1. Collect types of leads. Sort for favorites.
Create a collection of leads from a season of news updates: questions, surprising facts, setting descriptions, sensory details, anecdotes, personification, and first person quotes, second person speak-to-the-reader sentences, and third person writing. Survey readers to find favorites that effectively hook their interest in reading the full piece.
2. Analyze middles for details.
Use a news update to create a "Boxes with Bullets" graphic that identifies the big ideas in boxes with supporting details in bullets. Examine how writers provide the bulleted details by including definitions, quotes from experts, specific examples, surprising facts, and other explanatory information that support the topic.
3. Search for and respond to closings.
Over the course of a season, collect sample ways that authors wrap up the news: full circle closers that revisit a main idea presented at the beginning, questions that spark predictions or further research, call for action, etc. Find creative ways students can share their thoughts, feelings, and overall responses after reading to see where endings lead: new questions, google searches, predictions, etc.
4. Provide guided practice with journal pages.
Study a photo and brainstorm descriptive words. Craft a variety of leads with the descriptive words. Brainstorm questions in WonderBoxes and Bullets to prepare for topic sentences and middle-detail paragraphs. Imagine endings that would leave readers with a sense of wonder and an interest in nature study.