I love teaching writing, and truthfully, I love it because it is a challenge. This year, I have had to step back and rethink some of my teaching strategies for writing. My students have very little experience this year with narrative writing, so I have had to change my teaching approach. This group of students also has a weaker vocabulary than many groups in the past, so to help improve vocabulary, this week we have looked at stories with vivid verbs.
One such story is Arrowhawk by Lola Schaefer. This book not only kept my class glued to each page, but it is also full of powerful verbs! To begin with, I read the first page, replacing the verbs with bland verbs. Then I reread the page with the wonderful verbs the author had written. We then discussed those verbs, their meanings, and how much easier we could visualize the action in the story with those powerful verbs. This idea was inspired by Writingfix.com (http://writingfix.com/forkids/verbgame.htm) (my favorite website!). We then charted the verbs, and I had students to choose 10 of their favorites to use in sentences of their own. We then shared our vivid verb sentences with partners and then with the entire class.
Another day I read Appelemando's Dreams by Patricia Polacco. I absolutely adore Patricia Polacco and would love to meet her! She is such a fabulous author and storyteller! I had not read this book; however, until this week, and I must say, it did not let me down. It, too, is chocked full of fabulous verbs! I simply read this book, and at the end of each page, I repeated many of the powerful verbs. We then charted the verbs, just like before, wrote sentences, and shared with partners and the class. Nothing very fancy, but this is definitely what my students are needing at this point.
I also created colorful vocabulary cards for this activity that I can't wait to print, laminate, and hang on my walls for my class to use for inspiration in their writing for the rest of the year! These cards are so bright and colorful (inspired by the bright colors of Appelemando's dreams)! Also, they are yours for free! Just click on the picture below and download! I know your students will love this story as much as my classes did!