What better way to teach showing, not telling, in all genres of writing than to focus kids' attention on how to "show" in essay responses about PICTURE BOOKS--the epitome of the show-don't-tell style!
Additional book needed: The Man with the Violin, by Kathy Stinson and Dusan Petricic--a lovely picture book, based on a true story of a day when a world-class violinist played in a subway to see who would pass him by as a poor street musician, and the only ones who noticed him were kids. Shown from a little boy's point-of-view, this story offers lessons in how to listen, not just hear, and how to find beauty in unexpected places by simply slowing down to appreciate the world around us.
This multi-level lesson handout offers exercises in critical thinking via analysis of style and themes in picture books; guided editing for content via a given essay response designed to merely tell, not show; and essay writing practice based on the newly acquired editorial skills from this lesson.
Ready-to-use lesson that may span two or three class periods, and could be done workshop-style, with students sharing their responses aloud, trading and critiquing for each other, and revising as final drafts.
The extension lessons offer students free choice of picture books, which would encourage them to revisit the figurative language and subtly meaningful illustrations that make great picture books so memorable.