I LOVE teaching the How To unit in writing workshop! We are really in the thick of it right now, and each year I remember all over again how fun it is. A few years ago a colleague and I developed a “kindergarten appropriate immersion plan.” We really wanted to immerse our students in the genre and help them to really understand how these books work. Finding how to mentor texts at a kindergarten reading level is a challenge. So we opted for something else. Now, each year, the immersion week is a full on, mind blowing, hands on adventure! Each day (and sometimes twice a day) we get out a new how to book, and actually learn how to do something new. Following the instructions in these high interest books really helps the kids to understand how they work, and what they need to have in order to help us be successful. This also sparks deep, insightful conversations about what we could do to improve some of these texts.
This year my kindergartners and I learned how to make wrapping paper, do card tricks, make a fruit dip recipe, juggle, make recycled paper, hula dance, draw tanks and helicopters, and make balloon animals. If you ever want to really get your kindergartners’ attention, just walk into the classroom carrying twenty five inflated balloons, ready to twist.
Not only is this hands on immersion highly effective, but it is incredibly fun. My students truly love this unit. So now we are in the writing phase, where they are working on their own books. For several years I have been using a poster I created that shows the steps of writing a how to book. This year I decided to shrink the poster down and give each child a mini-anchor chart to keep in their writing folders. I think I am slowly moving towards the idea of having a writing tools folder, and this was a natural addition. I am very excited to see if it helps my students remember the process as they work independently.
Until then, I have some juggling practice to do!
If you are interested in my complete How To unit (which includes my chart above) you can check it out at my TPT store.