Friday, December 2, 2011

Descriptive Segments: Draw a Picture in the Reader's Mind

Writer's draw pictures in reader's mind with words.

Ralph Fletcher draws a vivid picture of Grandma's hands in these sentences from his book, Fig Pudding.


I spent about fifteen minutes studying her hands, the dark veins slowly throbbing under skin that looked thin and clear as tissue paper.  Her hands made me think of driftwood, old and pale and worn smooth. They were stained brown in places but she still had one strong grip.


John Reynolds Gardiner draws a detailed picture in our minds of the Jackson, Wyoming setting in his story, Stone Fox.  He uses words to describe the sights, sounds and feelings.


It's not a dirty snow  It's a clean, soft snow that rests like a blanket over the entire state.  The air is clear and crisp, and the rivers are all frozen.  It's fun to be outdoors and see the snowflakes float down past the brim of your hat, and hear the squeak of the fresh powder under your boots.


Tonight, write three-four sentences that clearly describe the setting in your personal narrative #1.  Draw a picture with words in your reader's mind.

My example:


The old, brick school stood like a castle on the paved and grassy school yard.  Children happily played ball, ran through the grassy field and climbed on the old, silver playground equipment below.  Like smiling eyes, the school's giant windows reflected the bright, happy moment.


Kayla's Example
" The sun shined so bright and the waves crashed down on the sandy rock beach as we dove into them under the water. We tried to stay above, but the the waves like monsters pulled us back under."





Leads: Story Bait


Authors carefully craft a story's lead sentence.  The lead sentence, first sentence, in a story invites the reader into the text.  As bait attracts fish, the lead sentence attracts the reader to the rest of the story.

There are many ways to write a lead sentence:
  • Write a descriptive segment prompting the reader to feel like he/she is right there in the middle of the story setting. Dancing in the bright spring sunshine while the children played below on the Indian Hill School playground, my featherweight Brownie dress hung like a flag from the teachers' room window on the school's second floor.
  • Ask a Question:  "Do you want to go home?" my teacher, Mrs. Foley, asked me.
  • Start with Dialogue:
    • Craft a symbolic statement: The yellow paint adorned my Brownie dress like a splash of sunshine.
    • Do you have a better idea?  If so, let me know.
    Tonight, use one of the lead ideas above and write the lead to your personal narrative #1 in the comment section below.  I'll take a look at your leads tomorrow morning.  Email me if you have questions.

    Awesome Adverbs

    While verbs describe the action in a story, adverbs "add" to the verbs by telling how the action is done.

    For example in the sentence:

    John walked quickly to the market.

    "Walked" is the verb that tells the action, and "quickly" is the adverb that describes how the action is done.

    Most adverbs end in "ly" such as quickly, slowly, happily, and cleverly, but some do not end in "ly" such as these adverbs of place that answer the question, where?
    downstairs, there, outsideabove, away, below, down, here, inside, there, up 


    Write three sentences that describe actions you like to do. Add an adverb to each sentence.  Use this list
     if you need help coming up with adverbs for your sentences.


    This is another article that can help you to understand adverbs.


    Ms. Devlin's Example:

    1. I ski cautiously down the steep mountain trails.
    2. I hike dreamily through the autumn forest.
    3. I correct math tests thoughtfully each week.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Vivid Adjectives

    Adjectives describe nouns. Nouns are people, places, things and ideas.  You can usually touch a noun.

    Adjectives add colortexturesize, number, shape, and  





     to nouns.  

    For example, you could write:

    I have a cat.

    Or you could write:
    I have a big, fluffy, sleepy orange with black stripes cat.

    When reading the first sentence, the reader might imagine:

    When reading the second sentence, the reader might imagine this:


    Writers are magicians who use words like paintbrushes to create vivid images in the readers' minds.

    Assignment:

    Be a magician. Write a descriptive sentence that creates a colorful, vibrant, textured image in my mind. I will make a picture of each image you create.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    In Storytelling, Three is a Magic Number

    Roy Peter Clark, in his article,"If I were a carpenter," suggests 20 tips for wonderful writing.  He writes, "In storytelling, three is the magic number. Four is too many. Two is not enough."

    So when writing, strive to provide three examples each time. When you make lists of three, remember to add a comma between the first and second example. You can choose whether you add a comma between the second example and the word and. Whatever you choose to do, you're supposed to stick with that choice throughout your writing piece.

    Assignment:  Complete each sentence below in the comment section.


    My favorite objects in my bedroom are my ______________, ______________ and _____________.


    During summer vacation, I like to _______________, _______________ and ________________.


    My favorite activities in school are ________________, ______________ and _______________.

    Here's my example of the assignment.
    My favorite objects in my bedroom are my poetry books, Navajo blanket and puffy comforter.
    During summer vacation, I like to travel, ride my bike and swim.
    My favorite activities in school are technology, art projects and read aloud.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Strong Verbs

    "LET GO of go!"


    Strong verbs make the movie in fiction and the documentary in nonfiction.  Strong verbs allow the reader to specifically imagine a story's action.  


    Young children often over use the verb, go.  They will write stories such as this: 


     I go to the park.  I go on the swings. I go to the sandbox.  I go down the slide.


    That's a great story if you're in the early grades, but by the time you're in fourth grade it's time to let go of go and use strong verbs in your writing.


    That story would have been more interesting if it was written like this:


    After a long day at school, I skip to Lake Park.  I fly high into the clouds on the swings, and I build giant sandcastles and villages in the soft, wet sand in the sandbox.  Just before I march home, I climb up the steep ladder and zip down the silver slide as fast as an airplane in the sky. 

    I underlined the strong verbs in the story above.

    Blog Post Assignment: Write three sentences about what you do after school.  Include at least three strong verbs. Use snappy word to help you find vibrant verbs.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Specific Nouns

    Wonderful writers use specific nouns when they write.  Instead of writing a sentence like this, "He goes to the park," a wonderful writer might write a sentence like this instead, "Michael rides his blue bike to Hannah Williams Park after school every Monday afternoon."  Wonderful writers name things specifically.

    Nouns are words that name persons, places, things and ideas.  Write two sentences about your life and use at least 3 specific nouns in each sentence.  Most specific nouns are proper nouns so don't forget to capitalize them.

    Ms. Devlin's Example: (I underlined all the specific nouns)

    Uncle Neil and Aunt Miriam treated me to my first airplane ride to Miami, Florida when I was sixteen years old.

    My husband, Mike, sons, Ryan, Matt and Sean, and I enjoy biking around the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Metaphor

    A metaphor compares two unlike things without using like or as.

    Write two metaphors that describe you in the comment section.  Add a metaphor used in a book you're reading as a bonus if you'd like.  Complete this assignment by Wednesday, October 12.

    Ms. Devlin's Example:

    I'm a dolphin when I play in the giant waves at Coast Guard Beach.

    I'm a tiger when I'm rooting for my son at a football game.

    Also can you find the metaphors in this song.


    As sung by Katy Perry

    Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
    Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
    Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
    Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

    Do you ever feel already buried deep?
    Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
    Do you know that there's still a chance for you
    'Cause there's a spark in you?

    You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
    Just own the night like the 4th of July

    'Cause baby, you're a firework
    Come on, show 'em what you're worth
    Make 'em go, oh
    As you shoot across the sky

    Baby, you're a firework
    Come on, let your colors burst
    Make 'em go, oh
    You're gonna leave 'em falling down

    You don't have to feel like a waste of space
    You're original, cannot be replaced
    If you only knew what the future holds
    After a hurricane comes a rainbow

    Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
    [| From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/k/katy-perry-lyrics/firework-lyrics.html |]
    So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
    Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
    And when it's time, you'll know

    You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
    Just own the night like the 4th of July

    'Cause baby you're a firework
    Come on, show 'em what you're worth
    Make 'em go, oh
    As you shoot across the sky

    Baby, you're a firework
    Come on, let your colors burst
    Make 'em go, oh
    You're gonna leave 'em falling down

    Boom, boom, boom
    Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
    It's always been inside of you, you, you
    And now it's time to let it through

    'Cause baby you're a firework
    Come on, show 'em what you're worth
    Make 'em go, oh
    As you shoot across the sky

    Baby, you're a firework
    Come on, let your colors burst
    Make 'em go, oh
    You're gonna leave 'em falling down

    Boom, boom, boom
    Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
    Boom, boom, boom
    Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Similes

    Similes: Similes are comparisons that compare two unlike things using the words "like" or "as."  On the Writing Craft blog comment by writing two sentences that use a simile which explains experiences you had this summer.

    Also, can you find the similes in this song:

    Smile lyrics
    Songwriters: Bose, Jeremy; Daly, Blair; Harding, J; Shafer, Matthew;

    You're better then the best
    I'm lucky just to linger in your light
    Cooler than the flip side
    Of my pillow, that's right

    Completely unaware
    Nothing can compare to where
    You send me, lets me know that it's okay
    Yeah, it's okay
    And the moments where my good times start to fade

    You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
    Sing like bird, dizzy in my head
    Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night

    You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
    Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
    Just the thought of you can drive me wild
    Oh, you make me smile

    Even when you're gone,
    Somehow you come along just like
    A flower pokin' through the sidewalk crack
    And just like that
    You steal away the rain, and just like that

    You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
    Sing like bird, dizzy in my head
    (From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/u/uncle-kracker-lyrics/smile-lyrics.html)
    Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night

    You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
    Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
    Just the thought of you can drive me wild
    Oh, you make me smile

    Don't know how I lived without you
    'Cause every time that I get around you
    I see the best of me inside your eyes
    You make me smile

    You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
    Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
    Just the thought of you can drive me wild

    You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
    Sing like bird, dizzy in my head
    Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night

    You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
    Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
    Just the thought of you can drive me wild
    Oh, you make me smile
    (Oh, you make me smile)
    Oh, you make me smile
    (Oh, you make me smile)
    Oh, you make me smile

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Writer's Craft: Alliteration

    Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant. There should be at least two repetitions in a row and usually more than two.  Write two sentences in the comment section that demonstrate alliteration.  Write your sentences about two family members. 


    Alliteration is pleasing to the ear so many writers use alliteration to make their stories and poems appealing to the reader.


    Poetry Examples of Alliteration:


    Thoughts travel through words
    Make marvelous metaphors
    Producing poems



    by Marinela Reka


    Comment Example:


    Sean shivered and shook as he shucked shells as the seashore.


    Matthew managed to make money by mowing many lawns this month.


    Bonus: Find an example in a book that you are reading.  Write the example, book title and author name.


    Add your examples in the comment section by Tuesday 10/4.  Make sure to include your first name.