PLC-Word Choice

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a presentation on how to teach the writing trait "word choice" using Ruth Cluham's 6 +1 Traits of Writing

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PLC-Word Choice

  1. 1. 6 + 1 Write Traits – Word Choice “ The important thing about Word Choice is that words convey the intended message. They are the image makers the idea spinners the precision strikers the lure that causes you to linger longer. But the important thing about Word Choice is that words convey the intended message. Culham, Ruth. 6+1 Traits of Writing . p. 31
  2. 2. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Teachers usually are comfortable teaching word choice, BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Students do not always take the time and risk to look closely at their work through the lens of Word Choice. </li></ul>Word Choice: The use or misuse of words
  3. 3. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>With good Word Choice, the writer creates a mental picture for the reader by using words that are specific and accurate. </li></ul><ul><li>The writer uses strong action verbs whenever possible to show the reader what is happening rather than tell the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>The adjectives are as descriptive as possible. The nouns are specific, not general. </li></ul><ul><li>Striking words and phrases catch the reader's eye, but the language is natural and not overdone. </li></ul><ul><li>Slang and clichés are used sparingly, if at all. The writing is fresh, appealing, and full of energy. </li></ul>What does good Word Choice do to writing?
  4. 4. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>In good descriptive writing, strong word choice clarifies and expands ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>In persuasive writing, it moves you to a new vision of things. </li></ul><ul><li>In narrative writing, it creates images in your mind that are so real, you feel like you are part of the story itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Your focus should be teaching students to use everyday words well, not use flowery language. </li></ul>Why is Word Choice important?
  5. 5. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>We need to expose our students to good prose and poetry. Students who read a variety of literature generally have a larger vocabulary to call on when they are writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Vocabulary taught in isolation is not effective. Words need to be seen in context. No canned vocabulary drills. </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of students who become “word-drunk”. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize that students need to make every word count. </li></ul>What's the story with Word Choice?
  6. 6. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Students need to understand the importance of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>precise nouns and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interesting adjectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students need to take risks with words and, if appropriate, use alliteration or other types of sound devices </li></ul>What do students need to know about Word Choice?
  7. 7. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Three examples to examine: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother is Nice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My Most Rewarding Moment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A & W </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discussion!!!!! (we went through the examples in the book using the rubric on page 147.) </li></ul>Let's look at the Word Choice Rubric
  8. 8. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Striking Language: Sharpening students' descriptive powers </li></ul><ul><li>Exact Language: Using lively verbs, precise nouns, and accurate modifiers </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Language: Make it sound authentic </li></ul><ul><li>Beautiful Language: Choosing colorful words and phrases </li></ul>Teaching the Word Choice Trait: Four Categories of Language
  9. 9. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Striking Language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes the event, place, persona, or situation spring to life in the reader's mind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives the readers a strong sense of being there, living it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinvents reality in the reader's mind with an intensity that rivals memory </li></ul></ul>How doe we teach Word Choice?
  10. 10. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Painting a Picture with Words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a short, bare-bones description of a person, place or object </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Start with connections – think aloud associations and write them down </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make a picture in your mind – use all your senses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on Details – pay attention to the little things </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Look for the unusual – choose interesting details </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Revise your original descriptions, adding images and details you brainstormed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More activities on pages 162 - 163 </li></ul></ul>Activities that teach students to use Striking Language
  11. 11. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>The Game of Connotations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about ways of expressing yourself. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Words you choose will have a denotative meaning and a connotative meaning – usually positive or negative. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When we talk about ourselves, we tend to choose good connotations – when talking about others directly, we might use more neutral language – and when we talk about a third person, we may use words with bad connotations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Come up with examples of all three </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More activities on pages 165 - 167 </li></ul></ul>Activities that teach students to use Exact Language
  12. 12. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Your Personal Top 10 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask pairs of students to create lists of at least 50 words they like </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge each pair to par down the list to 10 and share their words with the class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then have students create their own personal top 10 list of words they like – words that are interesting, textured and tasty – words that they would enjoy reading. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage them to change their lists regularly, but they can still only keep 10. </li></ul></ul>Activities that teach students to use Natural Language
  13. 13. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Your Personal Top 10 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask pairs of students to create lists of at least 50 words they like </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge each pair to par down the list to 10 and share their words with the class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then have students create their own personal top 10 list of words they like – words that are interesting, textured and tasty – words that they would enjoy reading. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage them to change their lists regularly, but they can still only keep 10. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other activities on pages 169 - 170 </li></ul></ul>Activities that teach students to use Natural Language
  14. 14. 6 + 1 Write Traits <ul><li>Finding Key words and phrases in captivating texts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose a story with excellent words that is available in book and audio form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Read the book to the students so they can appreciate the story and language </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give students paper and pencil. Tell students they are going to hear the story again, read by the author </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Play the audio version and ask students to jot down any words, phrases or images that stick in their minds. After the reading, have students talk about why they chose particular words and why they worked so well in creating mind pictures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give students fresh paper and ask them to select their favourite observation and illustrate it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other activities on pages 172 - 173 </li></ul></ul></ul>Activities that teach students to use Beautiful Language
  15. 15. 6 + 1 Write Traits Lastly, motivation is key . . . . .

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