Critical Thinking and Writing Informational Texts in a Grade Three Classroom

Critical Thinking and Writing Informational Texts in a Grade Three Classroom

Robin M. Bright (University of Lethbridge, Canada) and Bev Smith (Jennie Emery Elementary School, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5816-5.ch002
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors present a case study that explores grade three students' work with informational text over a month-long unit in order to document the students' developing thinking skills about text structures and features. Students were introduced to informational mentor texts to discover insight into expository text structures and create their own “All About…” books using their own background knowledge and interests. In writing their own informational texts, the students were encouraged to use a variety of visual representation formats such as lists, checklists, and diagrams. They also used common expository text structures found in informational trade books including description, sequence, and comparison. These structures provided an overall framework for students to organize their writing and use the skills of conceptualizing, applying, synthesizing, and evaluating their knowledge. One of the primary successes of the unit for developing students' critical thinking was the opportunity to teach others about an area of expertise. Scaffolding for student success in a variety of ways throughout the writing process was also important for student learning. Choosing mentor texts with text features and visuals that were desired in the students' finished pieces provided concrete examples for the class. Overall, the reading and writing of informational text was successful in promoting the development of important thinking skills that support students' need to critically evaluate information from a variety of sources.

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