These first few months of this school year have been a little bit rough in the writing department in room 37. I find myself pulling out lessons from last year and discovering mid-way through them that this year’s students need more. More time. More practice. More scaffolding. More patience!
We are still focusing on sentence writing and I have spent more time this year than I EVER have on teaching students to choose strong, vivid verbs that not only tell the action of the sentence, but also tell HOW without adding anything extra.
A really basic example:
(boring verb) Tim walks to school.
(vivid verb) Tim hobbles to school.
You get the idea.
So many of my students either OVER-did the verb or UNDER-did the verb. I was so frustrated! I would either get this:
Tim runs to school.
Really??? You changed walk to run and you want me to be impressed with that?!
Tim peregrinates to school.
Yes, peregrinates is actually the word one of my students substituted for walk, and I had to look up the word myself.
peregrinate – to travel or journey, especially on foot
Some of these kids will pick any word from the thesaurus, the more awkward and complicated the better.
So now, we have a new word in our vocabulary. In my classroom, peregrinate now means to use a word that is so ridiculously obscure that you have no business using it whatsoever.
Just like we call each other out on toaster-strudeling, we now call each other out on peregrinating.
Hint: When your teacher needs a dictionary just to grade your paper, you’ve overdone it. THAT’S peregrinating.
So, we spent an extra WEEK on verbs. At this point, I’m pretty sure I have done everything I possibly can to make sure my students can choose the right verbs when writing sentences.
Here’s something new we added to our interactive notebooks – a mini-verb thesaurus.
right side – when closed
And, we focused on ONLY verbs and replaced boring verbs with vivid verbs in sentences.
Since I know that many of you will be teaching a similar lesson, whether you’re using my writing notebook or not, I went ahead and put these new activities in one PDF and made it a freebie.
Grab it on TpT, and if you find it useful, be sure to leave a little love there for me!
Next week, we’ll be writing our first essay. Oh, boy!