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A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: VOICE Support Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT

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Welcome to this Lesson:

Start with What Isn't There

setting moods in setting descriptions

This lesson was created by NNWP Consultant Corbett Harrison. Corbett demonstrates this lesson during his 7 Elements of a Differentiated Writing Lesson Workshop for Teachers.

The mentor text:

Caves by Stephen Kramer is a non-fiction text about the geological features of caves; it's a great mentor text for science class. But its well-crafted two-page introduction makes a fabulous piece of text to analyze when having students write setting descriptions during narrative writing units and lessons.

Greetings, fellow teachers! My name is Corbett Harrison, and in 2001, I helped the Northern Nevada Writing Project launch this WritingFix website. For ten years, we sponsored lesson-building workshops throughout our region, and the best-of-the-best lessons created by our participants were posted at WritingFix for all teachers to freely access.

The lesson you find here is one that I personally created as a demonstration lesson during our very first Picture Books as Mentor Texts workshop.

If you enjoy this lesson's big ideas and want to hear more about the work that I do to inspire student writers of all ages, I invite you to visit my personal website--CorbettHarrison.com--where you can access the new lessons and training materials I have been developing since 2009.

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

The writer will describe a setting, attempting to set a mood for his/her reader in two paragraphs.  Borrowing a technique from Stephen Kramer's two-page introduction to Caves, the writer will begin with a paragraph that explains what isn't in a setting.  The second paragraph will describe things that are present. Teachers: Click here to see the entire lesson plan.


6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

The focus trait in this writing assignment is voice; the writer's goal is to set a mood with the words he/she chooses.  The support trait in this assignment is idea development; strong details are encouraged through the graphic organizer that comes with the lesson.


Recipient of the NNWP's
Excellent Writing Lesson Award:

Because of the quality of its resources and ideas, this WritingFix lesson was selected by the Northern Nevada Writing Project as February 2008's Writing Lesson of the Month. It was e-mailed to thousands of teachers who are members of the NNWP's Writing Lesson of the Month Teacher Network.

To quickly access all the WritingFix lessons that have been chosen as "Lesson of the Month," click here to visit the on-line archive. You can have a link to a high-quality writing lesson sent to you every month.


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