Show Me; Don’t Tell Me
Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to help students improve their descriptive writing skills and be able to identify adjectives. Students should learn to write descriptive paragraphs that include specific details and ideas that they can use effectively in their writing. This lesson can be presented after Writing Workshop has been operational for a few weeks.
ü Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
ü Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
(NCSCS) Language Arts
ü Competency Goal 6 – The learner will apply conventions of grammar and language usage.
6.01 Model an understanding of conventional written and spoken expression by:
· Applying the parts of speech to clarify language usage.
“Today we’re going to look at the importance of adjectives in your writing. Instead of telling me what the character is doing, eating, seeing, or touching, show me what the character is doing, seeing, eating, or touching. For example, you can easily tell me ‘The car was red and fast.’ However, I can actually visualize the car better if you were to show me using adjective words, such as ‘The shiny apple-red Mustang whizzed by me.’ Now, I can actually see the car you’re describing and an image is beginning to form in my mind.
We’re going to try experimenting with adjective words and forming sentences using adjectives that can show your reader instead of just telling the reader. First, I’m going to distribute objects for you to describe. (Begin distributing Starbursts and Hershey kisses.) Rule one for this lesson; you cannot eat your candy while you are working. Rule two, you cannot eat your neighbor’s candy while you are working. I want you to look at your piece of candy, smell it, touch it, and write on your paper all of the adjectives you can think of that describe your piece of candy. I’ll give you three minutes; begin now.”
(Give students time to follow these instructions.) Now that you have your descriptive words, I want you to come up with one or two sentences about your piece of candy using your descriptive words. (Give students time to follow these instructions.) Is there anyone who would like to volunteer to read your sentence to the class? (As students read their sentences aloud, write them on the board or overhead, so other students can see them.) Now that we have seen and written some sentences using adjectives, let me read a page from [(this can be a book of your choice) a sample of the page can be distributed among the students so they can follow along and highlight descriptive words they find.] so you can see how a writer uses adjectives in order to bring the reader into the story. You just received a copy of the paragraph I’m preparing to read. Please, follow along with me and highlight all the descriptive words you locate in the text. (Read a few descriptive paragraphs from your reading selection.) You have heard some descriptive sentences and have written some descriptive sentences. Look at any particular piece of writing in your portfolio that you’re currently working on and begin adding description where you would like to have your reader see what’s happening.
Now that students have an idea of how to bring a reader into their own writing, take this opportunity for students to look at any existing writing they have started and give them time to add more descriptive sentences to their own pieces of writing. A sheet of adjectives can be displayed in the conference area of the writing workshop or can be copied so that each student has a copy in their writing journals.
List of Adjectives
Descriptive Words and Phrases (Best Website)
Touch Words (cont.)