Informational Writing By: Mrs. Shipley Line of Inquiry • How do I effectively organize information in a paper to inform someone about something? Provocation Thumbs up if you agree with the following statement---Thumbs down if you do not agree with the following statement 1. Informational writing is trying to persuade someone to do something. 2. Informational writing is multiparagraph. 3. Informational writing uses facts, statistics, personal experiences and knowledge to help readers understand more about a topic. 4. Informational writing does not have a clear controlling idea. 5. Informational writing uses specific details, illustrations, examples, and explanations to help readers understand information. Defining Informational Writing • Informational Writing: Writing that enhances the reader’s understanding of a topic by instructing, explaining, clarifying, describing, or examining a subject or concept. • Method • Provides facts, statistics, descriptive details, comparison/contrast, analysis, evaluation, definition, humor, and personal anecdotes. What Informational Writing Is and Is Not An effective informational composition . . . An effective informational composition is NOT: Establishes a clear controlling idea Copying words or information from the writing topic Uses clear, complete descriptions and/or A list of facts, a story, and/or personal explanations to develop the controlling idea anecdotes that do not inform the reader about the topic Contains an appropriate organizational strategy A response in which ideas are not presented in for the purpose of explanation, description, logical order comparison and contrast, or problem and solution Is multi-paragraph writing A single paragraph Fully develops the controlling idea with specific Formulaic writing or a repetitive, standard details and examples five-paragraph formula that overshadows the information instead of explaining it Blends personal experience and knowledge to An encyclopedic coverage of facts or an inform the reader about the topic abundance of facts that are unrelated to the topic What Informational Writing Is and Is Not An effective informational composition . . . An effective informational composition is NOT: Uses a lively writing voice that develops the Flat, uninteresting writing reader's interest Uses engaging language and varied sentences An essay that contains imprecise language and little sentence variety Introduces the reader to the topic, fully Writing that provides information without develops the topic, and provides a sense of introducing, developing, and/or concluding the closure topic May use a short narrative in the introduction Writing that consists entirely of a story that to engage the audience does not inform the reader about the topic Contains correct sentences, usage, grammar, Incorrect sentences, usage, grammar, and and spelling that make the writer's ideas spelling that prevent the reader from understandable understanding the writer's ideas Overview of Ways to Organize Informational Writing Purpose: What is the writer describing or explaining? -Introduction -Descriptive information -Conclusion -Introduction -Description of events in chronological order -Conclusion -Introduction -Comparison/contrast -Conclusion Types of Informational Writing • Analyzing • Answering research questions • Clarifying • Composing letters • Defining terms • Describing scientific processes • Drawing conclusions • Examining cause and effect relationships • Interviewing expert sources • Making comparisons and observations • Offering directions or instructions • Predicting • Problem solving • Recounting historical events • Reflecting on personal experiences • Reporting facts and hypotheses • Summarizing information and ideas Purpose • The purpose of informational writing is to help the reader understand a topic or concept. • Although the writer may include opinions in an informational piece, the writer’s purpose is not to persuade the reader. • A reader should be able to pick up a paper without knowing the assigned topic or the type of writing assigned and be able to understand the writer’s purpose. • A reader should be able to tell if he/she is reading a report, an argument, a narrative or a response to literature. Point of View • Point of view is the perspective a writer uses to approach the informational topic. • Academic: The student may write in the style of an encyclopedia without any reference to personal experiences with the topic. • Personal: The student may write from personal experience with the subject. • Combination: a little of both of the above styles The student may include both formal and personal observations. Organizing Strategies for Informational Writing • Chronological (Time Order) • Similarity/Difference • Cause/Effect Order • Space Order • Question/Answer Demonstrating Audience Awareness in Informational Writing Effective writers use the following techniques to engage the reader • Descriptive Details • Figurative Language: Imagery, similes, metaphors • Authoritative voice (being able to tell that the writer knows what they are talking about) • Technical Vocabulary (words that have to do with the topic) • Addressing the reader • Humor • Personal anecdotes Scoring Guidelines • 10-22 Does not Meet • 23 -26 Borderline Meets • 27 – 40 Meets the Standard • 41 – 43 Borderline Exceeds • 44 – 50 Exceeds the Standard Ways to Inform Informational Paper 10 Informational Paper 10 (page two) Annotations for Informational Paper 10 • Ideas Score: 5 • The controlling idea of this paper (Sheboygan, Wisconsin is an interesting place) is fully developed and addresses all aspects of the writing task. The writer includes extensive information about Sheboygan (where it’s located, the weather, the schools, and some bad things like storms and pollution). Supporting ideas are fully elaborated throughout the paper with specific examples and details. Although some of the supporting ideas on page two (climate, pollution) are not as fully developed as others, the abundance of relevant support and specific examples keep this paper in the 5 range. The writer addresses reader concerns by offering details and explanations that would be useful to someone who has never been to Sheboygan. Organization Score: 4 Although the opening paragraph is only two sentences, it includes a rhetorical question and introduces the writer’s topic. Related ideas are grouped together in paragraphs. Ideas are presented in a logical sequence across parts of the paper and within paragraphs. Transitions link parts of the paper but are somewhat repetitive (“first of all, the next thing, another thing, the bad things, the next bad thing, finally”). The caution to Bulldog fans is effective as a conclusion and would have ended the response without repetition. The final paragraph (“Well this is my report. I hope you learned about Sheboygan. I hope you like it”) is unnecessary, and the paper would have had a better ending if it had been left out. Style Score: 5 The writer’s informative voice is appropriate to the topic and sustained throughout the response. Language is varied, precise, and engaging (“Once a snow storm goes threw and goes to Lake Michigan the cold front shifts, and then you get the storm all over again. Every year the average of snow you get is 35.2 inches. ‘Woa’ that’s a lot of snow.” “The high pressure is trying to push up from the south. . . it’s like a fight between different pressure systems”). The paper demonstrates the writer’s sustained attention to the audience (“Do you want to know about Sheboygan, Wisconsin?” “Finally, if you’re a bulldog fan don’t go up there. Most of the people are Wisconsin fans so you won’t fit in.”). The paper contains an extensive variety of sentence lengths, structures, and beginnings. Conventions Score: 5 The writer demonstrates a full command of sentence formation, usage, and mechanics. The paper contains clear and correct simple, complex, and compound sentences. Subject-verb agreement is consistently correct (except for “there’s alot of”). Spelling and punctuation are correct in a variety of instances. Occasional errors are minor and do not interfere with meaning (“envirment,” using “your” instead of “you’re,” writing “a lot” as one word”). Informational Paper 10 Informational Paper 10 (page two) Annotations for Informational Paper 10 • Ideas: Exceeds Standard • The writer’s focus is sustained on the topic of quartz. There is evidence of an awareness of the informational purpose as the writer explains the chemical composition of quartz, where quartz can be found, the appearance of quartz, the uses of quartz, and how quartz changes over time. Relevant specific examples and facts are used throughout the paper. The topic is well developed. The use of resources is apparent in the explanation of where quartz comes from and how it changes over time. Although the explanation of carbon dioxide and oxygen is not perfectly clear, the writer’s competence exceeds the standard for grade three. Organization: Exceeds Standard The paper has a clear and appropriate organizational pattern. The writer uses the introduction to hook the reader by posing the question (“Did you know that sand is quartz?”). The body of the paper is grouped into sections of related ideas with subheadings. The writer also uses a question/answer format in each paragraph. Transitions are varied and effective. Style: Exceeds Standard The use of interesting language is sustained in the paper as the writer switches between technical vocabulary (carbon dioxide, oxygen) and addressing the reader with questions (“Isn’t oxygen found everywhere?”). The writer’s awareness of audience is very strong as the writer tries to create an air of mystery at the beginning of the paper (“Did you know that sand is quartz?”) that is not solved until the end of the paper. This demonstrates an understanding of craft. The reader’s interest is maintained throughout the paper and the writer’s voice is clear throughout the paper (“Next time we go to the beach, I’m not going to say...”). • Conventions: Exceeds Standard Sentences are consistently clear and correct. The writer correctly uses several functional fragments (“But they have to form oxygen in open space”). Subjects and verbs consistently agree. Nouns, pronouns, and verbs are formed correctly. Capitalization and punctuation are consistently correct. Most of the writer’s errors are in spelling (“silcon,” “oxyen,” “dioxside,hexonal,” “amithyst,” “sappire,” “jewerly”), but these words are above grade level. Overall, the writer demonstrates a high level of competence in all three components of conventions. Comparing/Contrasting Paper Moth Butterfly Alike 1. Zoom through air 2. Insects 3. Lepidoptera order 4. 2 sets of wings 5. antennae Different Criteria Dull-colored, drab, Move Graceful; Colorful; not connected wings together when it flies Look like candy canes without Feathery-looking antennae stripes Flatter; Bulkier Body styles Slender; Elegant Seen at night, near behavior Seen during the day lights Moths and Butterflies A moth and a butterfly both zoom through the air with the greatest of ease. They are like small motorized airplanes zipping in and out. At a quick glance, they may look somewhat alike, but they are different. Both are insects that belong to the Lepidoptera order. They are similar because they both have two sets of wings that lift them through the air. They also use antennae as feelers on their heads. However, a moth and a butterfly are also dissimilar. The wings of the butterfly are graceful and colorful while those of a moth are dull- colored and often drab looking. A butterfly’s wings are not connected while a moth’s wings are. The moth’s wings move together when it flies. The antennae of a butterfly look like candy canes without the stripes. On the other hand, the moth’s antennae are more feathery-looking. Another difference is in the body styles. A butterfly is slender and a moth is fatter. The moth appears bulkier than the butterfly. The butterfly seems more elegant because of its shape. Finally, a moth and a butterfly behave differently. People see a butterfly during the day while the moth appears more frequently at dusk or at night. The butterfly flies in areas where grass or flowers grow. However, the moth often flies around lights that are outside. The lights attract the moth. A butterfly and a moth have a few similar characteristics, but they have more differences. Look carefully the next time a small winged-insect flies through the air. Study the insect carefully to decide if it is a butterfly or a moth. Drafting • Remember when drafting, you do not worry about spelling or errors at this point. • Write your ideas down as they come to you. • Use your brainstorming activity to help you write. • Revising/Editing—Proofreading to find your errors and fix or reword sentences to make your information clear. • Publishing/Sharing • How do I organize information in a paper to inform someone about something effectively? Alternative Topics • Think about a trip to the zoo and a trip to an amusement park. Compare and contrast these two types of parks.
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