Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Rewriting Alexander's Day

Julia Unger

Description

Students experiment with word choice and sentence fluency to revise [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] by Judith Viorst.

Objectives

The student revises writing to improve supporting details and word choice by adding or substituting text.

Materials

- Viorst, J. [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day]. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972.
- Transparency of Demonstration - Second Page Transparency (see associated files)
- Demonstration Answers (see associated files)
- Book Excerpts (see associated files)
- Assessment Sentences (see associated files), 1 per student
- white index cards, 1 per student partner group
- pink index cards, 1 per student partner group
- green index cards, 1 per student partner group

Preparations

1. Find the book [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] by Judith Viorst.
2. Make a transparency of Demonstration - Second Page Transparency (see associated files).
3. Glue Book Excerpts (see associated files) onto white index cards. Glue one excerpt onto each index card.
4. Print multiple copies of Assessment Sentences Paper (see associated files), one per student.
5. Gather pink & green index cards (or any two colors).
6. Prepare list of student partner groups.

Procedures

Day One:
1. Prior to the actual teaching of this lesson, read [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] by Judith Viorst to familiarize and make students comfortable with the text.

Day Two:
1. Reread [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] by Judith Viorst.

2. Discuss the author’s use of words in her sentences. Why would Judith Viorst make her words simple and easy to understand? (The story is told from the point of view of a young child, so she wouldn’t want to get too fancy and complicated).

3. Using a transparency of the second page (Demonstration - Second Page Transparency, see associated files), ask, “How you can scale down the words to include only the most basic word choice” (Demonstration Answers, see associated files). Model writing your scaled down version on a green index card labeled “Boring Word Choice.”

4. Using the same transparency of the second page, ask, “How you can add words such as adjectives and verbs to improve word choice” (Demonstration Answers, see associated files).
Model writing your improved version on a pink index card labeled “Awesome Word Choice.”

5. Partner students.

6. Pass out one white index card with an excerpt of [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] glued onto them to each partner group (Book Excerpts, see associated files). Also give one green and one pink index card to each partner group.

7. Instruct students to label the green card “Boring Word Choice,” and the pink card “Awesome Word Choice.”

8. Instruct students to take the words of Judith Viorst and “experiment” with them much like you did. They should revise the writing to create a scaled down version of her words to make a “Boring Word Choice” card. They should also revise by adding adjectives and substituting more vivid verbs to make an “Awesome Word Choice” card.

9. Scotch tape index cards onto their appropriate pages of the book as students finish.

Day Three:
1. All student index cards should be taped into the book on appropriate pages.

2. Reread [Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day] as the “Boring Word Choice” version. Ask students, “What changed in the boring version?” “Would you like to read the boring version?” and other related questions.

3. Reread the book again using the “Awesome Word Choice” version. Ask students, “What parts of speech did everyone seem to change or add to improve the story?” “Which version painted the best picture for you, the Boring Word Choice Version, the normal Judith Viorst version, or the Awesome Word Choice version?” and other related questions.

4. Remind students that Judith Viorst used normal, everyday word choice on purpose. She wanted to make the main character young and realistic.

5. Pass out the Assessment Sentences (see associated files) to each student. Ask student to revise each sentence to improve the word choice. They can add or change whatever words they want as long as the sentence meaning stays the same. Use this assessment to formatively assess students understanding of word choice and their ability to add or substitute words to make these improvements.

Assessments

NOTE: This lesson only assesses the revision of writing to improve word choice by adding or substituting text.

Students create 2 index cards with revised sentences from [Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day]. Students also complete an Assessment Sentences sheet (see associated files).

-Index card #1 should demonstrate basic word choice of Viorst’s material.
-Index card #2 should add adjectives and more vivid verbs to improve upon word choice of Viorst’s material.
-Successful completion of Assessment Sentences (see associated files) demonstrating ability to revise text to improve word choice by adding or substituting text.

Assessment Tool:
Using the index cards indicated in Evidence, formatively assess student ability to revise writing in Judith Viorst’s book according to their additions and substitutions of words such as adjectives and vivid verbs. Give feedback and additional opportunities to work on skills as needed.

After partner activity, give students individual sentences (Assessment Sentences, see associated files) to formatively assess their ability to independently add or substitute adjectives and vivid verbs in a revision of the sentence.

Extensions

To extend this lesson, students revise their own writing. Using index cards, students write every sentence of a piece of writing on separate index cards (one sentence per card). Students then revise their writing to improve word choice by making substitutions and additions of verbs and adjectives.

Attached Files

Demonstration - Second Page Transparency     File Extension: pdf

Demonstration Answers     File Extension: pdf

Book Excerpts     File Extension: pdf

Assessment Sentences     File Extension: pdf

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.