Are you wondering how to teach informational writing to your second, third, fourth, or fifth-grade students? Informational writing is an essential skill for elementary students. It teaches them to communicate facts and ideas.
In this blog post, we will explore lessons, activities, and ideas to help you teach informational writing in an engaging and effective way.
Choose Engaging Informational Writing Topics
To capture students’ interest, select high-interest and relevant topics for them to write about. Consider their personal experiences, hobbies, or subjects they are curious about. This will make the writing process more enjoyable, motivate students to research, and will cause them to be eager to share what they learn.
Here are some informational writing topics that elementary students could research and write about:
- Ancient Egypt
- Space exploration
- Endangered species
- Human body systems
- Native American tribes
- Recycling and its importance
- The solar system
- Famous landmarks around the world
- Ocean life and ecosystems
- The water cycle
- Revolutionary War
- Inventors and their inventions
- Different types of rocks and minerals
- Historical events (such as World War II or the Civil Rights Movement)
- The Great Barrier Reef
- How plants grow from seeds
- The human digestive system
- Natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes)
- The life cycle of a butterfly
- The history of video games
- The importance of exercise and healthy eating
- The process of photosynthesis
If you want your whole class to research and write about the same topic, you can use my informational writing units.
Each unit has a science based topic and includes two research texts (one two-page article and one mini book) that you can print so all students have the same materials!
Use Informational Writing Anchor Charts
Anchor charts serve as visual references throughout the writing process. Use anchor charts or posters that students can help them and that they will want to look back on as they write. Create charts that outline the key elements of informational writing, such as introductions, text features, writing in their own words, and strategies for gathering information.
Teach Using Informational Writing Samples
Whenever you are teaching your students a specific type of writing, it’s crucial that you have mentor texts, or writing samples, for them to look at. These exemplar pieces allow students to visualize what a finished writing piece should look like.
For informational writing you can give your students a variety of nonfiction texts to explore. Some examples are:
- Nonfiction books
- Previous student’s exemplar writing piece (save some each year!)
- Mentor Texts
12 Informational Writing Lesson Plans
- What’s an Informational Report?
- Choosing a Topic and Finding Sources
- Finding Facts (Researching)
- In My Own Words
- Informational Report Outline
- Write an Introduction
- Writing as Paragraphs
- Writing an Ending
- Editing to Add Text Features
- Editing with a Partner
- Revising & Revisiting the Rubric
You can get these 12 lesson plans in my informational writing units. These lessons are designed to walk your students through the process of writing an informational report step-by-step.
Classroom Activities and Games for Teaching Informational Writing
- Informational or Not Informational Sort: Present students with specific topic and have them determine whether each topic is an informational report topic or not. Example: How to Save the Panda, Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- Just Right Topic Sort: Present students with a variety of topics and have them determine if the topics are just right or too narrow in focus. (Example: Life cycle of a frog vs. tadpoles to frogs.)
- Informational Writing Stations: Set up different stations where students can explore different topics, conduct research, gather facts, and create their own informative pieces. This hands-on approach keeps students engaged and encourages independent learning.
- Create an Informational Brochure: Have students design and create informative brochures on various subjects. This activity allows them to practice rewriting information into in their own words and adding text features.
- Virtual Field Trips: Take students on virtual field trips to explore different places and gather information. After the trip, students can write informational reports about their virtual experiences.
- Infographic Creation: Have students create visually engaging infographics that present key information in a concise and attractive manner. This activity combines writing, design, and critical thinking skills. Example: Students can research their home state and make a set of visually appealing flashcards that have information teaching others about their state.
- Informational Writing Gallery Walk: Display students’ informational writing pieces around the classroom. Arrange a gallery walk where students can read and provide feedback on their peers’ work. Invite other classes to visit.