Reflection: Unit Planning Please Show Me...Don't Tell Me: Writing Descriptive Setting Paragraphs - Section 1: Creating the Purpose


I've skipped over this section in the past but what I saw in the past lessons were students who wrote quickly without good description - many stories were really good, but they lacked the visual connections created for their readers. I changed my unit to have them add this lesson as the first part and then to have them repeat the steps in worksheets and practice at the guided reading tables to not only give students practice but to identify areas of struggle in a smaller group setting.

What I saw with this writing is that my class is getting much better with the showing vs. telling but they need prompting and revision time to get it right. That tells me that I need to have them still repeat, apply and hear this about 4-5 more times to get it to be a consistent and natural addition to their story writing. I've come to the conclusion that this is because their brains think really quickly and thus that's how they tend to write - slow and thoughtful is my mantra as they write each day. I also have been playing around with the idea of having them attend a play to see how the sets are created to help the audience visualize the setting for each of the events. I think the connection to this might help them apply more description of all they see to their own writing.  

Here's a link to a good you tube video of different backdrops used in plays. It goes really quick but I pause on various ones and ask students how they would describe the scenes in their stories or what the place, time, environment and characters were.


  why I teach this as a separate lesson
  Unit Planning: why I teach this as a separate lesson
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Please Show Me...Don't Tell Me: Writing Descriptive Setting Paragraphs

Unit 5: Writing Narrative Stories to Entertain Your Readers
Lesson 6 of 16

Objective: SWBAT...write strong setting paragraphs that introduce their story characters and location by using descriptive words that reveal meaning.

Big Idea: Showing readers your story details helps them "jump" into your stories. Telling them what to think leaves them feeling uninvolved.

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show dont tell
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