We analyzed the conclusions of several published authors. This is the conclusion from a book about tigers. We noticed that the author made us feel like we were right in the environment/habitat of the tiger!
In this conclusion from a book on pelicans, we discussed how the author briefly reviewed some of the surprising information she didn't want us to forget from her book. She also invited us to learn even more about pelicans!
This conclusion from a book on owls also put us right in the environment of an owl and told us what to do if we spotted one!
I made a template to help students combine all these wonderful characteristics of good conclusions. I wrote my own conclusion for my report on owls and left an open template for students to fill in their own. (Please note, the word 'jungle' in the first line of the slide below should say 'forest'! Mistakes happen, right?)
Here is a conclusion one student wrote for his report on pandas.
Here's another student's conclusion to his report on crocodiles:
The past two days in writing, we've been peer conferencing. Students took their introduction, their habitat paragraph, their diet paragraph, their defense mechanisms paragraph, and their conclusion and stapled it together to make one complete draft of their animal report. I partnered students up, and they worked together to do a "5-4-3-2-1" peer conference. Students were to help each other add 5 descriptive adjectives, 4 lively verbs, 3 sound effects, 2 similes, and put tallies down (we call these the 1's) for any capitals or punctuation that needed to be added.
I explained that determining importance is a lot like straining noodles. The container with water and noodles is like a book you pick up off the shelf. Inside the book is all sorts of information - some is very important information (like the noodles), while other information isn't as important (like the water), but that you need all of it to make the book what it is.
As you start reading a book and after you've finished it, it's your brain's job (strainer) to determine what's important (noodles) and what's not (water). Your brain should hold on to the important information, key topics, and main ideas, and let the rest pass through, just like when we strain noodles!
We anchored our learning on this chart. (After all, real noodles only stay fresh for so long!)
Students did a response to explain what they understood about our noodle metaphor for determining importance.
During independent reading, students were to think about the 'noodles' and the 'water' of the books they were reading to see if they could find what was important versus unimportant about their books.