE cause or reason (for teen activism), what might be ANOTHER cause or reason?
  • If you found ONE effect (that teen activism created), what might be ANOTHER effect?
  • If you found ONE source of support (for teen activists), what might be ANOTHER source of support?
  • If you found ONE trait (of teen activists), what might be ANOTHER?
Homework: Continue to write and research, locating evidence to develop key points

Work on matching up each of your key points with the text evidence that led you there.  Take the texts home and mark them up - or write your key points in your writers notebook - adding in examples of evidence

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