Writing to Show, Not Tell: Dialogue, Sensory Words, and Strong Action Verbs | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M1:U3:L5

Writing to Show, Not Tell: Dialogue, Sensory Words, and Strong Action Verbs

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. (W.6.3)

    b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and descriptions to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

    d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.

Supporting Targets

  • I can use precise words and phrases and sensory language to convey experiences and events in my hero's journey narrative.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Draft narratives
  • Exit ticket: How Do Writers Make Their Stories Show, Not Tell?

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A.  Independent Reading Review (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A.  Mini Lesson: Analyzing the Use of Dialogue, Sensory Words, and Strong Action Verbs in the Model Narrative: "The Golden Key" (20 minutes)

B.  Applying the Mini Lesson to Draft Narratives (15 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket: How Do Writers Make Their Stories Show, Not Tell? (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A.  Complete the draft of your hero's journey story. Remember to use all that you have learned about using dialogue, sensory language, and strong verb choice to create writing that "shows."
Continue independent reading.

  • In Lesson 4, students began drafting their hero's journey narrative. In this lesson, they focus on narrative writing techniques that will help them "show, don't tell" in their stories. The focus is on using dialogue, sensory language, and strong action verbs.
  • They first analyze the model narrative, "The Golden Key" and identify how the author used dialogue, sensory words, and strong action verbs to make the narrative more descriptive. They then apply this learning to their own drafts.
  • As in Lesson 4, consider the setup of the classroom; if possible, students can work on computers.
  • If students did not use computers to draft their essays in Lesson 4, consider giving them more time to revise the essays.
  • Post: Learning target, directions for Work Time B.

Vocabulary

vividly, dialogue, sensory language, strong action verb

 

Materials

  • Independent Reading: Review (one per student)
  • "The Golden Key": Writing to Show, Not Tell (one per student and one for display)
  • Model narrative: "The Golden Key" (from Lesson 2)
  • Highlighters in blue, yellow, and green (one of each color per student)
  • Using Strong Action Verbs (one per student and one for display)
  • Equity sticks
  • Exit Ticket: How Do Writers Make Their Stories Show, Not Tell? (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent Reading Review (5 minutes)

  • Remind students that they should be reading the book they chose in Lesson 1 independently every evening.
  • Distribute Independent Reading: Review. Ask students to spend a few minutes thinking about the answer to this question:

*   "What do you think of this book so far? How would you rate it on a scale from 0 (really dislike it) to 5 (really enjoying it)? Why?"

  • Invite students to score their opinion of the book so far and to justify why they give it that score.
  • Collect the independent reviews. Have a discussion with students who scored their books 0-2 to determine whether they have given the book a fair chance. If appropriate, allow them to choose a new book and explain that sometimes books just don't work for us and we have to move on to different ones.
  • Regular independent reading reviews make students accountable for their reading and give them more purpose for reading independently. Assess student responses to what they are reading and use this as an opportunity to explain that they should persevere with a book for a few chapters until they are sure they really don't like it, but that they should change the book if they are really not enjoying it.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs
  • Regular independent reading reviews make students accountable for their reading and give them more purpose for reading independently. Assess student responses to what they are reading and use this as an opportunity to explain that they should persevere with a book for a few chapters until they are sure they really don't like it, but that they should change the book if they are really not enjoying it.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. They also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.
  • Careful attention to learning targets throughout a lesson engages, supports, and holds students accountable for their learning. Consider revisiting learning targets throughout the lesson so that students can connect their learning with the activity they are working on.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.
  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners, especially those who are challenged.

 

B. Applying the Mini Lesson to Draft Narratives (15 minutes)

  • Invite students to work independently to apply their learning from the mini lesson to their draft narrative. Post these directions for students to follow:
  1. Look for opportunities to put dialogue in your narrative. Don't force it in; add it where it fits to make the story more descriptive. Try to have dialogue in at least one part of your narrative.
  2. Check the punctuation you have used around dialogue.
  3. Look for places to put more sensory words in your narrative.
  4. Look for at least three verbs that could be changed out for some of the strong action verbs on your handout.
  • Circulate to assist students in revising their draft narratives. Ask probing questions, such as:

*   "Look at the parts of your narrative where one character encounters another. Imagine those two characters 
 talking to each other. What would they say at this point in the story that would give the reader more vivid 
 details about their encounter?"

*   "Have you used quotation marks at the beginning and end of the character's speech?"

*   "Have you started speech by another character on a new line?"

*   "Have you used punctuation inside the quotation marks?"

*   "Where could you add sensory language? What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or descriptions of the way things 
 feel could you add here to make it more vivid for the reader?"

*   "Which verbs could be stronger to be more precise and have more impact on the reader?"

  • For students who struggle with following multiple-step directions, consider displaying these directions using a document camera or interactive white board. Another option is to type up the instructions for students to have in hand.

 

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket: How Do Writers Make Their Stories Show, Not Tell? (5 minutes)

  • Give students a minute to think about two possible answers to this question:

*   "How do writers make their stories "show, not tell"?"

  • Distribute Exit Ticket: How Do Writers Make Their Stories Show, Not Tell? Invite students to record two suggestions to answer this question.
  • Using exit tickets allows you to quickly check for understanding of the learning target so that instruction can be adjusted or tailored to students' needs during the lesson or before the next lesson.

 

Homework

Homework
  • Complete the draft of your hero's journey story. Remember to use all that you have learned about using dialogue, sensory language, and strong verb choice to create writing that "shows."

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