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

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Learning outcomes

Students will use slow motion replay to expand an event in their draft.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hour


  • Transparency with a 1 sentence event to expand.
  • Transparency of Slow Motion Replay questions (pdf | rtf)
  • Transparency of Homerun story (pdf | rtf)
  • Set of stories written by students
  • Highlighter (for teacher)

Technology resources

Overhead Projector



  1. Put a transparency on the overhead with the sentence : “A time I felt really proud was when I hit a homerun in my little league game.”
  2. Tell students: “Sometimes when we write, we assume that the reader knows the details. For example, if I were writing about a time that I was proud, I might choose the time I hit a homerun in a little league game. But I might assume that the reader doesn’t need any details about ‘hitting the homerun’ since everyone knows what that means. A good writer must let the reader into the story by allowing him to see what is going on. One way to do this is with slow motion replays on TV. We are going to look at this event (hitting a homerun) as if it were being done in slow motion.”
  3. Ask for a student volunteer to demonstrate hitting a homerun using the “slow motion replay” technique. Then interview the student in front of the class about this event using the questions on the transparency. The purpose of the interview is to guide the student through the process of hitting the homerun by asking “frame by frame” questions.
  4. After all the details have been given, the teacher must say, “Let’s see, what that would sound like if we wrote that in the story.” Then the teacher tells the story, putting in the details that the student has given during the interview. This part is a vital step because the student needs the opportunity to hear the flow of the language in the narrative. The story, of course, will depend on the details the student has given you during the interview. Ask students if they can visualize the homerun better when they hear it in slow motion.
  5. Show students the transparency of the slow motion replay of the homerun using the Homerun attachment. Remind them that Slow Motion Replay (SMR) is a good way to add details to their stories.

Guided Practice

  1. Using a set of stories already drafted by the students, highlight a place in each story where a “slow motion replay” would be effective.
  2. As each student is given his/her paper, comment on the part highlighted. For example, “Juan, I want to see you trying to get on that horse. Anne, put in a slow motion replay for the part where you dropped your tray in the cafeteria and splattered food all over the teacher. Mary, try putting in a slow motion replay for the part where your brother snatched your ice cream cone and you started to cry” and so on. In doing so, the teacher has an individual conference with each student, taking no more than three minutes.
  3. As the students work on composing their slow motion replays, circulate around the class, asking pertinent questions to give students jump starts on using this technique. They will quickly get the hang of the technique.
  4. Invite some students to share what they have added to their stories. Staple or clip the slow motion replays to the original stories. Unless you or the students decide to publish the story, there is no need to copy it over to insert the slow motion replay (SMR).
  5. After this lesson, the teacher will be able to suggest using “SMR” to extend supporting details, and students will know exactly what to do.


Students’ expanded drafts.

Supplemental information

Show students examples of literature that uses the “Slow Motion Replay” strategy. Some examples:

  • “Hitting a homerun” in Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
  • “Trying to jump aboard a train Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (pages 84-85)
  • “Fighting with a friend” in Storm Warriors by Elisa Carbone (page 39, last paragraph).

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 3
          • 3.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
        • Grade 4
          • 4.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.08: Focus reflection and revision (with assistance) on target elements by:
      • clarifying ideas.
      • adding descriptive words and phrases.
      • sequencing events and ideas.
      • combining short, related sentences.
      • strengthening word choice.

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.08: Focus revision on a specific element such as:
      • word choice.
      • sequence of events and ideas.
      • transitional words.
      • sentence patterns.