Informational Writing in the Kindergarten Classroom
Teaching informational writing in the kindergarten classroom can seem daunting. I mean we are still teaching them to sit at Circle Time patiently for at least 5 minutes. Am I right? Are your kids still trying to write a sentence and remember a capital and period? I get it! BUT informational writing doesn’t HAVE to be hard!!!!! In fact, it’s one of my favorite types of writing to teach. Kids are fascinated by facts so it’s easy to get them hooked. Here are a few tips to help you teach it too.
Use Videos, PowerPoints Or Books To Teach Facts
Figure out a way to present the facts to your students. You can check out a book from your school or public library OR purchase a book from Scholastic or Amazon. Kids LOVE to look at photographs of realistic things (animals, plants, weather, etc.). You can create (or find) PowerPoints that have information about different topics or even find a video on YouTube. Make sure to preview the book, video or PowerPoint and have an idea of the facts your kids might find interesting so that you can help them if they get stuck.
Use Anchor Charts
To display the facts, use anchor charts. Venn Diagrams are great for assisting with informational writing and so are Can/Have/Are posters.
We begin by brainstorming facts then give them come anchor words that will help them not only come up with more facts but will be able to write them too. This is done orally (although you can write the facts on the poster board or a white board). Labeling pictures is also a great way to help students who aren’t ready for full sentences.
Have you ever had students ask for your help writing down their sentences and you find yourself sitting next to them for a full five minutes listening to one VERY long sentence? Can’t spell ONE word but wants to write an entire dissertation? How do you help this student with 15 other students needing your help at the same time? My answer is allowing them to plan out their writing by illustrating the facts and maybe label if ready. This way you are helping them sound out one or two words instead of the entire thing! Find a way for your students to draw and plan out their facts with a one or two word label to help them remember what they were thinking.
Differentiate Informational Writing Pages
No matter when you teach informational writing, you will have students of all levels. Some students will need more structure and other students can have more writing freedom. Some students might work on one or two facts and other students might write four facts. Some students might need more space for their writing because they form larger letters and other students may be ready to use handwriting lines. Keep all these things in mind when you have your students get ready to write out their facts. Here are some examples:
There are a couple options your students have with these two pages (which are foldable books). The first page is more structured and allows for one to two word answers (but could be longer). It also allows for illustrations or for students who need to write larger. The second page allows for more writing freedom where the students come up with their own facts without the support of anchor words. It also allows for smaller and more controlled handwriting.
Day 1: Present the information, brainstorm facts in a whole group and illustrate/label the facts independently.
Day 2: Work on writing out the facts in complete sentences into a book or full page report and illustrate.
Day 3: Continue the process from yesterday (depending on how long you have for writing sessions and how many facts they are writing).
Day 4: Share the reports either in partners or in front of the class.
You might have everything you need to do this on your own. If so, that’s great! However, if you want any part of this process already done for you click on the pictures below and you can use these resources to assist you in making informational writing simply fabulous!
For the Informational Writing Bundles check the description for links to individual resources and other seasonal bundles.
For the animal reports check the description for links to individual resources and bundles to ocean animals and farm animals.
If you found this helpful, you might also enjoy reading about how I teach Opinion Writing. If so, check out this blogpost:
5 Steps To Assist Early Writers With Opinion Writing