|Grades||6 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Recurring Lesson|
|Estimated Time||50 minutes (or a series of minilessons)|
When teaching a lesson on descriptive writing, students may write descriptively in the moment, but once the lesson is over, they tend to revert to their former ways. This lesson helps students learn to apply effective writing techniques on their own over time without constant reminders from the teacher.
|Show-Me Sentences Handout: This handout provides an example of a revised “show-me” sentence and six exercises for students to practice.|
Baines, L., & Kunkel, A. (2010). Going bohemian: How to teach writing like you mean it (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Dyson, A. (2008). Playing with textual toys. In Flood, J., Heath, S.B., & Lapp, D. (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching literacy through the communicative and visual arts (Vol 2, pp. 461–470). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Smith, C.H. (2010). “Diving in deeper”: Bringing basic writers’ thinking to the surface. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(8), 668–676.
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.
Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Whiteboard or blackboard
This lesson is designated as a recurring lesson because it focuses on a writing skill that should be practiced throughout the year. Once students complete the examples provided in this lesson, be sure to compile additional practice exercises so students can continue to hone their skills over time. You may choose to use examples from students’ actual writing, with or without identification of the author.
In addition, consider having students visit Descriptive Writing With Virginia Hamilton to try some exercises outside of class.
Use this lesson early in the year so you can refer to it later when students are working on other writing assignments.
For example, after having students write a descriptive narrative and engage in a peer-review session, ask them to select three single, significant sentences from different parts of their narrative. Have students transform each sentence into a “showing” sentence as learned in this lesson. Each “showing” sentence can then be reinserted into the narrative as part of the revision process.
All students can demonstrate mastery of descriptive writing. However, it is not unusual to suggest that a student “add more description” to an initial reworking of a sentence. Witnessing how good peer writers reinvigorate sentences is especially helpful.
Grades 6 – 10 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students improve a slide show by removing pictures. Their reasons for cutting pictures are translated into revision guidelines for cutting unnecessary words and sections from their rough drafts.
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students will have a blast as they use descriptive language to write about an “explosive” and dramatic moment in their lives.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson teaches students how to use old verbs in a new way, thus creating new and fresh descriptive phrases.
Grades 9 – 12 | Strategy Guide
Most students struggle when adding detail to their body paragraphs. This guide serves as a means of instruction and provides models for the students to master development.
Grades 8 – 12 | Professional Library | Book
This resource offers unconventional strategies to guide students through some of the more difficult tasks in learning to write.