We usually start a new writing genre with a pre-test and then deconstructing a text from that genre. This unit, we did a finding out activity with the students prior to the deconstruction. It worked exceptionally well and when we began to deconstruct an information report, students were able to use the knowledge gained from this activity to help them deconstruct. This idea was given to me by my teaching and learning coach. Check out her blog here: http://samkenely.edublogs.org/
Students were placed in mixed ability groups and given a chart. There were five different information reports floating around the room that they had to analyse. Essentially, students were trying to find similarities between the texts to identify the features and structures of an information report.
I really enjoy these types of activities, where students are finding out the information, creating links and doing their own exploring to find the answers. Rather than giving students a list of the structure and features of an information reports, students work together to create their own list. During our share time at the end of the lesson, students were able to create this list.