Mini Lesson – Punctuating Dialogue
This mini lesson is designed to help students learn and implement the correct way to incorporate dialogue into narrative writing.
Step One: Ask all of the students to have their composition notebook, silent sustained reading book, and a pencil out on their desks.
Step Two: Ask the students to open their SSR book to any place where they see dialogue, or a conversation between two people. The teacher should also model this practice by using his or her own SSR book to find dialogue.
Step Three: The teacher will show the students an example of dialogue by projecting a prepared example on the screen. The teacher will have an example that looks something like this:
“I want to go to the candy store!” whined the little girl.
“Sweetheart, I told you that we would go to the candy store tomorrow if you are a good girl while we shop for fruits and vegetable.” Mother said with extreme patience.
“Alright Mommy, but I don’t like to eat spinach.” The girl retorted.
Step Four: The teacher will ask the students to look at the example of dialogue on the screen and at the one on the board. The teacher will ask the students to write down similarities and differences between the dialogue on the screen and the dialogue they find in their books.
Step Five: The teacher will show the students that each new line of dialogue starts on a new line and is indented. The teacher will also show the students that the quotation marks in the dialogue are designed to show that someone is speaking and should always be present in dialogue.
Step Six: To practice proper formatting of dialogue, the teacher will partner students for a dialogue exercise that involves the students in writing down the dialogue of a conversation.
Step Seven: The teacher will instruct the students to get into groups of three.
Step Eight: The teacher will tell the class that two people in the group need to have a conversation about what types of food they would bring to a picnic and it’s the job of the third person to record the conversation in proper dialogue format.
Step Nine: After the students have had a few minutes to engage in dialogue, the groups will switch and a new set of people will have a new conversation with a new person recording the conversation.
Step Ten: After the teacher finishes going through each combination of partners, he or she will ask one student from each group to come up to the board to write two lines of dialogue from the conversation to check for understanding.
Step Eleven: The teacher will go through each example of dialogue on the board and make the changes necessary for the format to be correct. Students will also offer suggestions at changes.
At the end of this lesson, students will have a strong understanding of how to properly format dialogue with a real life example. The proper dialogue format should be present in their narrative writing to help make the story come alive.