We're coming down to the wire on the fiction pieces my students are writing. Almost all of them have submitted a typed second draft, and I'm making my way through them, working as editor. Most kids will hand in final drafts tomorrow.
Part of our class always involves looking at their independent reading to see what they can learn as writers. Last week we looked at setting, this week the focus is on verbs. Most of the kids have written tales of action, all have used dialog. Yesterday they copied a passage from their book and highlighted the verbs, discussing in small groups how the authors chose these verbs to help develop not only the plot, but also character and mood.
Today they used the word processor's highlighting tool to focus on their own verbs, then took a quick gallery walk around the room to see what action-packed vocabulary their classmates had chosen. When they returned to their seats, we made a list of the most notable verbs they had collected in their walk-about, and I showed them how to use the thesaurus tool to expand their choices. "Can we change our verbs now?" someone in every class asked eagerly.
I'm so nice, I let them.