Informative Writing through For Dummies How-To Books

I found a great and relevant web 2.0 tool today, Dummies Book Cover Generator, by way of the blog by Burkins and Yaris Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy, who featured a blog post by To Make a Prairie called Information Writing for Dummies.  With the roll-out of the Common Core, everyone is wondering where genre studies, especially in writing, fits in.  We all know that narrative, informative, and persuasive are not genres, but the authors of the Common Core have placed equal emphasis on these three "types" of writing as ELA standards W.1, W.2 and W.3.  

To accomplish informative writing (that's not a boring five step essay) and content integration with a fun web 2.0 twist {that kids will love}, consider doing a "Dummies books" study to determine how to write a Dummies book and important parts it should include. After looking at several Dummies books, have students look for similarities in word choice, structure and patterns and create a Dummies Text Structure poster with students similar to this one created by the blog author over at To Make a Prairie.

Dummies Books for Dummies Chart created by Vicki Vinton and her 5th grade students

 then have students select a topic from a science or social studies unit to research and write a How-To book on one area of the unit.  For example, for a third grade (or any grade that covers state history) social studies unit on pioneers and early life in North Carolina, consider having students write a How-To For Dummies book on a pioneer skill.  Students can select or you can provide topic suggestions like the ones below: 

Download this sheet here

   To see my complete lesson on integrating social studies, ELA and technology using the pioneer topics, CLICK HERE. 

Happy Reading! -Jen Jones



YearntoLearn said...

What a genious idea. Love the Dummy Book generator.

Yearn to Learn Blog

Kelley Dolling said...

Jen . . .you are flat out fantastic. Going to re-fill my iced tea and cruise your back posts for a bit. I about slobbered all over myself when I saw your fonts. HELLO . . . I am in LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing. I am so excited to be following you :)

Kelley Dolling
Teacher Idea Factory

Jennifer Jones said...

Kelley! I LOVE followers like you...thank you for taking time to read my blog AND leave such an outstanding comment! It's comments like yours that make me keep doing it when there piles of laundry and bathrooms that need to be cleaned! You're awesome! -Jen

Kate said...

What a great Web 2.0 find! I love how adding a clever twist is all it takes to liven up a writing project. Thank you so much for sharing!

PS: I am a brand new teacher blogger and would love for you to stop by!

EduKate and Inspire

vvinton said...

Hello Jen!

I've gotten a fair amount of views on my blog from your link and I just wanted to thank you so much for including a credit line on the Dummies chart I created with the kids. I also loved today's post on thinking about strategies for skills, since we usually need multiple strategies for complicated skills. So . . . I'm glad we found each other!


Back to Top