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Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Creative Writing in the Natural World: A Framing
|Grades||4 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Minilesson|
|Estimated Time||Two 50-minute sessions|
To promote development, detail, and focus of ideas in students’ writing, it sometimes helps to start with a fun, creative writing activity that encourages what you want to see in all of their writing. In this minilesson, students practice writing detailed, sensory-rich descriptions by framing a small piece of nature and freewriting about it. From this, students can develop a variety of types of writing including poetry, short stories, science writing, reflections, and other academic genres.
This lesson explores figurative language comparisons formally known as simile and metaphor; however, the focus of the lesson is on students' use of their their imaginations to describe their observations in writing rather than on the official terminology for language use. In Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom, author Katie Wood Ray advises, "Give it [the craft element you identify in a text] a name so you can refer to it easily in the future as you study craft and as you writing your own texts"; yet the name that students use need not be the formal, "correct" name (42). The formal name of the element simply detracts from the ways that writers work. As Ray explains, "What's important is that, in seeing it and naming it for yourself, you have a new vision of what's possible when you try to write well" (42). When we do use formal names for craft elements, best practice pairs such words with students' definitions of the elements. Ray and Lisa Cleaveland say, "We are careful to use the words most writers in the world use for the important concepts of writing . . . if we embed kid-friendly explanations of what they mean...we need not shy away from the words themselves" (98).
Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
Cleaveland, Lisa and Ray, Katie Wood. 2004. About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.