Monday, December 8, 2014

Shhh, don't tell! Using Descriptive Writing To Show

Second graders, in Ms. Whorton's class, at Prairie View Elementary have spent the last several weeks studying author Vera B. Williams. In their studies, they have specifically focused on her craft for using language to show, rather than tell, how a story character is feeling. Through exploring various books she has written, students have begun to implement her ideas into their own writing.

In this lesson, students were charged with using descriptive language to write about an emotion. Students worked with partners during this task. Cutting apart a chart of emotions they are familiar using as writers, students randomly chose an emotion out of a bag to descriptively write about. The catch? Their writing could not include the emotion they were describing. They had to truly show what their emotion would look like through their writing.

Using Doceri on the iPads, students documented the different stages of the writing process. Each group took a picture of a tree map that was then used to begin brainstorming ideas. Their tree map included descriptive ideas for what they see, hear and feel when they experience the emotion they were trying to describe. Partners also took time to take a selfie, truly documenting what their writing would ultimately describe.

Tree maps and selfies were both used as students began composing their best descriptive writing in their notebooks. Once their writing was complete, partners took pictures of their notebooks and inserted them into their Doceri presentations. Groups recorded themselves reading their writing, being sure to circle the text evidence that showed, not told, the mystery emotion.

As Doceri presentations were shared at the end of class, student groups enjoyed inferring what their classmates were writing about. This lesson was interactive and provided students an opportunity to begin crafting a piece of descriptive writing that painted a picture for their readers.

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