Beacon Lesson Plan Library

More Choices

Andrea Raley

Description

Did you know that words you use could be strong or weak? This activity explores the writing skill of using appropriate word choice. Explore word choice in books, create strong words, and learn the meaning of onomatopoeia.

Objectives

The student uses elements of grammar in speech (including but not limited to present, past, and future verb tenses; subject-verb agreement; pronouns as subjects).

The student varies language according to situation, audience, and purpose (for example, appropriate tone, content, vocabulary).

The student uses appropriate words to shape reactions, perceptions, and beliefs (for example, synonyms, antonyms, figurative language).

Materials

-Book: Fox, Mem. [Night Noises]. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1989.
-Overhead projector
-Poem: Forney, Melissa. “Onomatopoeia.” [Razzle Dazzle Writing]. Gainesville: Maupin House, 2001.
-Transparencies
-Chart paper for word wall posters
-Writing notebooks

Preparations

1. Obtain the materials that are needed to complete the lesson.
2. Prepare a transparency of pages 5-6 of the story rewritten with “tired” or overused words and a transparency of the original wording.
3. Have copies made of the Word Choice worksheet in the associated file ready for the students.

Procedures

Note: The following lesson is used to teach fourth grade students in writing. It is a way to help improve their writing skills after they have already learned the basics of composing a narrative and an expository piece of writing.

1. Write on the board the following sentence: The boy ran. Ask the students what they could add to the sentence to make it more interesting. What details could they give so that the reader could visualize it happening?

2. Display on the overhead a transparency of pages 5-6 of [Night Noises] by Mem Fox rewritten with “tired” or overused words.

3. Leading student discussion, have student volunteers give some other adjectives that would be more descriptive. Continue until the paragraph sounds pleasing to the students.

4. Display on the overhead the transparency of the actual passage of [Night Noises] and see how the class’s version compares to it.

5. Read and share [Night Noises] with the students. As you’re reading, use expression and suspense in your voice to add excitement to the story for the students.

6. Have students take out a previous writing piece from their notebook and identify words that are “tired” that they have overused such as fun, good, nice, big, etc.

7. Choose those words that the students have identified and create a list of more descriptive adjectives that could be used instead. Write these words on chart paper and display these on the word wall.

8. Write “walk” on the board and then a sentence using it as a verb. For example: The girl walked down the street. Lead student discussion on how many different ways to say “walk.” Then replace it with a stronger verb such as the following: The girl strolled down the street.

9. Using pages 5-6 of [Night Noises] on a transparency, identify the verbs. Which verbs are strong and which are weak.

10. Discuss the weak verbs and brainstorm with the students to create a list of stronger verbs to replace them. Once this is complete, write these words on chart paper and display these on the word wall.

11. Introduce the word “onomatopoeia.” Have students predict the meaning of it.

12. Read the poem entitled “Onomatopoeia” written by Melissa Forney to spark excitement for it.

13. Read [Night Noises] again to the students and have them write down every example they hear of onomatopoeia.

14. Have students work in groups of four or five to create onomatopoeia for a variety of things such as a mean dog, a crying baby, a doorbell, etc.

15. Have the students complete the Word Choice worksheet that is included in the associated file.

Assessments

Note: The following lesson is used to teach fourth grade students in writing. It is a way to help improve their writing skills after they have already learned the basics of composing a narrative and an expository piece of writing.

Use the completed Word Choice worksheet (See Associated File) to formatively assess the student’s ability to:
-use appropriate words to shape reactions, perceptions, and beliefs.
-use elements of grammar in speech.
-vary language according to situation, audience, and purpose (for example, appropriate tone, content, vocabulary).

Extensions

1. Throughout the lessons on word choice, have the students use previous writing assignments to change their word choice and insert adjectives, strong verbs, and onomatopoeia.
2. Use [Night Noises] to also teach similes and how to use them in writing.
3. Begin a study on the author, Mem Fox, and how we can use her books to give us examples of how to add polish to our writing. Examine her Website to learn about her and her styles (http://www.memfox.net). For example, we could use [Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge] to learn similes and metaphors, and we could use [Hattie and the Fox] to learn dialogue.
4. Using descriptive word choice, have the students create a newspaper article telling the events of Lily Laceby’s 90th birthday party.
5. Introduce the thesaurus as a resource to students when they have exhausted their ideas for various words. Encourage the students to use it when they are writing.
6. Challenge the students to learn how to spell onomatopoeia for a spelling test or a spelling bee.

Attached Files

Word Choice worksheet.     File Extension: pdf

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