Saturday, January 22, 2011

Elaboration Strategies

How do we revise our work to make it stronger, clearer, and interesting?

We practice Elaboration Strategies.

Each week, students learn (or will learn) strategies for revising their work to make it more detailed and interesting. I read as short story that frames the strategy with good examples and students take notes as we discuss the author's use of the strategy.  Then we practice in our own writing.

As we draft and as we review our writing, we decide what the reader needs to know to visualize our ideas.  We add:

  • Description: describes what something looks like or sounds like
The crowd roared as Rex, his head dripping in well-earned sweat, slipped through the opposing team's star and dunked the tie-breaker.

  • Detail:  Adds who, what, when, why, where, how information (specific)
Henry, math in hand, tip-toed into the classroom to turn in the late math that he had redone after his little brother barfed all over it the night before.

  • Strong Verbs:  Action (can it be done?) --- pulls, slips, yells
My labrador, Rampage, pulls the table cloth until the plate slips onto the floor and crashes, spilling the roast beef for her to gobble up. 

"Stop!" yells Mom.

  • Emotions: How were you feeling? How was the character feeling? How do the characters feel about each other?

I could see my mom frowning. She tapped her foot and crossed her arms. I knew I was in trouble.

  • Thoughts: What are the characters thinking?
I thought, “Where did I put the key?” 

  • Example: -- a comparison -- an anecdote, evidence, for instance, for example 
Africa is a sleeping giant; The dog was as big as a polar bear.

  • Dialogue: include conversations between characters to SHOW what is happening

“Yeah!” I yelled. “We're going to the carnival.”

“Please don't spend all your money on the ring toss again,” pleaded Mom.


After students apply the strategy in their writing, they copy an example into their interactive notebook. Here's an example of a student's example of using dialogue. She chose to write about two falling leaves, the big leaf Squirt and the little leaf, Sunkist:



Perhaps you would like to share a strategy you use to revise your writing, or perhaps you would like to share an example for us?  We'd love to hear from you!


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Reflect Curiosity and Wonder... Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

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Please remember this is a family and school related site. Please post and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. sheri at nsdeagles dot org