K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Appositive Action
Appositives are descriptive phrases, set off by commas, that modify a noun or noun phrase. Using appositives helps writers create sentences that are smoother and less choppy. In this lesson, students will learn to combine 2 or more descriptive sentences and action sentences into one sentence with an appositive phrase.
Awesome Action Words
Good writers use precise verbs to make stories interesting and vivid. In this lesson, students will learn to replace boring, redundant, generic verbs with more precise “Awesome Action Words.”
Discovering Just the Right Word
Precise word choice helps show the reader a story and not just tell a story. The purpose of this series of lessons is to help students improve their writing style by strengthening word choice at the word and sentence level by adding adverbs, precise verbs, and specific nouns.
Sentence Combining
This lesson is designed for students who write short choppy sentences. Students will learn to combine short choppy sentences that develop their ideas and involve the reader in the action of the story.
Synonym Word Bags
The purpose of Word Bags is to give students a resource for finding synonyms for overused words that they use in their writing on a daily basis. Students will fill Word Bags with synonyms for frequently used words.
Word Closet
Word Closets give students an additional classroom resource for “researching” the correct spelling of words to use in their daily writing. Word Closets are particularly focused toward concept words, season words, and favorite words that students like to use in their writing but may need help with spelling.


Analyzing Author Style Using Sentence Combining
This activity should be completed before reading the essay “Beach People, Mountain People” by Suzanne Britt. Students will combine three sets of kernel sentences based on the first paragraph of Britt’s writing. They will then compare their sentences to Britt’s. The class will discuss what sentence combining strategy or strategies they used and observe how Britt varies her sentences.
Diction in Maya Angelou’s poem, “Remembering”
The class will annotate and discuss Angelou’s poem. Then they will select specific words and complete a webbing that asks them to explore the connotations of the word as well as consider the author’s purpose in using it.
Sentence Combining and Decombining
Students will focus on stylistic choices and sentence fluency by combining, decombining, and recombining sentences in professional writing, peer writing, and their own writing.
Teaching voice
This lesson helps students to develop an effective voice by selecting words that are clear, concrete, and exact. Exercises are based on model sentences from world literature selections.
Mountain Dialect: Reading between the spoken lines
This lesson plan uses Chapter 13 of Our Southern Highlanders (available online) as a jumping-off point to help students achieve social studies and English language arts objectives while developing an appreciation of the uniqueness of regional speech patterns, the complexities of ethnographic encounter, and the need to interrogate primary sources carefully to identify potential biases and misinformation in them. Historical content includes American slavery, the turn-of-the-century, and the Great Depression.