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Liz Rubio Teaching Reading 09/18/17

Teaching Reading: Mini Lesson Format (Calkins, 2001)

Targeted Literacy Strategy or Skill: Creating images with compelling nonfiction.

Grade level: 4th grade

Objective: The student will be able to understand how to write in a way that shows their reader instead of
telling them something.

OAS 2016 / Common Core State Standard: 4.4.W.2 Students will select appropriate language to create a
specific effect according to purpose in writing.
Prior knowledge: (What students already know)
Students already know how to write facts about a subject, including a main
idea with supporting details, and use transitional and signal words.

Observations/Rationale: (Before Lesson) What did you notice in your students work that let you know
this lesson was necessary? (This will be an approximation this semester possibly connected with previous
lessons taught in class.) The students are writing a personal narrative and need to lengthen their stories. The
teacher observed many of the students wrote short sentences such as I was sad. or It was so fun. Students
know that descriptive language makes their writing stronger but need help knowing when and how to write
descriptive language in their writing.
Materials Needed
Lesson from (Name your source including page number) Visualizing in Reading, Showing Not Telling in
Writing STW pg. 136
Mentor Text: Shadow Ball: The History of the Negro Leagues (Ward, Burns, and OConnor 1994)
Google Doc Practice Template printed, chart paper, markers, clip boards, pencils, binder paper, Shadow Ball
excerpt pg. 136 of STW

Student Groups (whole/small group/partners): whole group, partner, individual

Mini Lesson Format:
Connect (AKA~ Anticipatory Set, Engagement/Pre-reading):

It is important for us as writers to make our readers want to keep reading. Since we are currently writing
personal narratives, I think it will be good for us to improve our writing. One way to do this is by using
descriptive language and showing your reader instead of telling them. This is done through adding verbs
and nouns that help your reader visualize what you are writing. Reading is much more enjoyable when we can
visualize the scene or feeling being described in the book instead of just reading it. By using more descriptive
language we will become even better writers than we already are and everyone will want to read our work!

Teach (Model/Explain)
Let me show you guys an example of descriptive language so we can really understand how it is written. I am
not going to read the entire story today because we are more focused on the language used instead of the
storyline. However, during our silent reading or partner reading time feel free to read the rest of the story! The
excerpt is from the book Shadow Ball: The History of the Negro Leagues. I am going to read this excerpt two
times. The first time I want everyone to close your eyes and use the language you hear to help you paint the
picture of what is happening in the scene. The second time I read it you are going to use your papers and
clipboards to write down the really descriptive words that help you paint that picture in your brain.

(Read the first paragraph of the excerpt.)

Okay everyone open your eyes! What scene did you paint in your head?

(Let 2-4 students respond)

Good. This time we are going to write down the verbs and nouns that help us picture the scene in our heads
on the binder paper. If you do not know how to spell the word, its okay, just do your best

(Read excerpt again)

Okay, who wants to share some of the super descriptive words they heard in the story?

(Call on 3 students, let them write the words on the big chart paper)

Active Engagement (AKA~ Check for Understanding: students try it out, teacher observes):
Now that we know what descriptive language looks like and sounds like, we are going to practice it
ourselves. Since we are eventually going to go back and add descriptive language to our own personal
narratives, lets practice using some sentences that may sound similar to things you may have written in your
personal narratives.

(Pass out Google Doc Practice Template)

As you can see on the paper I gave you, I did three examples to help you guys see what good, descriptive
language looks like in our own writing. Lets do the first one as a group. Who wants to read the original

(Let kid read sentence)

Very good! Who has some ideas of words we could use to expand this and make it much more descriptive.
We want our reader to be able to close their eyes and visualize exactly what is happening in the sentence

(Let students pick words, write words chose on poster paper while students write them on their own papers)

Okay so lets make a sentence or two using some of these fantastic words we have come up with

(Let students help make sentence using at least 3 descriptive words)

Now you are going to do the same thing we just did, only with a partner. Your partner is going to be your
friend sitting next to you. Together try to come up with a descriptive sentence for the next one. Lets try to use
at least 3 descriptive words. Make sure to write down all the noun and verbs you think of as possibilities

(Give students 2 minutes)

(**If there is time have students do last sentence individually and allow 3 students to share**)

Link (AKA~ Closing the Lesson [with accountability for the skill/process])
Now during writing workshop today use this worksheet to help you go back in your personal narrative and
add descriptive language to sentences similar to the original sentences on our practice sheet.