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Writing StrategiesWriting-Strategies

  • Subject: Writing
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: 1-2 class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will
  • Learn how descriptive words make stories clearer and more interesting.
  • Write stories using descriptive words

Materials


Procedures

  1. Have your students close their eyes and listen as you describe a familiar object in the classroom. Ask students to raise their hands if they think they know what the object is. Ask students to list the descriptive words that helped them identify the object. Would they have known the object if you had not used those words?
  2. Discuss the importance of using descriptive words in written stories. Have students watch Writing Strategies. Then ask them to share other descriptive words they would use to identify elephants or the dog breeds shown in the program. Share some examples of how descriptive words make stories clearer and more interesting.
  3. List the names of common household or classroom items on the board or on a piece of chart paper where students can see it. As a class, brainstorm words that describe the items. Write these descriptive words on the board or chart paper and talk about them. Which words are more descriptive than others? Which words are less descriptive? Which words can be used to describe more than one item in the list? Which words help clearly identify an item?
  4. Ask students to think of other common items and keep their ideas to themselves. Tell them that they will write a descriptive paragraph about one item without writing the name of it. Each paragraph should be at least five sentences and describe such details as the item's appearance, how heavy it is, what it is used for, its color, and where it is found; students should not reveal the name of the item in their paragraphs. Explain that students will read other students' finished paragraphs to see if they can figure out the items based on the descriptive words.
  5. Give students time in class to write their paragraphs. Remind them to use as many descriptive words as they can, without naming the item. Discuss the importance of using clear, complete sentences and following the basic rules of writing.
  6. When students have finished writing their paragraphs, have them switch them with a partner. Have the partners read the paragraphs and try to identify the items described. What descriptive words did students use? What words or phrases clearly described the items?
  7. Ask volunteers who had trouble identifying an item to share the paragraph with the rest of the class. Talk about ways these paragraphs could be improved. What descriptive words or phrases could be used to more clearly identify the item?
  8. Once the paragraphs have been read and discussed, have the class summarize what they have learned about descriptive words. Ask students to talk about the important role descriptive words play in making stories and other writing clearer and more interesting to readers.

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Evaluation


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:  Students were highly engaged in class discussions and partner readings; demonstrated a clear understanding of the importance of using descriptive words in writing; and wrote creative, unique, and descriptive paragraphs that contained no grammatical or spelling errors, and clearly identified a particular item without revealing its name.
  • Two points:  Students participated in class discussions and partner readings; demonstrated a general understanding of the importance of using descriptive words in writing; and wrote somewhat creative, unique, and descriptive paragraphs that contained few grammatical or spelling errors, and generally identified a particular item without revealing its name.
  • One point:  Students participated minimally in class discussions and partner readings; were unable to demonstrate a basic understanding of the importance of using descriptive words in writing; and wrote incomplete or inaccurate paragraphs that contained multiple grammatical or spelling errors and did not clearly identify a particular item or revealed the name of the item.

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Vocabulary


descriptive
Definition: Serving to convey an idea, image, or impression
Context: Descriptive words can make your writing clearer and more interesting.

sentence
Definition: A string of words satisfying the grammatical rule of a language; a grammatical unit that is syntactically independent
Context: Writers use different kinds of sentences when they write.

story
Definition: An account of events or series of events, either true or fictitious
Context: You have written a great story about your favorite foods.

writing
Definition: A written work, especially a literary composition
Context: Good writers think a lot about their writing before they start to work.

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Academic Standards


Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visithttp://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Language Arts-Writing: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process; Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing
  • Language Arts-Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching the English language arts. To view the standards online, go to http://www.ncte.org/standards
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students use spoken, written and visual language to accomplish their own purposes.

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