Tier Two

Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District

Would You Like to Build a Snowman?

How do third graders at Todd write how-to stories? First things first, they always begin with a hook, which is typically in the form of a question - just like the one you just read.

They work with step-by-step instructions that help them craft the structure of the story using handouts, instructions from teacher Robin DiFeo and a classroom discussion.

“We usually start with a question for a hook for this age group because it’s an engaging and fun way for young writers to create interest about a topic,” said Ms. DiFeo, who was working with students today on an article about how to build a snowman.

The students began working on their hooks after Ms. DiFeo discussed another example of a how-to story – how to bathe a dog – and provided a breakdown of the story’s structure. To get ideas for their hooks, the students brainstormed ideas together with the entire class, including the cohort with Teaching Assistant Maggie Polanco and the students at home.

They used printed handouts which Ms. DiFeo had provided to get information and wrote on loose-leaf paper. The handouts provided the example of the dog bathing story and also provided the students with information on what each paragraph must include.

“We are going to use the same exact pattern for our snowman article that we used for the bathing the dog article,” explained Ms. DiFeo, who also provided a handout about sequencing and how to put things in order using specific words, such as first, next, then and finally.

Before moving on to the final paragraph, Ms. DiFeo went over a checklist to make sure the students included everything they needed and then the students worked on the concluding paragraph.