How-to Writing

What do students need to know to succeed in fourth grade (or third or fifth)? What supplies are needed? What rules and steps should be followed? These and many other questions provide the framework for students to write how-to essays for a specific audience—future fourth graders. Although this series of lessons focuses specifically on fourth grade, it can be easily adapted for third or fifth graders. Students first learn about the how-to writing genre by reading an assortment of instruction manuals. This also demonstrates how how-to writing relates to their everyday lives. The teacher then models each step of the writing process as the students write about how to be successful fourth graders. After students publish their writing, the final drafts are saved for the following year's fourth graders to read at the beginning of the next school year. These lessons provide real-world examples and application of how-to writing. Students use u201cmentor textsu201d and then create their own meaningful piece. There are 5, 40-minute sessions.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.4
With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and...
GLE 0001.2.1
Develop critical listening skills essential for comprehension, problem solving, and task completion.
GLE 0001.2.2
Develop critical speaking skills essential for effective communication.
GLE 0007.INQ.3
Explain the data from an investigation.
GLE 0301.2.1
Continue to develop basic listening skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0301.2.2
Continue to develop basic speaking skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0301.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes to different audiences.
GLE 0301.3.2
Write in various modes and genres, including narration, literary response, personal experience, and subject matter content.
GLE 0301.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0401.2.1
Continue to develop oral language skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0401.2.2
Continue to develop listening skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0401.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to a variety of audiences.
GLE 0401.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0501.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences.
GLE 0501.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
SPI 0401.3.8
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
TSS.ELA.3.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 3rd grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.3.SL.PKI.4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an...
TSS.ELA.3.W.PDW.4
With guidance and support, produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.3.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.3.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences; promote writing fluency.
TSS.ELA.3.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
TSS.ELA.4.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 4th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.4.SL.PKI.4
Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to...
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing, as well as to interact and collaborate...
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing, as well as to interact and collaborate...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

NCTE/IRA NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS:

  • Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

 

Student Objectives:

Students will:

  • Recognize that how-to writing is a genre they encounter in their everyday lives
  • Identify the characteristics of the how-to writing genre and incorporate them into a how-to essay about succeeding in the fourth grade
  • Identify the audience for their how-to essay (i.e., future fourth graders) and shape the essay to appeal to this audience
  • Apply the steps of the writing process to complete the how-to essay

Unit Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Differentiation suggestions: 

Students may choose a topic of interest to write another how-to essay. For example, students may choose to write instructions for how to play a board game or a sport that they enjoy.

References

Contributors: