We just finished writing biographies about classmates and are diving head first into more nonfiction writing - Informational Texts. Yesterday we discussed a very important word: Research. We made an anchor chart to discuss what research was. For our texts students will write about an animal. We will use 3 sources: nonfiction books, the internet, and an encyclopedia. We also brainstormed sub-topics that to research for our animals.
It's always interesting to hear where they think we should look online for research. Most of them said "Google". While I'm definitely a big fan of googling myself I want them to learn to use information from reliable sources. Our school subscribes to Pebble Go, an online nonfiction listening library, so we used that. I highly recomend Pebble Go as it is an awesome way to expose young children to nonfiction that they will understand. My kids love watching the short "video" of each animal along with listening to the sounds.
Next I showed how to write an opening paragraph and then copy down 3 facts for each topic. My kiddos were shocked at how simple it really was to make their plan! I also had them pick a few key vocabulary words for each page and think about a text feature that would make the page more interesting.
The planning page is available for free on TPT. I recommend copying it onto 11x17 paper as it gives the kiddos more room to write.