Informative Explanatory Writing

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Informational Explanatory

Writing Prompt, Rubric, and Resources

Grade 3


Informative Explanatory Writing

Formative Assessment (Teacher Provides) Administration Dates: Feb. 8-12, 2015

Summative Assessment (District Provided) Administration Dates: Mar. 23-27, 2015

Summative Data due in Illuminate: April 10, 2015

Grade level standard W3.2:

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

a) Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.

b) Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.

c) Use linking words and phrases to connect ideas within categories of information.

d) Provide a concluding statement or section.

General Information About Writing Assessments

  1. Schedule uninterrupted time blocks in the morning when students are most fresh.

  2. Refer to the script provided with your assessment so that administration can be as uniform as is reasonably possible between rooms.

  3. Student assessment materials are limited to what is provided in their packets. Students may have:

    1. Post its, highlighters, or other active reading tools

    2. Red/blue pens

    3. Access to dictionary/thesaurus

    4. As much blank/lined paper as needed

    5. Walls do not need to be covered up for this assessment.

  4. Students will not receive a graphic organizer. They will need to create one on their own.

  5. Do not run off other materials for your students.

    1. No templates

    2. No lists

    3. No graphic organizers

  6. A rubric for assessing student work has been provided for you. If you need more, please run them off.

Sample Writing Assessment

Prompt for Informational/Expository Writing

Common Core Standard W3.2

Prompt: What can you do to save water?

Answer the question with facts, definitions, and details from the text(s).

Teacher Directions and Script

Summary: This task is to be completed in phases over three days. In phase one, students prepare for writing by viewing a video clip (optional), reading source materials, and having class discussions to help students form their opinion. In phase two, teacher reviews the materials and discussions from phase one and allows students to write their piece. In phase three, students are given more time to finish any steps of the writing process that are needed.

*There is no time limit for the writing assessment. A student may take as long as he/she needs to complete the task.

Day 1 (Suggested time: 45 minutes)

  • Teacher introduces the topic of saving water. Teacher says: Today we are going to read to learn how to save water.

  • Optional: Teacher may show a video The Adventure of EcoRilla (

  • Give out the student prompt packets and read the prompt together. Use the writing process to analyze the prompt.

  • Read the student writing prompt sheet aloud together and use the writing process to analyze the prompt as a class.

  • Teacher prepares students for reading. Teacher says: We are going to closely read an article called Save Our Water! As you listen to the text, think about what the author tells us about how to save water. After you have had a chance to hear the article a second time, you will write a paragraph that answers the prompt and explains your thinking. You will explain your thinking with facts, definitions, and details to support your points.

  • Pass out the article Save Our Water! Teacher uses close reading strategies with students to draw attention to specific details. Read the article aloud. Allow students to reread the article or their notes a second time or take more notes as needed as they consider the content.

  • Pose the question: What can you do to save water? Remind students to use the article and their notes when thinking through their informative piece. Have students share their ideas with each other.

  • Explain that tomorrow you will be writing about what you can do to save water. Collect the article, assignment sheets, and notes. (Be sure names are on them.)

Day 2 (Suggested time 45 minutes)

  • Return the articles, assignment sheets, and notes and re-read the article aloud.

  • Ask students to think about the article. What can you do to save water? Have students turn and talk to a partner(s) about this. Each student should have a chance to share their ideas from the previous day. Students may add additional details to their notes.

  • Provide lined paper. Teacher says: Write your name and the date at the top. You will use this paper for your writing. Go through the rest of the directions on the Student Assignment Sheet together.

  • Give students the remainder of the period to write. The writing should be completed individually, without help.

  • When the period is over, explain that students may finish writing/revising/ediitng tomorrow. Collect student work and materials.

Day 3
(Suggested time 45 minutes)

  • Return student work and materials. Students may be given access to a dictionary and thesaurus.

  • Give students the remainder of the period to finish writing and proofreading.

*There is no time limit for the writing assessment. A student may take as long as he/she needs to complete the task.

Grade 3 Performance Task

Writing an Informational/Explanatory Piece

Name: ________________________________________

Directions: Please respond to the prompt below in writing. You may use your graphic organizer and/or your notes to help you write your informational/explanatory paragraph. You should write your informational/explanatory essay on lined paper.

Writing Prompt: What can you do to save water?

Answer the question with facts, definitions, and details from the article.
Remember, a good informative writing will:

  • Introduce the topic you are writing about.

  • Clearly state facts, definitions, and details.

  • Use linking words and phrases.

  • Wrap up the writing with a concluding statement.

  • Use capitals, punctuation, and spell words correctly.

You will have three class periods to complete this reading/thinking/writing task. You may take notes right on the article or on a separate sheet of paper. You may want to take some time to plan your writing before you begin work. When you have finished, be sure to proofread your work.


Prompt Ideas and Resources

Prompt-What can you do to save water?

Suggested Video:

Read attached article #1 Save Our Water!

Prompt-Who is George Washington Carver?

Suggested Video:

Read attached article #2 Famous African American George Washington Carver
Prompt-Why is Pluto not a planet?

Suggested Video:

Read The Sun and Its Planets

Science Text Book p.218-224

Read Eight is Enough

Wonders p.86-87
Prompt-How do animals get what they need?

Read How do animals get what they need?

Science Interactive Text p.6-7

Read Science Textbook p.30-31

Read Animals and What They Need

Wonders p.42-43

Suggested Video:

Prompt-How do Meerkats work together?

Suggested Video:

Read Mighty Little Meerkats

Wonders p.44-45

Read attached article #3 Meerkat Suricata suricatta

Prompt-What does an illustrator do?

Suggested Video:

What Do Illustrators Do?

Treasures p.362-383
Quick Writes:

How can you play safe on the playground?

How do you make a picture graph?

How do you make a bar graph?

How would you make a map of our classroom?
Article #1

Name _____________________________________

Save Our Water!

Did you know that kids can make a very important difference in saving the earth’s water? They can! But first off, why do we even need to save water?

Water is a natural resource that we get from the Earth. Without it, we would not be able to live! Imagine a world with no water at all. You wouldn’t be able to drink it, bathe, or swim! Without clean water, plants, animals, birds, and ocean life would also be unable to live. Kids can help protect this resource. You make a huge difference simply by starting at home. To get an idea of how much water we could save if we all made a small effort, think about this. What if every person across the nation flushed their toilets one time less every day? Together they could save enough water to fill a lake as large as a mile wide and long and four feet in depth!

Now you know how important it is to help save water. Try some of the ideas below. Start doing your part to change our world!

Some Ways Kids Can Help to Save Water:

  • When you wash your hands, don’t leave the water running. Wet you hands and turn the water off. Use soap and lather your hands well. Then turn the water on to rinse. Turn off the water and make sure it is off completely. Then dry your hands.

  • Do the same when you brush your teeth. Turn the faucet on to get your toothbrush and toothpaste wet. Turn it on again to rinse your mouth and toothbrush. Don’t leave the water running while you’re brushing.

  • Baths use a lot of water (about 37 gallons on average). Take short showers and use only about 20 gallons of water, instead.

  • Do you have plants in your house? When vegetables or other fresh produce are washed, collect what water and use it to water the plants.

  • Do you like a drink of cold water now and then? Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. That way you don’t have to run the water to get it cold.

  • Put a barrel outdoors to catch rain water. Then use the water for things like watering plants or flushing toilets. You can save hundreds of gallons of water a year!

  • In the summertime, it’s fun to play under the lawn sprinkler. When you do, make sure it’s only when the lawn is being watered.

  • Remind the others in your home, and your friends, not to leave any faucet running. Only use what is truly needed!

  • Is there a leaky faucet or toilet in the bathroom at school? Be sure to let someone know so that it can be repaired.

Even if you do just one thing each day to contribute to your home’s water conservation, you’re doing the right thing!

Adapted from Water Conservation for Kid

Article #2

Name _____________________________________

Famous African American George Washington Carver

Did you ever wonder who created peanut butter? It was George Washington Carver! Carver performed scientific experiments on peanuts and made many other useful products from them, including dyes, shampoo, and soap.
George Washington Carver was born a slave during the Civil War. He never knew his parents. When he was very young, Carver was freed from slavery. He wanted to get an education. He decided to work at lots of jobs so he could afford school. He worked as a cook and a janitor. He even took in laundry, washing clothes to make money.
In 1894, Carver received a degree in agriculture from Iowa State University. He was very talented in his field.

He became a professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. There, he was a leading expert in agriculture. He conducted lots of experiments. He also worked hard to improve race relations.

Today, he is remembered as an important inventor and educator.

ReadWorks Non-fiction: Famous African Americans —George Washington Carve

Article #3

Name _____________________________________

Meerkat Suricata suricatta

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