Geology informative writing prompt with mentor texts: Looking for evidence-based informative writing? With this resource, students use information from two different passages to write an essay that explains how water changes the Earth's surface. Please note that this writing prompt is just part of my growing bundle. Click HERE
to get a year's worth of writing prompts, including this one, at a discount price!
Nowadays, there is a noticeable difference in how students are expected to write their essays on the standardized writing test. Many standardized tests, such as SAGE in Utah, PARCC in New Jersey, and FSA in Florida, require the students to read/listen to multiple texts and then use information from those passages in their writing. According to the SAGE rubric, students are expected to write essays that are well-organized (this includes writing strong introductions and conclusions), incorporate text evidence, elaborate on their details (this includes using domain-specific vocabulary), and use proper grammar/spelling. This product provides many resources to help you prepare students for the state writing test!
To prepare my students for the SAGE test, I don’t hesitate to get them started. From the very beginning, my students are given writing prompts with mentor texts. We practice annotating the texts, and then we practice using that information to write a well-organized, 5-paragraph essay. To write these essays, I use the writing process. It typically takes me three weeks to get through one writing prompt with the students, especially at the beginning of the year. This product includes a prompt and mentor texts that are engaging. (Please click the preview to see if the passages are at an appropriate level for your students.)
Water is a very powerful tool. Not only does it keep living things alive, but it’s also powerful enough to change the surface of the earth. Write an essay explaining how water changes Earth’s surface. Your explanation must be based on ideas and information that can be found in the passages. Manage your time carefully so you can plan, write, revise, and edit your essay.
THE MENTOR TEXTS
This product comes with two unique mentor texts written by me (paired passages.) Both passages are informational texts about water and how it changes the earth's surface through various processes.
Passage #1: The first passage explains how weathering and erosion change the earth's surface slowly. This passage explains the difference between weathering and erosion, that weathering can be mechanical/physical or chemical, that water can break rocks through a process called frost wedging (mechanical weathering), how water can alter the minerals in rocks (chemical weathering), how erosion is similar to a mail delivery system, and how erosion is what created the Grand Canyon. This passage includes many pictures and photographs to help explain these processes.
Passage #2: The second passage explains how flooding and landslides change the earth's surface. It talks a little bit about Hurricane Harvey and the massive landslide that recently occurred in Big Sur California.
In each passage, the paragraphs are numbered and there's a glossary at the end. (Just like the SAGE test in Utah)
This product has quite a few extras! If you buy this product, you will not only be getting a prompt and two mentor texts, but you will also be getting the following: (please click the preview, where I have posted EVERY SINGLE PAGE of this product):
•Day-to-day instructions that explain what I do with the students for 14 days
•4 different rubrics to choose from (I’ve taken information from the SAGE rubric and turned it into one that is more student-friendly and teacher-friendly.)
•Brief descriptions of each rubric so that you can know which one you want to use.
•A schedule that outlines what the students will be doing for the next 3 weeks (the rubric and schedule are things I show the students before we begin writing our essays so they know what is expected of them, how long it will take, and how to be successful.)
•A checklist that the students can use while they write their essays to make sure they are including everything that their essay needs
•Two different graphic organizers to choose from (one is completely blank, while the other one has fill in the blanks to help those who struggle with writing)
•Alternative graphic organizers that are decorative (they write their reasons in a rain drop)
•Many different types of rough draft paper that you can choose from. (My favorite rough draft paper is the one that has ARMS at the bottom. Many teachers like to use the acronym ARMS when revising with their students.)
•An ARMS handout
•Peer Editing Sheets (I love using these! Instead of having students write all over each others’ papers with red pens, they look for certain criteria, fill out the form, and give feedback)
•A sample graphic organizer that has been filled in by me
•A sample final draft that meets all the requirements to get a really good score on the SAGE test (written by me)
•Decorative lined paper that the students can write their final drafts on
•Decorative title pages (the students can use these as a cover for their final drafts.)
•A note that can be sent home to parents to announce the completion of their essays and the sharing party that will take place in class
At the end of previous school years, many of my students expressed phrases such as, “Mrs. Lott, thank you for teaching me how to write an essay,” “I like writing now,” “I finally get how to write an essay,” and “I’m not as worried to take the SAGE test because I know what I’m doing.” These comments, of course, brought tears to my eyes. That’s what teaching is all about. Then seeing their SAGE scores brought even more tears to my eyes. All students improved and almost all scored between 400-500, which is proficient. I even had several students score over 500!! :)
Please note that this product does not teach students how to write an essay. The intent of this product is to provide an outline and description of what I do for 3 weeks and the resources I use to do it. If you are interested in how I teach my students to write, follow me on TPT and stay tuned. It is my goal to make product(s) that you can use to teach students how to write very soon!
This product is aligned with the following 3rd grade writing standards:
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.3.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.3.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as need by planning, revising, and editing.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.3.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.3.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision.) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
This product is aligned with the following 4th grade writing standards:
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as need by planning, revising, and editing.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision.) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
This product is aligned with the following 5th grade writing standards:
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as need by planning, revising, and editing.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.ELA-LIT.W.5.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision.) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
You might also be interested in the following writing prompts:
Cats or Dogs Opinion Writing Prompt
Are Teens too old to go Trick-or-Treating Opinion Writing Prompt
Explain how Caribou Survive the Cold Weather Informative Writing Prompt
You might also be interested in the following science products:
A HUGE Rocks and Minerals Unit.
It is a complete unit that has everything you would need to teach 3 weeks-worth of material.
Cloud Readers’ Theater.
I love using these script every time I teach weather! They help the students remember how a cloud is formed and the four main types of clouds (cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and cumulonimbus.)
And here's a fun, Halloween ELA product:
Types of Sentences Zombie Scoot Activity.
This is a fun activity that can be used to review the types of sentences during the month of October.
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