Lesson plans for teaching support and elaboration
A collection of LEARN NC's lesson plans for teaching support and elaboration, the third of the five features of effective writing.
- Action Chains
- Students learn to elaborate on an event in a narrative by expanding their sentences into action chains. Expanding single actions into an action chain provides the reader with a more detailed picture of an event in a narrative.
- Adding Emotions to Your Story
- One way to make stories even better is to show emotions, and not just tell them. In this lesson, students will use actions, gestures, and facial expressions to act out emotions.
- Description as Mind Control: Using Details to Help Readers Visualize Your Story
- Good writers help their readers visualize their stories by including vivid details. Students will listen to passages from Gary Paulsen’s novel Hatchet, draw one of the images from the passage, and identify which details Paulsen uses to create these images.
- Plain Polly: Adding relevant details
- This instructional technique creates a lasting visual image of how relevant details help develop a character and a focus. Students learn to add only details that are related to the main idea of a “Plain Polly” stick figure. These mascots serve as reminders to students to be selective with the details they use to support their main idea.
- First Draft/Final Draft
- Students will compare paragraphs with and without elaboration and descriptive details. They will learn how to revise their own writing by adding descriptive details such as adjectives, adverbs, concrete nouns, and precise verbs.
- Sentence Carousel
- Adjectives, adverbs, and precise language help construct descriptive sentences. In this lesson, students will learn to construct more elaborate sentences that will enliven their writing.
- “So What?” Details
- Students will learn that adding details to a piece of writing doesn’t make it better if the details are “So What?” details. Details and elaboration should be related to the main idea and should move the story along in an interesting manner.
- Stretch It Out
- Show, Don’t Tell: Using Action Words
- To strengthen their writing and make it livelier, students will learn to use action words to show how their characters feel.
- Slow Motion Replay
- Students will learn to use slow motion replay of a moment in a narrative to make it easier for the reader to feel that he or she is actually experiencing the event.
- Spider Legs
- This strategy for peer conferencing helps students learn to use “Spider Legs” to answer revision questions, and then insert the revised information into their drafts.
- Story Surgery
- As early as first grade, children can begin to revise their stories using “Story Surgery.” In this lesson, students learn how to use scissors to perform “story surgery” by cutting their stories apart at the point where more information can be added.
- The Taste of Relevance
- Students will learn the importance of selecting relevant details by picking the right toppings for an ice cream sundae. This activity gives the students a concrete visual memory of what good details are.
Good writers stretch out the important scenes in a story to make them more interesting to their readers. In this lesson, students will learn to stretch out a scene by adding things that they see, hear, think, and say to others.
- Adding Support and Detail Without Getting Arrested!
- This lesson plan is designed to teach students the concept of using facts to support ideas and to interpret (elaborate on) those facts in order to create a synthesized paragraph.
- Analyzing Significant Events in Jim the Boy
- This activity, to be completed after reading Tony Early’s Jim the Boy, helps students identify examples and details and then analyze them effectively. The class will brainstorm examples of life-changing events in Jim’s life. The teacher will select one of the events, find the pages in the novel where it is discussed, and show the students how to annotate the text by marking details and commenting on them. Using a “T” chart, the class will then select three of the details to analyze.
- Defining Tyranny
- Students will focus on gathering support for and elaborating on ideas for an essay of definition on tyranny. Students will use examples from history and from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
- Essays of Definition: Lively Writing through Professional Models
- This lesson examines a professional model of a definition paper and asks students to analyze and imitate the structures of using anecdotes and cause and effect to elaborate an essay of definition.
- Highlighting Revisions, Glossing Changes
- By highlighting their revisions and explaining (i.e.,glossing) the changes they have made to a draft of their work, students will not only become more proficient writers but will also become more conscious of the process of revision and thus more reflective writers. Further, teachers will find it easier to monitor and evaluate student revisions.
- Practicing Elaboration in a Problem/Solution Essay
- One theory suggests that students tend to list in an essay because they lack the tools to elaborate. Because they do not have the strategies, they attempt to fill up the empty space by introducing new primary ideas instead of fleshing out the ideas they have already presented. This activity attempts to make students aware of the need to elaborate and to provide students with some workable strategies for elaborating. Using a PowerPoint presentation, the teacher demonstrates the necessity for elaboration in a problem/solution essay. Students then choose a particular point in the PowerPoint presentation to expand through elaboration.
- Selecting Evidence to Support an Argument
- This is a strategy lesson to teach students how to select evidence from a text to support an argument for an essay. It was designed to take two class periods and is comprised of three mini-lessons; these lessons include teacher modeling strategy to large group, student practice with strategy in small groups, and student practice with strategy individually on what will ultimately be the essay that they write.
- Using Extended Similes to Elaborate and Add Style
- Students will analyze a series of extended similes, develop criteria for strong and weak extended similes, and begin using extended similes as a tool for elaboration in their own writing.