Tired of Traditional Informational Reports?
Try these creative writing formats instead! Informational reports and essays sparkle with fresh presentational ideas, when your students are engaged in writing across the content areas.
If your students have studied or written biographies and autobiographies, then they are experienced in reading and critiquing the facts of a human life. Usually, in these narratives, the events are arranged sequentially. However, in most informational reports or books, facts are organized by concept...that is, around a central theme.
- focus on a specific subject or controlling concept.
- lend support to the controlling concept with plenty of facts.
- organize the facts in such a way that the reader learns easily about the subject or concept.
- use clear examples and descriptions to explain ideas that may be new to the reader.
"So how do I translate these four points into an interesting, hands-on activity?" you ask.
Creative Applications to Tease Your Thinking!
- Chart Critiques: Have literature circles read and critique several informational books on the same topic. Develop a comparison chart with columns based on the above four points. Present to the class.
- Research Swap Meet: Have students research different topics and swap notes with a partner. Partners then write fictional stories based upon the factual information from their classmate's research.
- "You Are There!" Interviews: Have students use their research to write dialogues between themselves and selected historical figures. In their "interviews", they should ask questions and have the historical figures answer appropriately based on what is known about their lives and the eras in which they lived. Dramatize these interviews as one-act plays.
- "Long Lost" Scientific Logs or Historical Journals: Based upon the informational research, have students keep multi-day logs or journals about scientific or historical topics, complete with "antique" maps or illustrations.
- The Family Photo Album: Illustrate the controlling concept and facts through photos, paintings, or drawings, bound together in a scrapbook format. Add written captions that describe the visual information.
- Comic Collections: Using a comic strip format, write the actual informational report in the speech or thought bubbles!
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