Objective: Today your job is to remember what your character/person is doing and write down the words of what you see in your mind.
One of the lessons that my students need is adding details that add to the story instead of boring details. Typically writers tell us that the sky is blue, the clouds are white, the bike is red. The writer using adjectives. We need to move our writers to writing strong verbs that describe the actions of the characters. I don’t necessarily say (especially to my first and second grade writers), “We are writing strong verbs that describe the actions of the characters.” Instead I ask my writers,
- “What did you do when you were swinging at the park?”
- “What did you do when you saw Grandma sitting by the tree with the wrapped present?”
- “What did you do when you were digging a hole at the beach?”
(This is is assuming that the writer is the character. The question is also suggesting and supporting verb choice.)
The teacher might encourage the child to picture what he/she was doing at the beach. “Close your eyes and remember remember digging the hole in the sand.”
The child talks to the teacher about the memory: I remember running on the sand that was hot enough to fry an egg. The sand sticks to you like glue. I helped my cousin dump buckets of water into the hole I dug with my cousin.
Teacher says, “You have told me important details that you remember about your day at the beach.”
Teacher continues by asking, “What does it look like to dig a hole at the beach?” She helps the writer act out digging, shoveling, patting, dumping as they practice saying the sentences together. “I am digging a hole. I am shoveling the sand.”
Teacher continues talking, “Now let’s think about how these details would sound as a story.”
On a hot summer day I played in the sand with my cousin. I scooped the light sand with my shovel first. “Look out,” I said as the sand fell back in the hole. We dragged the dry sand away from the hole with our whole arms. My cousin said, “It worked.” I thought the sand was sticky like syrup, but I didn’t mind. We dug deep, poured water and patted the sides. I dumped a pail of sand into the water every time my cousin and I filled it. “Let’s stick our feet in it!” I said to my cousin when we finished. The sand was wet and squishy. It was great fun.
Teacher says, “Today I was thinking about digging a hole in the sand. I was describing what it looked like. Remember whenever you write, you need to think about the person doing something.”