Co-creating success criteria in an 'Informational Fiction' writing unit

Our Grade 3 classes are currently engaged in an 'Informational Fiction' writing unit. During this unit, students will produce a short story which includes accurate, factual information with the intention of both entertaining and teaching the reader. It starts with immersing students in a stack of ‘Informational Fiction’ picture books such as these:

The students were shown the success criteria (as below) for this unit early on, so they could discuss the objectives for their finished story before starting their drafts.

Click to enlarge

In this post, I will share the process used by one of our teachers, Catherine Butler, who was experimenting with adapting this process to involve the children in co-creating the success criteria for the unit.

When she presented and discussed the criteria with the class, she realised that students didn't fully understand the statements and so they decided as a class to create their own version.

They started by handing out a variety of mentor texts, similar to the ones shown above. In their writing partnerships, students were asked to 'Post-it note' anything they noticed about the text in terms of:

  • What do you like about it?
  • What made it good?
  • What important things did the author include?

They then came back together as a class and discussed their observations while the teacher typed it up in a document which they could all see on the screen. The students decided it was helpful to write examples of each of the statements so they could go back and refer to the books later. Here is the start of their co-created checklist, which is a work in progress:

Click to enlarge

The students have been given a copy to refer to as they commence their drafts. Catherine will refer to the relevant statements during mini-lessons and provide examples from the mentor texts.

During the revision stage, she will ask students to focus on 3 statements that they feel need more attention in their piece of writing. She intends to come back to the checklist at the end of the unit and ask students if there are any statements they would like to change and remove.

I will write a further post in a few weeks time to review the success of this process in terms of the student's learning.

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