As much as we as teachers, do not like it, there are times when students are tested on their skills as writers. One way to prepare them for this is to revisit the genres that they have been writing all year. This also is a chance for those students who always seem to write about the same topic no matter what the genre is. They just have a passion for that topic.
In third grade the students have written in these genres: Personal narratives, Realistic Fiction, Opinion/Persuasive, and Informational. These are the genres that would be focused on in this Revisiting the Genre study. Students would take a topic they are passionate about and write in each of those genres.
It might look like this with the topic of DOGS:
1. Personal Narr. A story about you and a dog
2. Realistic Fiction Story about another character and dog
3. Informational All About Dogs
4. Opinion/Persuasive Why dogs make the best pets
The first step would be to have mentor texts available using one topic in these genres. Here is an example with the topic being OWLS:
Personal Narr. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Realistic Fiction The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston
Informational Owls by Gail Gibbons
Opinion/Persuasive Owlbert by Nicholas Harris
Taking this unit of study as a learning unit and not a test prep unit, will make it a fun one for the teacher and the students!