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Becky Whitters Writing Lesson Wednesday, Feb.


Adding Detail in Our Writing using Explicit Instruction

(This is one of many mini lessons done with the class before starting a
larger writing project with them in a few weeks)
Grade: 4

NB Writing Standards:
Students include relevant details to support the
ideas/events; some details add interest or originality
Writing and other forms of representing
Students will be expected to use writing and other forms
of representation to explore, clarify and reflect on their
thoughts, feelings and experiences and learning; and to
use their imaginations.
Students will be able to create texts collaboratively and
independently, using a variety of forms for a range of
audiences and purposes.

I Can Statements:
I can add detail in my writing so that the reader does not
have questions as they read.

Chart Paper (First paragraph is written on it)
Writing Notebooks

Hook: Who can tell me (5 Minutes)

Why adding detail in your writing important?
Why you should have clear descriptions in your writing?

The teacher will show the students a simple piece of writing that
lacks detail of a specific animal. The students will try to guess
what the animal is, based on the description. (5 minutes): I am
a large animal with a long neck. My fur is light brown with spots.
I usually live where the climate is hot. I eat leaves.
As a class, we will then rewrite the paragraph using plenty of
detail to describe the animal. (10 minutes)
We will then discuss why adding detail in writing is important. (5
The students will then be asked to work with a partner and add
detail to the following the sentences: My dog is brown. I like
my cat.(5-10 minutes)
The students will then be asked to write their own descriptive
paragraphs on an animal of their choosing. (15 minutes)
The students will hand in their paragraphs at the end of the class
To close, the teacher will ask any students who would like to, to
read their paragraphs.

I will allow students who need it, to orally explain their ideas with
the class instead of writing ideas down.

The teacher will collect the students paragraphs at the end of the
lesson to ensure that the students are adding enough detail in
their writing.

Additional Research/Information:

Reading Rockets. Descriptive Writing.

I really like this website, and this page of the website gave me
some great ideas as I was thinking about how or organize this
lesson. The site says capturing an event through descriptive
writing involves paying close attention to the details by using all of
your five senses (Reading Rockets), and I think that that is a good
way of describing it for younger students to understand. I think that
helping students think about descriptive writing through their five
senses allows them to think about it more critically, and will allow
them to ask themselves questions such as, scent and touch, when it
is appropriate. The website also explains that teachers can
develop descriptive writing skills through modeling and the sharing
of quality literature full of descriptive writing (Reading Rockets),
which is what I have tried to do with my lesson. I found that after I
modelled how to write a certain paragraph, the students in my
grade four class sat quieter and worked better when it was time for
them to focus. They really enjoyed writing together as a class and
the writing they produced after was usually their best work. Finally,
the website explains that adding details in their writing encourages
students to use new vocabulary words (Reading Rockets), and they
will do this by learning how to use dictionaries and thesaurus as
they are adding the proper detail.

Hough, T. M., Hixson, M. D., Decker, D., & Bradley-Johnson, S.

(June 01, 2012). The Effectiveness of an Explicit Instruction
Writing Program for Second Graders. Journal of Behavioral
Education, 21, 2, 163-174.

This article was interesting as it showed a study done in the

United States looking at elementary students and how their writing
skills improved through an explicit instruction program that they
called Quickwrite. The article claims that all students improved in
their writing skills with the program, and that at 4 weeks post
intervention, all participants maintained similar numbers of quality
grammar elements included in their stories. This finding is
consistent with research indicating that writing programs
incorporating direct instruction, along with collaborative and
independent practice, result in a sustained increase in writing
quality (Hough, p. 172). This finding does not surprise me as I have
seen how effective explicit instruction is while teaching during my
practicum. The students always responded better after being taught
with this method of instruction.