One of the things that I find rising to the top of many conversations with my educator friends sounds something like this, “Okay, so I get my kids to write, but then I realize they don’t know how to write about CERTAIN TYPES OF TEXT!”
What we’re realizing is that kids may know how to write, but that writing skill is not translating from, for example, the ELA instruction. Kids can write an informational piece, but when it comes to writing in response to certain types of text, they act like we’ve never taught them anything!
Well, if you know me, you know that I am OBSESSED with making things simpler. I’m not interesting in dumbing things down or simplifying things where they don’t need to be simplified, but still – I keep thinking, THIS HAS TO BE EASIER THAN WE’RE MAKING IT!
So…I’ve been doing some thinking about how we can write in response to text. With new state tests and the new Standards, we’re realizing that our kids not only have to be able to write, but write in response to what they’ve read. Those are two different sets of skills altogether…and we’ve got to get started teaching them!
So, I’ve decided to write a series of blogs that help us teach kids how to respond SIMPLY to what they’ve read. This is the first blog in the series! We are starting simple here, people!
The Steps in Writing a Factual Description (A written response to informational/factual text where the writer describes something using facts)
Step 1: Introductory Statement (Example: In Arthur Groening’s article, “The Rise and Fall of the Social Media Age”, he introduces the idea that social media will diminish in popularity by 2035.)
Step 2: Describe (in a logical order) different points of the subject (Example: Groening makes three main point in his article:
- People will return to anonymity after being so exposed through social media and realizing its dangers
- Regulations for internet security will be so cumbersome that alternate, more private forms of communication will be necessary
- Social media will become about mostly advertising, therefore turning regular social user off
Step 3: Concluding Statement (Example: Groening closes his article by warning readers that social media, although valuable, is not necessarily the vehicle for long-term connection within society)
So, these three simple steps should be taught to support kids as they give a general overview of a piece of descriptive text – simple!