Support and Elaboration in Writing
By - Rebecca Columbo
Language Arts Grades 6-10
Objective:The students will write paragraphs containing well-developed supports that clearly illustrate a character trait.
- index cards;
- visual reference — overhead projector, dry erase board or handout reference sheet;
- four stacks of laminated cards — 20 of each variety: o character traits, o silly character cards, o problem cards, and o setting cards; and
- sample paragraphs from students’ previous writings.
Preparation:Laminated cards: o The character trait cards should display the character trait to be discussed as well as a simple definition of the trait. o The character cards should each have a picture of a fictitious character: i.e., superman, Scooby-doo, etc. o The problem cards should have a picture of something that could be the source of an external conflict: i.e., quicksand, Tyrannosaurus rex, etc. o The setting cards should each depict a fun, exciting, or imaginative location.
- Read two to three samples of student writing that clearly show inadequate elaboration. Brainstorm with the students the details that could have made the supports more complete.
- List the words: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” on the board or projector as a visual reference. Instruct the students to use these words as a checklist to be sure that they have provided the necessary information to their readers.
- Pick one card from each pile of cards. Create a silly story to model for the students; show your selected character trait in the chosen setting and in the given situation.
- Divide the students into groups of two or three. Have each group choose a card from each pile. As a group, they should write a detailed paragraph on an index card that illustrates their character trait.
- When the students are finished, collect the cards and read each as a story to the class. Have the class look for weaknesses such as missing information and inadequate support for the trait given.
- Continue this process until the students are able to write well-developed supports for a given trait.
Suggestion for Assessment:
- Have the students return to their own desk.
- Write the following words across the board. Under each word, write five options.
- Instruct the students to work individually to write a well-developed paragraph on their index card that clearly supports their character trait. They can choose traits, characters, problems, and settings from those chosen on the board.