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Lesson One


 

Essential Element: Writing (Descriptive)

 

Framework(s):

  • W.5.5.1-6.1 Write to describe, to inform, to entertain, to explain, and to

persuade

  • W.5.7.1 Write to develop narrative, expository, descriptive, and

persuasive pieces

  • W.5.8.1 Develop multiple works in a variety of modes of discourse

  • W.5.5.3-8.3 Create expository, narrative, descriptive, and persuasive

writings

 

Rationale:

The interconnectedness of reading and writing is profound and inescapable.

Literacy doesn’t or shouldn’t unfold that way in the classroom. Fragmenting these complex literacy processes interferes with the greatest goal of literacy education-the construction of meaning from and through text. Using reading and writing together in harmonious concert enables learners to draw in those complementary processes at the same time they work to construct meaning. The reciprocity across the complimentary processes of reading and writing accelerates learning in both areas. (Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6, Irene C. Fountas & Gay Sue Pinnell).

 

 

Materials:

  • Yolonda’s Genius by Carol Fenner

  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

  • Writing Journals

  • Pencils, pens, crayons, markers

  • Drawing and writing paper

 

 

Direct Explanation:

Today we are going to discuss the way writers create physical descriptions of their character to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind. Listen as I read the following passage from Yolonda’s Genius by Carol Fenner. Pay attention to the image these details conjure in your mind.” Read pages 46-47 as students demonstrate active listening behaviors. “Notice how Fenner appeals to all of our senses in providing this portrait of Aunt Tiny. She invites us to hear her laughter, see her bright clothes, smell and taste her cooking, and feel the warmth of her ‘big, soft hug’. These selected details allow us to fill in the rest of the picture. We know from this description that Aunt Tiny is warm, friendly, and feminine. Yolonda loves her. The author doesn’t tell us any of this directly, but we know it because we have a living, moving picture of Aunt Tiny in our minds.”

 

Model:

Display a book that has pictures that tell a story, such as Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. Open the book to any page, holding it so the class can see the page but you cannot. Ask the class questions about the picture. Use the following questions as examples. Students are to provide an answer to each question before you proceed to the next one.

 

What characters are on the page?

What is happening?

What do they hear? see? smell? feel? taste?

If you were this character, then what would you do next?

 

Finally, attempt to describe the characters and what they are doing. If you are incorrect, have the class offer more information. Repeat the activity with student volunteers.

 

Here’s one tip: describe your character doing something. It might not make sense to describe your character cooking, as Fenner described Aunt Tiny. So think: What would make sense for your character to be doing? Would it help the reader to see her stuffing her locker at school, rummaging through the closet for an outfit for a party, waiting impatiently for friends to arrive for a sleepover? Be bold!”

 

 

Application:

Have students choose a favorite illustration from a book and describe it on the paper.

 

 

Assessment:

The class will listen as the student reads the written description and guess the content of the illustration. If the class is unable to guess the picture, the student must add more description.

 

 

Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Students will write their description using the following clues: Sounds like? How Many? What Color? How Big? Where? Looks Like?

 

Assessment: The student will have a partner read the written description and guess the content of the illustration. If the partner cannot guess the picture, the student will add more description.

 

 

 

 

Tier III Modifications:

  • Have students work with a partner to write their description.

 

Assessment: The written description/picture will be scored with a rubric that applies the five senses. Have the rubric address the same questions found in Tier II additions.

 

 

Tier IV Modifications:

  • Have partner scribe the student’s description after discussion with partner, paraprofessional, parent volunteer or teacher.

 

Assessment: The written description/picture will be scored with a rubric that applies the five senses. Have the rubric address the same questions found in Tier II additions.

 

 

Tier V Modifications:

  • Pre-teach necessary vocabulary

  • Allow student to use augmentative/alternative communication system to tell partner the descriptions

  • Use pictures/icons to help student with the discussion

 

Assessment: The description/picture will be scored with a rubric that applies one of the five senses. Have the rubric address the same questions found in Tier II additions.

 

 

References:

 

Portalupi, J. & Fletcher, R. (2001) Nonfiction Craft Lessons, Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers

 

Hudson, D. (1999) Solving Writing Problems with Easy Mini-Lessons, Huntington Beach, CA: Creative Teaching Press

 

Fountas, I. C. & Pinnell, G. S. (2001) Guiding Readers and Writers

Grades 3-6, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemanneinemann.

 

Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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