Monday, December 15, 2014

Finding Some Creative Ways to End Information Writing Pieces

Thanks to Stacey, Dana, Tara, Betsy, Anna, and Beth, the amazing writers and thinkers who host the Slice of Life community every Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to join with posts or comments at!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working in some of our third grade classrooms as they have been working their way through our information writing unit. We wanted to try some different techniques for students to try out as endings. Yesterday, I shared some of the titles that we used as mentor texts as an It's Monday! What Are You Reading post, but I also taught the lesson with one of the teachers.

We planned the lesson as an inquiry, so we began with a chart that needed filling out. As the students studied the collection of books I had gathered from our library, they began to realize some of the different and creative ways that nonfiction writers sometimes use as endings.

I had way too much to get on to that chart fast! Tomorrow, I will photocopy some of the pages and include those on the chart, as well. The students surpassed my expectations of what they would find! My chart isn't as picture perfect as I would have liked, but charts don't have to be, and the kids loved the quest for different endings!

Nicola Davies used the circular ending in two of the books we studied, one of my favorite ending techniques. I highly recommend checking out her books, Surprising Sharks and Big Blue Whale. These are NOT your typical fact-oriented books and her endings are super fun!

Then came my favorite part of our writing workshop because the students tried out different sorts of endings. One girl wrote about Christmas decorating and began her piece with the bare tree in the hallway, ending with the star on the top. In between, she wrote all about the decorations in her house.

Finally, I just put my silver star on the top of my tree. I hope you liked my book and one more thing--Merry Christmas!
 Another boy tried out the "imagine" technique:
Imagine TH School with no gym, no exercise, and only lazy people. Well, that's what it'll be like with no gym.
As you can see from the chart and the growing collection of names on the "Who has tried it?" column, many more students experimented with more playful endings, inspired by a collection of mentor texts and my favorites nonfiction inspiration, Georgia Heard's Finding the Heart of Nonfiction.

Happy slicing, writing, and teaching!



  1. I love inquiry in writing! Thanks for sharing powerful teaching. It really makes the kids notice and be intentional in their work.

  2. Love this work Melanie! Just yesterday a student went to a book on his own to consider revising his introduction. I was glad he knew to do this and I need to do more of it! Thank you so much for sharing this. Love the chart and the "who's tried this" column. While I don't have you as my official coach, I am so grateful to have your blog and thoughtful presence in my cyber life!

  3. Love that you've followed up yesterday's mentor text post, Melanie, & that the students enjoyed trying out new endings. I love more info, & the chart helps too.

  4. LOVE the way this lesson flowed - it felt intentional and organic all at once. That chart is one I'm saving for our unit!

  5. Yep, love this idea. Love that you made it an an inquiry to hook them in. I too will be remembering this chart for future work with my kiddos. Thank you Melanie. :)

  6. You've captured my attention in this quest for different endings to nonfiction books! I've never thought about that. Great lesson - great chart!

  7. This is great! I need to get Georgia Heard's book. Teaching with mentor texts and choice makes the students responsible for their writing; they gain a sense of ownership. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Nice work, Melanie! Our third graders are just starting their informational writing and this inquiry into types of endings and the interactive chart will be a great addition to this unit. Thanks so much for sharing, and for reminding me to reread Georgia Heard's book over vacation!