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Old 11-25-2006, 07:30 AM
 

I have done a couple of exercises with my students for writing descriptively. It's something that we build on all year long because otherwise they write very plain, boring sentences.

One thing I like to do, usually at the beginning of the year, is discuss how to turn a plain sentence into a descriptive sentence. I give them one sentence, such as, "It rained." I give an example of how to add description to the sentence so that it says, "Drops of water fell from the sky." We talk about how to add adverbs, adjectives, prepositional phrases, etc. to make the sentence more descriptive. Then I have the students write down their own version of the sentence and share. Some students are more descriptive than others, so sharing helps the "weaker" ones hear some "stronger" ones. At the end of the lesson, I have them find one sentence in each paragraph of their writing where they can add in some description just like we did with "It rained."

Another lesson I do is show them two versions of the same story, one very simple and to the point, one more descriptive. We read them both and compare the two. We list all of the things the author added to the second story to keep in notebooks for reference: dialogue, adjectives, details, similes, etc. Then I give them a very simple story that they have to retell by adding in details. It's interesting because the students start with the same story, but after they add to it, they're all very different. I refer to this throughout the year when students start to slack off with their details.
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