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Make Cycle 3

Make Cycle 3

Make Cycle 3: Engaging Expositions

Weeks 5 & 6: Sept 23-Oct 6

Expository writing is a type of writing that is used to explain, describe, give information, or inform.”

For our third make cycle, we’ll be playing with expository writing. Too often in school, we give kids really boring (and quite frankly, not very useful) templates for writing “how-tos” or scripted essays. But expository writing can be informational and playful as I hope our mentor texts demonstrate in this make cycle. We will try out writing our own expository texts with options for creating video, infographics, books, or working with other ideas you may have.

If you look at the Common Core standards for ELA, you’ll notice that writing informative texts is a genre that crosses all grade levels, moving from simple texts to more complex texts. Here is the Common Core standards from grade 2 and grade 4 below:


Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.


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

    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

Make Cycle 3 in a nutshell:

Week 5: Reading Chapters 2 & 3 from About the Authors and working with Appendix C & D.

  • Monday, Sept 23: chapter 2 & appendix C due
  • Wednesday, Sept 25:
  • Sunday, Sept 29: response to chapter 3 & appendix D due (two part prompt)

Week 6: Working with expository mentor texts: Example Infographics, Are You a Dragonfly, and The Gashlycrumb Tinies and creating Make 3: Engaging expository writing

  • Monday, Sept 30: mentor texts
  • Wednesday, Oct 2: prep for Make 3
  • Sunday, Oct 6: Make 3 due

Week 5: Sept 23-Sept 29

Read by Monday, Sept 23:

About the Authors: Chapter 2 (p. 23-37) and Appendix C (165-171)

To prep for class:

Similar to last week’s work with chapter 1, point to a couple of places in chapter 2 and the appendix C that you found interesting or puzzling or both? Why did a certain section or sentence interest you? Why does the idea matter as future teachers?

Read by Wednesday, Sept 25:

About the Authors: Chapter 3 (p. 38-57) and Appendix D (172-176)

To prep for class:

Part I: What are some ideas you find interesting, confusing, or that you like from chapter 3? Point us to a couple of places in the chapter (either give us a page number or a quote or explain the idea you’re referencing from the chapter) and explain why you chose that idea. Let’s explore ideas you might try out in your classroom or ideas that seem daunting that you would want to know more about.

By Sunday, Sept 29: Response due in G+

  1. What ideas are resonating with you from the book so far?
  2. On page 176, the authors give us a list of mentor writers. Choose one of the writers from the list and do a little research: find the author’s books online (once you know their books, you can almost always find a youtube video of someone reading the book), look for their websites, and/or find interviews with the authors. What do you notice about this author’s writing that could make for interesting mentor writing for your future students? What might you highlight in the writing or use as a model? What features do you like from their work?

Post in G+ category Make Cycle 3: Discussions (chapters 2 & 3)

Week 6: Sept 30-Oct 6

Read by Monday, Sept 30:

Read the Mentor Texts: Are You a Dragonfly? Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies and an article about this book, and look at the two infographics below.



To prep for class:

What are some features of these texts that you notice? How might we use these texts as models for our own writing? What work did the authors have to do to create these texts? What work might you need to do to write your expository text?

By Sunday, Oct 6: MAKE 3!

For this make, you have five options (but really, I am open if you have other ideas):

  1. Perhaps the story you wrote last week lends itself to being revised as an expository text? For example, you could use the Dragonfly book as a model and write a new book that has more information and facts about your story. You might also remember Josh’s “Mammoth” story from chapter 1, which is also a great model for an expository book. You could work off a story you wrote from last week OR write a new book about an idea or an animal or baking or whatever that uses the Dragonfly book as a model to work from. You most likely will have to do a bit of research to get your facts right.
  2. Create an Infographic about Chapters 2 or 3 of About the Authors using Piktochart. You can consider which quotes you would use, what images, etc? How might you create a visual summary of one or both of those chapters?
  3. Try out Adobe Spark and create a Spark Page. Examples here.
  4. Use Gorey’s creepy ABC book model and create a less creepy (or just as creepy!) version of an ABC book. You’ll need a theme for your ABC book that connects the letters together. Or perhaps you summarize one of the About the Authors chapters as an ABC book?
  5. Finally, you could create an “instructables” video, walking us through how to do something. For example, I can bake a really good pie, so I could create a video that shows how. You would want to look through some examples from the Instructables website: Then, you can create your own, upload to YouTube or Vimeo and share the link with us.
  6. Have another idea for an expository text? Ask me.

Remember, per usual, to tell us about your process: what worked, what was challenging, how did you go about creating your expository text?

Post in Make Cycle 3: Engaging Exposition MAKES