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Strategy: Word Choice (Vivid Verbs) Book Title: Cloud Dance Author: Thomas Locker Grade Level: 2-4

Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.3: Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3d: Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely. Summary: Thomas Locker presents the beauty and intricacies of clouds through poetic text and oil paintings. Each page features one sentence with an accompanying painting that personifies clouds movement and the variety of cloud formations. Goals: The students will identify action verbs in text. I can tell the action verbs that show movement of a person, place, or thing. The students will edit writing to add action verbs. I can edit my writing to replace uninteresting verbs with interesting action verbs that help the readers create pictures in their minds. Anticipatory Set: Call students together and tell them that in writing workshop they will practice adding action verbs to their stories that help the readers create a picture in their minds. To practice, students will listen to a story entitled Cloud Dance by Thomas Locker. Each student should have one piece of paper and a pencil before the story begins. Ask students to sketch the picture they see in their minds as they hear the words read aloud. Remind students that they do not need to sketch a picture for all the words they hear. Rather, they might consider picking one image that sticks out to them to sketch. Do not show students the illustrations while reading. After reading five to seven pages, call students back together and ask students to share their drawings.

Input: Task Analysis: After students share their drawings, ask students to share any of the words they remember from the story that helped them with their sketches. Tell students that action verbs tell what people, animals, or things are doing. Ask students to think about the verbs they recalled from the story. Ask: Are these words action verbs? Do they show what people, animals, or things are doing? Explain that Thomas Locker uses vivid verbs that seem to bring the clouds to life. The reader can form a colorful picture of the scene when the author uses interesting or unusual words. Reread the first page of the book to students. Ask students to look for the action verbs as you read. Identify the action verbs: dance and drift Explain that dance and drift are action verbs because they tell what the clouds are doing. Reread another page in the story. High wispy clouds race in the autumn wind. Ask students to identify the action verb. Explain that race is an action verb because the clouds are doing something, they are racing! Reread the story again and ask students to look for the actions (action verbs) that make the clouds come to life for the reader. Stop after each page and ask students to identify the action verbs in the story. Create a list of action verbs on the white board or a large piece of chart paper. After creating a list of five to ten words, show students a list of uninteresting verbs authors might use in their writing (i.e. like, do, can, run). Ask students to compare the two lists. How are the two lists different? Does one list help you to create a more vivid picture in your mind? How? Tell students that you have rewritten some of Lockers descriptions with ordinary action verbs that are not very interesting or descriptive. Ask students to look for the ordinary verbs as you read the sentences aloud to the students. Brilliant sunset clouds can be seen, then go away. Nighttime clouds with silver edges show in the moonlight. Ask students: What action verbs do you see that could be more vivid and interesting? Work with students to replace the verbs with more vivid verbs that would help the reader picture the scene. We want to make the words we use dance! Reread the sentences with the action verbs students suggested. Reread Lockers actual sentences.

Explain that action verbs like dance, drift, and glow help the words come to life for the reader unlike ordinary words that seem to sit on the page. Name the strategy with the students (i.e. Dancing Clouds strategy) Ask students: What questions do you have? Encourage students to try the Dancing Clouds strategy in their own writing. Dismiss students to do independent writing. Allow students to share their writing with action verbs at the end of the writing workshop.

Materials: For each student: Pencil, sketching paper, writers notebook For teacher: Cloud Dance by Thomas Locker, chart paper or white board, marker, chart of uninteresting words Modeling: Model thinking to determine if a verb is interesting and vivid or uninteresting and vague. Demonstrate selecting uninteresting action verbs in personal writing to replace with vivid verbs. Guided Practice: The teacher will guide students through the process of critiquing personal writing to select uninteresting action verbs. Students will brainstorm words that help to create a mental picture so that the writing comes to life for the readers. Independent Practice: Students will practice using the Dancing Clouds strategy in their own writing by highlighting uninteresting verbs, brainstorming more interesting replacements, and selecting the most vivid and specific verb. After students to spend time practicing the strategy, they will be invited to share their writing. Assessment: The teacher will assess students understanding through observation of the class discussion and students ability to identify action verbs in mentor texts. The teacher can also conference with students and review students writers notebooks to assess students use of vivid verbs in personal writing. Text Information: Locker, T. (2000). Cloud dance. Orlando, FL: Voyager Books. ISBN: 9780152045968 Alternative Text (Grades 1-3): Fleming, D. (1997). Time to sleep. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN: 9780805067675


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