Like the basement of a house, IDEA DEVELOPMENT is the solid foundation of a good
piece of writing.. If students begin with a good idea, their writing can be made
as large as they want. It can be mansion size if that is what they desire!
Anecdotes-personal & on topic
Original and real
From larger picture to smaller
Stays on topic
Clear and on
Interesting an important
Luscious and rich
Quality-stick to topic
Easy to follow
the pieces fit
Research is in your own words
Take risks to put your own
Give each student a small
button. Get the
students to describe their button fully. Instruct students not to
use the name of the button anywhere in the description. Have a box.
Put all descriptions in the box. Have students draw
from the box, read the description and then guess
whose button it describes.
When the activity is finished and most have had a turn,
discuss which ones were easier to identify and why. Show strategies for
making writing more descriptive.
Think about your audience before writing your personal narrative
about something you saw while driving in the car. Describe it fully.
Have students read these orally and get students to
draw the action as they read. Discuss what details were visible and what
ones the listener had to fill in.
Go to the computer and look up some facts about any animal of
your choosing. When you have read quite a bit about the animal,
write a one page story about the animal going to your town and what
happened. Use as many details about the physical appearance as you
can by using phrasing such as ...his yellow stripes disappeared
behind the garage.
Read a few orally. Give students strips of paper
and they are to write several details on the paper as the story is being
read orally. Then get students to go in groups and put the story details
in order using their strips of paper. Don't repeat too many details or
rip off those that are repeated.
Conference with individual students or groups to refine
Activity: Pick A Postcard
Find a set of postcards related to a single topic such as dogs, beach
scenes, or city buildings. Give each student a postcard. Ask them to
write a paragraph about the image that is so descriptive, readers will
easily be able to identify the postcard in the set. Then display all of
the postcards. Have students read their paragraphs aloud and see if
classmates can guess the card.
Explain that the more specific and colorful the
details, the quicker the match. Have students vote on which postcards
grabbed their attention best.
When You write
Keep your audience in mind . Who will read this story or
poem? Why will they keep reading it? What is my
purpose for writing it? Questions you ask yourself
are- Is my message clear? Do I have enough