Teaching students to leverage descriptive writing techniques is a powerful way to level up their writing skills! Because formal writing is such an essential part of middle and high school writing curriculums, narrative and creative writing skills are sometimes underemphasized. But! Students enjoy learning how to take their writing to new levels, so let's help them.
This resource contains activities to help students hone the Show, Don't Tell creative writing strategy.
- A suggested lesson plan. The lesson plan is designed for four 45 minute class periods. However, you can use any parts of this resource in any order. The flexibility is convenient so that you can adapt it to fit your time constraints and students' needs.
- A YouTube video mini lesson. Introduce the concept of Show Don't Tell using a video. Students can watch it together with the class as a mini lesson or view it at home asynchronously. A PowerPoint version of the YouTube video slides is included in this resource if you prefer to teach the descriptive writing mini lesson yourself.
- Show, Don't Tell discussion prompts. Use these as a whole-class or gallery walk activity. Students will act out emotion words and brainstorm creative words that authors can use to show that emotion instead of telling it.
- Mentor sentences from young adult literature. Use these mentor sentences as examples and inspiration to enrich discussion points.
- Collaborative mats. After prompting students with examples of where writers have told instead of shown, students will work in small groups to come up with more creative, descriptive writing to use instead.
- Exit tickets. Two different exit ticket formats are included. One encourages students to find examples of descriptive writing in their independent reading. The other asks them to write using the Show Don't Tell strategy. Use these exit tickets to drive instruction and tier practice activities.
- Tiered practice activities. You'll find three different practice activities. The practice activities include...
- brainstorming words to show emotions
- mimicking mentor sentence structures
- analyzing grammar and figurative language in mentor sentences
Students can work through each descriptive writing activity at their own pace, or you can assign students different activities based upon their readiness levels.
Suggested responses are included for many of the activities.
FORMAT: All of these resources are included . The links are included in the PDF. An additional resource, a concise word choice writing rubric, is included only in Google Slides format. Use it with any writing assignment in which you ask students to be descriptive in their word choice.
This resource is intended for middle and high school students.
The following resources are similar approaches to writing and vocabulary. If you like this resource, you may also want to try...
- WORD CHOICE IN FORMAL WRITING
- VOCABULARY ACTIVITIES: CREATIVE AND INFORMATIVE WRITING
- LITERARY ANALYSIS WITH CHILDREN'S BOOKS MINI LESSONS
- SENTENCE STRUCTURE BUNDLE
Find more reading activities here!
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