Grade: 3-5
Subject: 4 Blocks

#1125. writing mini lessons style MANIPULATING LANGUAGE

4 Blocks, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Jun 25 20:27:52 PDT 1999 by deb (
coloma , south haven, MI USA
Concepts Taught: writing

Manipulating Language

1. Writing workshop mini lesson Varying sentence opening.
Fourth grade students can number their sentences. Then the children list the first word of each sentence. They will notice the patterns of their words. Leading to changing beginning words and improving word choice. Do I repeat the same dull openings. For example, I, The, And then, And so, etc.

2. Writing workshop mini lesson rearranging.
Which sentences can I rearrange to avoid repeating the same dull openings? Am I emphasizing key ideas by placing them in a position of importance at the beginning or end of a sentence?
Manipulating Language Continued...

3. Writing workshop mini lesson combining.
Which sentences can I combine to make them more interesting for my audience by varying my sentence openings? Do I repeat the same dull openings (I, the, And then, And so, etc.)?

Combining using colorful words (describers-adjectives). For example, I am tall. I am brown. I am thin. I am tall, brown, and thin.

Combining with glue words (subordinating conjunctions). For example, The vacuum cleaner was making a grinding sound. The vacuum cleaner was broken. Because the vacuum cleaner was broken, it was making a grinding sound.

Combining with locator words (prepositions). Combining compounds (sentences, subjects, predicates and, but, or). Combining with ING words. Combining with WH words.

4. Writing workshop mini lesson subtracting.
Are there any unnecessary words or repeated ideas in my sentences? Did I fill up my paper with empty words to make it longer?

5. Writing workshop mini lesson expanding.
Can I make my writing more interesting by expanding ideas with journalistic questions? Where do I need to expand to give my audience more specific information?

6. Writing workshop mini lesson list words on a subject.
Pick a topic. Generate words that have to do with that topic. Have students write about topic using list as a guide to improve description.

7. Writing workshop mini lesson beautiful language.
Read books that give examples of beautiful language: My Island by Kathryn Lasky and I Wish I Were a Butterfly.

8. Writing workshop mini lesson Adding Description with 5Ws and more
First the class read a nonfiction book. Then the students offered the sentences about the main ideas. The teacher lists these on chart paper writing big enough so the children can see the words. Teacher doesn't correct grammar or ideas. Then the teacher cuts apart the story into sentences and tapes them in sequence on board so writing can be added under the headings. Then teacher rereads their story and asking 5W questions, encouraging details. The teacher guides them to add more details. This needs to be modeled over and over and over.
First Draft:
Firemen put out fires on houses.
They save animals.
They have a firedog called Dalmatian.
They have a red fire truck.
They have a siren on the top.

Firemen are always ready to help. Firemen put out fires on houses. The fire is very hot and smokey. They feel hot and sweaty. They save animals that can't get out of the fire. People love their pets. They have a firedog called Dalmatian that have really good noses and ears. Sometimes the dog finds kids in a fire. They have a red or yellow fire truck. On the truck there are ladders, hoses, tools, and everything else they need to put out a fire. They have a siren on the top of the truck, which makes lots of noise so people can hear them coming and get out of the way. Firemen have yellow and red suits that are fireproof. They have masks to help them breathe. They have a firehouse where they eat and sleep for two days at a time so they are ready for the fire. Firemen are our heros!