Thursday, March 15, 2012

Choice is Key for Expository Writing

We just started our expository writing unit.  When I said that out loud to the students, most of them turned and looked at each other like I said something in a foreign language. Next I put this wordle up that I created with their research topics and I told them these were their expository topics.-lightbulb moment.  The students chose their topics.  Last year, I followed the same procedure for research-CHOICE, CHOICE and more CHOICE.  The students chose their topic, their 3 research questions, and how they were going to organize their notes.  This was really important this year because I have six students who are still struggling with lifting the important details from non fiction articles, and I really need to teach them how to take guided notes.  I am excited to say not only those six students chose #3 but nine other students did too. All 15 like the structure of the notes.
Finally, Mr. Mark and I helped the students set up their WIKI page which this year the students will be having a virtual conversation about each others subject in addition they will be able to keep  all their links and pictures on their page which will help them when they create their Baileyopolis page.  We're on the right track with 3 weeks ahead of intense research and then the fun starts with creating their own WONDER page.
This is the model for our class WIKI.


  1. I'm putting together an end of the year research project for my kiddos in science. I want them to choose the path of their research. Your post made my decision much easier. Thanks!!

  2. Thanks Jordan for the comment and thanks for following my blog. My students are really enjoying their topics-it's all about choice.

  3. My students are currently making non-fiction picture books and choice is the key! Ideas are ranging from Cedar Point to Japan, from wolves to frogs, from guitars to synchronized swimming...oh the places they will go! Aren't we all more motivated when there is an intrinsic purpose? I think sometimes we can become overwhelmed by the idea of the students working on such a wide variety that is not confined to specific subtopics. I have found success when students do one paragraph and then create a new wonder off of what they now know for their second paragraph...etc...The questions are deeper and thoughtful. Good luck and thanks for including us on your new journey!

  4. Maria, I couldn't agree more about the importance of choice. We are currently creating a Desertopolis site based on Wonderopolis. The kids are so excited in this work and I know that choice makes all the difference. I like the use of the wiki. I may need to get more information from you about that.

  5. Tracy: I love how you have students research and then build another wonder. Great idea!!

    Julie: Love the desertopolis idea I will be sharing that with some other folks at my school. Ecosystems wonders great idea. Feel free to comment if you would like more info about WIKI. So far it has been an amazing digital storage for all their links. In addition, great feed back to each other.