Gnomes Read, Write, and Think

"Yeah, I've seen those things they think are gnomes," said Ron, bent double with his head in a peony bush, "like fat little Santa Clauses with fishing rods…” -JK Rowling

Informational Text: The Lens of History, Research Reports

We have picked our writing up again. (Some of us with extremely glazed looks in our eyes!)

Here’s what we know so far:
When we write historical research reports we have to focus on great writing but also we have to focus on being good historians!

Good historians write and revise with the lens of geography in mind. They write with a map in their hand! They pay attention to how geography impacted history. They include information about geography in their writing.

Good historians write and revise with the lens of timelines in mind. They research dates and understand how events in the past (precursors) impact later events. They include information about time in their writing.

Good historians and good writers do not just move information from place to place. They do not just copy facts from books or the Internet. They include facts they learn from other authors and then they analyze those facts and SPECULATE about those facts in writing.

All of this is new. All of this is difficult and somewhat uncomfortable. Students are experiencing a lot of disequilibrium as they grow as writers.

At home, this may look like a somewhat messy, disorganized notebook. There may seem to be papers flying around. This is a sign of new learning. Yes, the more organized the better, but at this point we are working on many things at once: geography, timelines, research, mentor texts, drafting and revising.

Students will be moving back and forth in the process of writing. One day, they may be researching, taking notes and reflecting on those notes. The next day, they may use those notes to draft a section of their historical research report. The drafting process should include students analyzing and speculating in a written form in their drafts. On another day, students will be revisiting parts of their drafts they have already written and revise them through the lens of geography, or timelines, or something else.  The drafts will come along in fits and starts, organically. This is not a linear process and feels messy. That is a sign of growth and learning!


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