Biography: Drafting an Informative Essay

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SWBAT use the writing process to write an informative essay that groups related information together by using brief notes.

Big Idea

Students have concluded five days of research. They gathered information from multiple print and digital sources about a famous person of their choosing. It is time to write the informative essay.


20 minutes

To begin the lesson, I displayed our science text as a mentor text for organization as I had done at the beginning of the research project. I did it to remind students how authors organize information to make it understandable to the reader. I wanted students to make the connection with reading informational text and how it is structured. It begins with a main idea and continues with supporting details.

I pointed out the Informational Writing Checklist poster. It contained items to include in their writing. Next, I displayed my step book on the document camera and pointed out how similar facts were grouped by topic, i.e., Family, Childhood. Finally, I modeled using my brief notes to begin writing my draft about Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla from the first step, which was family.

I conducted a Think Aloud to walk students through the process of turning notes into complete sentences. Modeling in this manner allowed them to see the step-by-step process of turning short phrases into complete sentences to convey a complete message for an audience. I started with the topic sentence and wrote supporting details. After I wrote about the family, I used the next step to write about his childhood. As I wrote, I continued to emphasize that each sentence related to the respective step or topic; the supporting details. I stopped at the first two steps. This writing task required students to write over an extended time frame. Therefore, so they would write about the remaining topics the following day.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Students used their step books to begin writing their drafts. I reminded them to use the Informational Writing Checklist poster. I conferenced with them individually as they worked. I did this to see if they were able to turn their brief notes into complete sentences. They had done this before, so most were proficient. If a student had trouble, I used questioning as a means of support, i.e., How could we turn that into a sentence? What would be a good way to start a sentence about the names of his parents?


10 minutes

Students read what they had written and compared it to the brief notes in their step book. It was a form of self-assessment to check if they had included all information from their notes. Some students crossed off notes as they wrote as a means of keeping track. They also checked to make sure they had included a topic sentence and supporting details.