Adjectives in Front: Varying Sentence Styles

Adjectives in Front: Varying Sentence Styles

This is one of my favorite charts to create with students. I have made variations of this chart with students in grades second through eleventh. This simple way to add sentence variety is fun and easy to do.   Introducing this Chart: I began by writing five actual sentences taken from the introductory paragraphs of argument papers that a group… Read more →

Transitions Beyond First, Next, and Then

Transitions Beyond First, Next, and Then

Students are regularly taught that writers use transitions to move to different ideas with a piece of writing. Unfortunately, many students think that sequence words followed by a comma are the only types of transitions that exist. This often results in a very limited use of transitions and an overuse of sequential transitions. Students of all ages can benefit from… Read more →

Establishing Context Beyond Ordinary Hooks

Establishing Context Beyond Ordinary Hooks

This is a great chart to help stretch out introductions. When students prepare to argue a point, they commonly create thesis statements that name their points in one sentence. When students do this, they end up with nothing much left to write in their introduction. We encourage them to provide context, background, or hook their readers in this space. While… Read more →

Describing Settings and Characters

Describing Settings and Characters

This checklist was created with fifth graders working on realistic fiction pieces. We were fleshing out our character and setting descriptions, but students were only sticking with basics like physical appearance what they could see on the outside. I wanted them to go deeper and really think about how many different elements made up a character or a setting. I… Read more →

Analyzing Literary Devices

Analyzing Literary Devices

A common method of analysis is to read a piece of literature or informational text as a writer. This means that students analyze the author’s craft. One of the most accessible ways to do this is examine how different authors use literary devices. At the beginning of our unit, I created this chart with a group of seventh graders. I… Read more →