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Senior Member
My first graders started the How To Unit when we came back from Xmas break. I am usually able to confer with three kids each day, and it seems whenever I sit down to have a conference with a child, they are just starting a new book, so we plan out their steps together, and I move onto the next student. I know this is bad, but I just went through their writing folders tonight. Granted, we've only been working on this unit for 7 days, but their books are TERRIBLE. Some of them have only been drawing pictures and barely have any writing. Others are writing in the first person instead of giving directions. The ones who are giving directions are so simple it's nauseating. I've been modeling a how to book, we practice giving directions to one another all day long, and I thought my conferences were going well. They seem to be able to plan it out orally with me, and then Lord knows what's happening when I walk away. I'm so disappointed.

Teaching the How To Unit is usually one of my favorites. Kids are so naturally able to tell others what to do. ;) I guess I need to revamp what I'm doing in my minilessons and start pulling more small groups so I can meet with more kids daily. They just don't get it. <!--grumpy-->

Mz. L.

Full Member
mentor texts

Have you tried reading them mentor texts like How to Lose Your Friends by Nancy Carlson? I like to have the class read my book on How to Make Ants on a Log and then follow the directions. Good luck!


Senior Member
Act them out

We also read a lot of mentor texts, make lists of what they notice/what makes a good How-to, I model a few, and then, as they are planning, I have them act out their how tos to see if they will really work or if they need to add more info.