This is my first full week with my students so we started with some warm up activities and ones that get us started and organized. Today, I’m ready to start teaching them the importance of word choice.
My students are seniors, so much of what I’ll cover over the next few classes is not new. However, in my experience, they need the review and the practice. plus I tell them that even though they’ve been hearing about the importance of word choice from English teachers for many years, each year we expect them – the older and more sophisticated version of themselves – to use more complex thought and language in their work.
We will start Wednesday’s class with a book talk and a mini-lesson that reviews tired words and vivid verbs. Then, we will read for fifteen or twenty minutes. I’ll tell my kids to grab some post-it notes (I’ll provide them if necessary) and mark passages where their authors avoided tired words or used strong, active verbs.
Once their reading time is over, they will share their passages with a partner and then I’ll ask for volunteers to share with the whole class. This is an activity we will repeat many times, with different variations, throughout the semester, as I want my kids to become more aware of what good writing looks like.
I do a combination of reading and writing workshop for the first two months of the semester, so during the last part of class, students will have time to write in their writing notebooks. This time, they can write about whatever they want to write about.
As it’s the first time they’ve been given freedom to choose what goes in the notebooks, I’ll begin with my expectations for this and have the kids brainstorm ideas for what they’d like to write about. For those that struggle to find a topic, I have a binder of writing prompts that they can use for inspiration.
Finally, just before class ends, I’ll ask them to read over what they wrote in their notebooks, and highlight any tired words or weak verbs. Then, they’ll take a minute to revise them.
The next day, we reinforce what they have learned about the importance of word choice with a fun collaborative exercise. Find out more here.
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If you’re interested in the lessons I mentioned in this post, you can get more information by clicking the following:
Writing Prompts for Building Skills and Stamina
Literary Elements Mini-Lessons
Activities for Independent Reading
Word Choice Lessons
Reading Workshop Bundle of Activities
Would you like to read about my other lessons this week? Click here for lesson one, here for lesson two, and here for lesson four.