This activity begins with a powerful image to initiate ideas for writing and encourages in students the understanding that they can create an image themselves from a powerful description.
Writing Skill 1: I generate ideas in a variety of ways.
(1) Present several images of a particular scene (e.g. a snowy or spooky night, a circus or theme park, a beach or a tidal pool). Get students excited about the scene to generate language. After much discussion, have students close their eyes and practice visualizing the scene in their brain.
(2) Elicit several nouns that can be found in this scene. Ensure there is a half-class set of nouns to facilitate partner work. Select a noun from the list to model the activity and demonstrate on a T-Chart. For example, in exploring the circus, choose a clown. Brainstorm and list a collection of adjectives and action words that describe the clown. (Adjectives = silly, polka-dotted, amusing. Action words = juggling, tumbling, giggling.)
(3) Provide another example of the T-chart procedure to explore another noun in the chosen scene.
(4) Place students with partners, and give each pair a piece of 11 x 17 paper to create their own T-chart for choosing adjectives and action words for a noun in the scene. Assign a noun to each pair, specifying a time frame in which pairs initiate the thinking of ideas.
(5) At the set time, have students stop action and rotate to the next station (according to the class pattern). Have partner teams add vocabulary at the new station to match the new noun. Repeat this activity two or three times depending on the age and stage of the writers.
(6) Collect the T-charts, and let the students know that they will be working with these words in a follow-up lesson.
(7) Post the vocabulary T-charts for all students to view. Review the vocabulary with the students, and invite them to practice creating sentences orally using both an adjective and an action word from one of the T-charts.
(8) Imagine a title for the scene, and model creating a short description of the scene. Have students listen to your description with their eyes closed to see if they can visualize the scene.
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