Wednesday, October 26, 2016

And... Action!

With a lesson that revisited action verbs and how their use might make a writing piece more powerful, it became clear that there was a gap in some students' understanding of that part of speech. We had read a wonderfully gross example of personal narrative by Jack Gantos, and so I asked them to pull out a few vivid verbs that they noticed, but after teaching the lesson twice, I knew that my right-after-lunch group that was heavy on boys and energy might not appreciate it fully. And so I enhanced it on the fly.

"Find a great verb in context," I directed them, "and then have your writing partner read the passage and pause as you act out the verb. Remember: verbs are actions!"

There was a buzz in the room as sixth grade writers revisited the story to find the perfect verb. A few hands waved, and when I went to see what they needed, their questions were very similar: How do I act out "puke-smelling" or "private" or "special"?

"You don't," I told them each, "because they're not action verbs."

"Ooooooooohhhhh," they answered, a glimmer of understanding shining in their brains.

See what I did there?

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