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

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Learning outcomes

  • Students should be able to use more expressive verbs when writing original narratives.
  • Students will be able to infer meaning by using the context of the story.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hours

Materials/resources

  • writing journals or notebooks
  • pencils
  • chalkboard
  • Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg
  • chalk
  • construction paper in shape of tombstone
  • markers

Pre-activities

Previously, students have been introduced to narrative writing and have written at least one original narrative. In addition, two mini-skill lessons have been taught on dialogue and quotation marks.

Activities

  1. Students will listen to the story Chicken Little and review the main parts of a narrative.
  2. Teacher will discuss synonyms and how they make a story more interesting.
  3. Students will listen to Chicken Little a second time and raise their hands each time they hear a synonym for “said.”
  4. Teacher will list on the board the 18 synonyms for “said” used in the story. Words students should find are: announced, chuckled, shrieked, asked, cried, observed, demanded, squawked, wailed, whispered, murmured, chorused, added, declared, sneered, snapped, insisted, and screamed.
  5. Students will list in their writing notebooks alternate words for “said” to refer to when they are writing narratives.
  6. To reinforce the new vocabulary, students will dramatize conversations to show understanding of the synonyms for “said.” For example, one student will portray the fox and read, “‘That little featherhead will make a tasty chicken salad sandwich,’ he chuckled.” (Student laughs as he reads the sentence.) Dramatize as many words as time allows.

Assessment

  • Students will create original dialogue between characters from Chicken Little. They will use at least 8 of the verbs for “said” we discussed in the lesson.
  • Students must use the words correctly and effectively in their stories.
  • In future narratives, students will continue to refer to their notebooks for synonyms for “said” and use them effectively in their imaginative and personal narratives.

Supplemental information

Comments

  • Teacher can post the word “said” on a tombstone and below it write all the words students could use in place of it.
  • Chicken Little is also an excellent source for helping students increase overall vocabulary and infer meaning from context.
  • This book could also be used when teaching students how to write effective endings to imaginary narratives.

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

        • Grade 2
          • 2.L.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
        • Grade 3
          • 3.L.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
        • Grade 4
          • 4.L.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic...
      • Writing

        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
        • 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 2

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.02: Use expanded vocabulary to generate synonyms for commonly overused words to increase clarity of written and oral communication.

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.