One of the most successful writing units I have taught in many ways mirrors the investigative/informative writing process that Chapter Three outlines. We read texts that discussed different aspects of Detroit and its history, present, and future. Based on what we had learned as a class, students broke off to follow their own interests in learning about their city. The unit worked out really well because the kids got into it. It also meant that they could learn from each other's paper topics at the end, which was a great way to close out the semester.
That being said, if I had to teach the unit over again, using more of the framework presented in this book, I think I would give them less time to write in class and spend more time on model texts. A lot of the confusions that kids had during the drafting process would have been cleared up had we spent a little more time looking at what makes a successful informative essay paragraph and practiced on those.
All of that being said, it looks like I'm teaching the same kids next year that I taught this year, so I obviously can't repeat that unit. If anyone has some really creative writing unit ideas, I am all eyes.