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

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • act out emotion words.
  • use action and descriptive words to show a character’s emotions, feelings, and internal responses to events.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes

Materials/resources

  • Transparency of Strong vs Weak Story (pdf | rtf)
  • Transparency or chart paper
  • Emotions written on index cards (1 per card)
  • “Adding Muscle” Handout (pdf | rtf)
  • Four Transparencies with the four sentences from the Adding Muscle Handout at the top, and space to add new versions of the sentences below.
  • Overhead transparency markers

Technology resources

Overhead projector or other projection device

Activities

Modeling/Mini-lesson

(20 minutes)

  1. Review transparency of Strong vs Weak Story, comparing the differences between good stories and list-like stories. Point out that weak stories are just lists of events with no feelings or emotions.
  2. Say: “Emotions are an important element of a strong story. Good writers let the reader know what characters are thinking about when something happens. But it’s not enough to just tell what a character is feeling. Good writers show what a character is feeling.”
  3. Ask students to help create a list of emotions that the characters in their stories might have. Record emotions on transparency or chart paper.
  4. Tell students that one way to make emotions more powerful is to stretch out the moment by recording the character’s actions, facial expressions, gestures, and movements. Read the following examples aloud:
    “Billy was really mad!” vs. “Billy’s hands curled into two tight fists. His face turned bright red as he glared at his big brother. Suddenly Billy threw his glove across the room. He whipped around and stormed up the stairs. His bedroom door slammed shut, echoing throughout the entire house.”
  5. Discuss what makes the second example a more powerful example. The second example is a better way to include emotions because it shows Billy’s actions, facial expressions, gestures, and movements. It also stretches out the moment.
  6. Have volunteers choose an emotion card and act out the emotion. Think about face, body, and movement. Have classmates guess the emotion. Share how they could write what they saw and heard. Model those words and examples on a transparency by writing a description of the scene. (Modeled writing)
  7. Repeat the activity by having a student choose a card to act out the emotion. Have the students help you write the description on a transparency. (Shared Writing)

Guided Practice

(20 minutes)

  1. Give students the “Adding Muscle” handout. In small groups, have them expand each of the sentences into 3 or more sentences that show the emotion, using words that show rather than tell.
  2. Prepare separate transparencies with the original version of each sentence at the top. Have each group write their expanded version on the transparency under the original version. Compare the new expanded versions to the original versions of each sentence and discuss which versions work best at showing the emotion, and why.

Independent Practice

  1. For homework, have students choose an emotion to include in a draft of a narrative they are working on. Tell them to act out the emotion and then write an expanded version of the emotion to add to their revised draft.

Assessment

  • Can students (as a class) expand an emotion into 3 or 4 sentences that show the emotion?
  • Can students (individually) identify an emotion in a narrative they are working on and add 3 or more sentences to their draft that show the emotion?

Supplemental information

  • Writing Feature: Support and elaboration
  • Writing Process Stage: Revising
  • Writing Environment: Expressive
  • Writing Genre: Personal narrative, imaginative narrative.

  • 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.
        • Grade 5
          • 5.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

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.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.04: Compose two or more paragraphs with:
      • topic sentences.
      • supporting details.
      • appropriate, logical sequence.
      • sufficient elaboration.

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.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.04: Compose multiple paragraphs with:
      • topic sentences.
      • specific, relevant details.
      • logical progression and movement of ideas.
      • coherence.
      • elaboration.
      • concluding statement related to the topic.

Grade 5

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.08: Focus revision on target elements by:
      • improving word choice.
      • rearranging text for clarity.
      • creating simple and/or complex sentences for clarity or impact.
      • developing a lead, characters, or mood.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.04: Determine the impact of word choice on written and spoken language.