Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reading for a Purpose: Procedural Texts & Chalky Snowman Art

Our current text-type study focuses on procedural texts, which fit in well with our preparations for Farmer Appreciation Day because students needed to read recipes to bake cookies for the event.  However, once we'd finished baking cookies and no longer had an authentic purpose for reading recipes, I still wanted to explore other types of procedural texts with students.

We had learned that procedural texts give instructions or explain how to do something, so I was searching for books in my school and personal collection that would be good examples.  My Scholastic book order arrived with the book "50 Christmas Things to Make and Do" and I had an idea!  What if students could study procedural texts that explained how to do Christmas crafts/art and then we could actually use that reading for the purpose of selecting and completing our art activities?

I explained my idea to my students, and they were enthusiastic to start!  As a part of  our reading this week, we read instructions for three different crafts.  It was really important for students to be engaged in these reading lessons, because they would actually have to be able to follow the instructions to complete the art at the end of the week.  After reading, we discussed our ideas and opinions as a class.  Comments such as "this one seems too hard" or "I really like that idea" or "I've already done a craft like that" came up.

After the discussion, students asked if they could vote for a favorite to make this week.   The Chalky Snowman was most popular, so we reread those directions to make a list of supplies we'd need.  With a list from the students, I could get supplies ready for our art time.

We completed our art at the end of the week and the snowmen turned out beautifully!  We also started working on shared writing titled "How to Make a Chalky Snowman" which we will complete next week and share with all of you, so that you can also make yourself a "Chalky Snowman"!

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