Friday, January 18, 2013

Paragraph Writing

Have you ever needed to go backwards in order to move forwards? Well, this week we took a step back from essay writing and spent time developing strong paragraphs. I highly recommend Jane Kiester's book, Blowing Away the State Writing Assessment. Kiester offers detailed instruction on how to bring out the best writing in our students.

For the last two weeks we spent time on writing development along with vocabulary, spelling, and reference skills.

The students created paragraphs eliminating all dead verbs (am, are, is ,has , had, etc.) except the first and last sentences within the paragraph. The middle sentences included active verbs, figurative language, and vivid vocabulary. The students enjoyed using fun prompts!

Two student examples-

The School Dance
The school dance was a night to remember. As soon as I walked in, I felt the music vibrate through my body like sound waves vibrate through a drum. Students danced to songs that seemed to worm their way into their bodies and banish all cares.  Everybody laughed with the principal as he boogied to the music along with them. As a slow song came on, one-by-one the students grabbed a dancing partner and flooded onto the floor. The dj shouted along with the songs, and skillfully changed from song to song. This was not a typical night in middle school.


The school dance was outrageous. Students listened to awesome rap and hip-hop music. Teachers jammed as the next songs came on. Boys and girls partied and partied until they could party no more. The dj spun and mixed up songs together. Mrs. Farmer burst in and started to break dance. The dance was awesome.


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