Friday, November 1, 2013

Putting "Tired" Words to Rest!

In writing, we have been taking our drafts through the revising stage. If I could pick a favorite stage of the writing process, this would be it. I love revising…even though it is one of the most challenging stages to teach. Revising is all about making your draft or story SOUND better…adding details and adjectives, making your story more interesting and exciting etc. So why is it challenging?? Most kids think their writing is absolutely perfect and does not need any changes. So…to model revising and to show that even Mrs. MeGown has to revise, I prepared a quick draft, omitting exciting details, on a larger piece of chart paper. Then I modeled reading my piece out loud to hear how my story sounded. I re-read several sentences and added details and adjectives. Then I re-read my revised story and received a round of applause. :) It was much better.

Later in the week, our team decided to focus on overused and tired words. Our beginning writers often struggle with thinking of words outside of these tired words. We also have intermediate writers who just need to expand their vocabulary. Because the week of Halloween was upon us, we wrote the "tired" words on tombstones (grey construction paper).  Then we wrote some alternatives to the "tired" words in hopes to use them in our drafts!

We did this one together as a class…

We wrote the new words in color to show how these words "add color" to your writing and make it sound better.

After our class example was completed, I had prepared 5 more so that each group could brainstorm together. Some were more challenging than others. I gave the group about 10 minutes to see what they could come up with before I came around with some word books and thesaurus on the iPads. Once completed, the next day, we did a gallery walk where the kids visited each tombstone to see all the groups' "tired" words.

After the gallery walk, the kids got out their drafts and changed a few "tired" words to exciting words. I did emphasize the importance of not completely kicking these words out of their drafts. It is sometimes necessary and will sound best with those words, just not all the time. So we discussed that we are not burying the words completely…just putting them to rest for awhile. :)

When we were finished, we put them out in the hallway!


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