We came back to school refreshed and ready to start the new year. With the new year, we begin a new writing unit to create “all-about” books. Students are tapping into their inner-experts. They are thinking about what topics they know enough about in order to be able to write a book with multiple chapters. They are making cross-curricular connections, like noticing that many books we have in our classroom library or have read in reading groups are all-about books. They are also realizing that they can use these nonfiction books to do research about their topic. We even had to pause for a “teachable moment” about plagiarizing in order to distinguish between copying and researching.
We have also discussed that, although “how-to” writing was also informational, “all-about” writing is a bit different. An all-about book may contain a how-to section, but should have more than that. All-about writing may be divided into chapters based on content, and students have used graphic organizers in order to plan how they will be categorizing their information for their books. Some students have asked if they can work together on their books, and I thought it was a great idea to collaborate on this type of writing. A diversity of knowledge will lead to more comprehensive content, and there is a natural division of labor when different chapters are written by different students. Stay tuned for books all about math, trains, Pokémon, flowers, and “What Andrew Knows.”
is a classroom teacher on the K-2 team. Before moving to Chicago, Melanie lived in Philadelphia and worked for five years as lead kindergarten teacher at Mastery Charter Mann Elementary School. Previous to that, Melanie lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught at an independent school in Oakland, California. Melanie has her B.A. in psychology with a minor in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her teaching degree from San Francisco State University with a focus on social justice in education.
In her free time, Melanie loves playing ultimate Frisbee, drinking coffee, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and baby daughter.