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A Literature-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Welcome to this Lesson:

Painting Places with Words

borrowing from John Steinbeck's sentence fluency to describe a setting

This lesson was built for WritingFix
after being proposed by Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant Madelyn Read during an AT&T-sponsored in-service class for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author, especially from chapter 1 of the book.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing Of Mice and Men from Amazon, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

After discussing the famous and fluent opening that launches Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, small groups of writers impersonate the description by applying Steinbeck's paragraph's verbs and sentence structures to a different setting.  The impersonations are shared out loud, and the teacher writes the names of the new settings on the board.  As individual writers, students then choose one of the settings from the list, and (without directly impersonating Steinbeck this time) each writes a one-paragraph setting description that attempts to "paint with words" a setting, while using interesting sentences that flow. Teachers: click here to read the entire lesson plan.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus trait for this writing assignment is sentence fluency; by impersonating Steinbeck's sentences, students discover what fluency with words looks and sounds like.  The support trait  for this writing assignment is idea development; strong adjectives, color words, texture words, and memorable images are analyzed and then encouraged as students create a powerful and memorable setting description.

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