Writing Frightening Details for a Rough Draft

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SWBAT write their rough draft by creating frightening details.

Big Idea

You go to turn off the TV before bed, "Look behind you." flashes on the screen.

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling, I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.

Connect:  I will say, “We have been drafting scenes and concentrating on using our I.A.D.Ds (inner thinking, action, dialogue and description). As we go into our rough draft today, I want you concentrating on using your I.A.D.Ds in precise way. I want you to think, how can I make this line scary when it needs to be?

Teach: I will say, “In order to learn about to make our details scary, I am going to show you how to practice the skill of analyzing an author’s craft and the strategy of using those examples for your rough draft today. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Read examples of “scary sentences”

2) Determine which “craft move” this author made

3) Use these as examples for my story.”

I will model for students how I read Horror Thriller Sentence examples from BuzzFeed in order to discover how a sentence can make all the difference. I will then jot down the "craft move" the author made in this scary sentence.

Active Engagment

10 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “You will now read through the rest of the sentences and stop and jot the craft moves (they will read independently, with a partner or as a whole class read (this depends on their stamina)).”

I will ask the students, (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard) “What did you jot notes about and where did you annotate it in your text? How could you use the same type of “moves” in your writing?”

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember successful writers practice the skill of learning how to be precise about their details by using a strategy of using a mentor text to discover the craft moves authors make. The process they use is review terms that are connected to author’s craft’s moves, read the text, stop and jot where they see the author’s moves and connect it to how they could use the same moves.”

Independent Practice

30 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going to write out your rough draft, this is the first of three fiction stories you are writing. They should write for at least 25 minutes if not more. They should be adding all of the components of horror/thriller stories that that we have gone over so far, as well as what we have been taught in past units.

As they are working independently and quietly, I will confer with them about their writing as I play “Spooky Symphonies” on Pandora Radio. I will confer using Possible Conferences for Drafting the First Draft.


I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an exit ticket in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: They will turn in their drafts or a plan of how they will finish it by the next day.

From the student's writing I read today, I found that some used these two sentence horror stories to create a different story. This was a great lesson to show students that inspiration can lead you down another path as an author.