How many of you have tried to spice up your writing with
adverbs? Not sure what they are? I'm talking about those -ly words that can
change a regular sentence into something extraordinary.
For example, I could say: Joanna picked up her backpack
and walked home.
That's a fine sentence. I can picture Joanna walking home
with a backpack.
But, what if we did this: Joanna picked up her backpack
and grudgingly walked home.
Woah! Now, I'm getting curious. Usually, we all want to get
home right after school. What's going on that Joanna is GRUDGINGLY walking
home? Maybe it's her dad's first day at his new job and he won't be home. Or,
maybe, it's her birthday and she's positive her family is throwing her a
surprise party, but she hates surprises. That one little word—grudgingly—gets
Let's try another one: Steven ate his peas.
I can see this, but I'm curious. Did he like his peas? Is
there anything special about him eating the peas?
How about we amp it up with an adverb? Steven joyously
ate his peas.
This sentence made me wake up. Who eats peas JOYOUSLY? Does
Steven just love peas or is something else making him joyous. It makes me want
to know more.
Now you try it! See if you can amp up each sentence below
with an interesting adverb.
The boys dug in the ground.
The teachers watched the clock.
Many students waited in the cafeteria.
In honor of this day, I'm offering a 20-minute Skype session to a K-2 classroom. I'll provide a couple of fun things for you to do to prepare for my virtual visit, and then I'll read Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song. There will also be a surprise visit from one of the animals in one of the above books (who may or may not be stuffed)! And of course, there will be a few minutes left over for questions from the VIPS, also known as your curious students.
Just send me an email at nancyviau(at)comcast(dot)net and let's make a date.
King, Jr. would have celebrated his 85th birthday this month. Each January,
when reading or listening to a recording of Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream”
speech, we’re reminded of the power of his words and how they helped inspire
change in America.
There are several good books about Martin Luther King’s life and legacy. One
favorite picture book is My Brother Martin written by his sister
Christine King Farris with wonderful illustrations by Chris Soenpiet. This book
shares how Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in Atlanta in the 1930’s. He liked to joke and
had to practice the piano like a lot of children still do, but Martin was told
by his white neighbors that they couldn’t play with him because of the color of
his skin. That’s when he first began to realize the need for change in the
All dreams are possible. Try writing a “Dream” speech.
The following questions may help focus writing ideas:
is something special you hope to happen soon?
do you hope or dream about happening for your family?
have any hopes or dreams for your friends?
have any hopes or dreams for the world?
Now, just as Dr. King did, speak your “dream” speech aloud
to share the power of your hopeful words.
If you are writing fiction, and you write about a character who does everything well (because you want to impress your teacher...*heh, heh*), don't do it! Give your character a few flaws--things they didn't mean to do or stuff they have trouble with. Even flat-out mistakes! Characters who make mistakes, and eventually learn from them, are interesting. Nobody's perfect, right?
Make a list of five mistakes you've made. Use at least one in a story that you write this week.
Now, it's my turn. Here are my mistakes. I bet there's a story in there somewhere!
1. I used too much butter in my cranberry bread and it was a disaster.
2. I ran into a plant and said, "Excuse me."
3. I sent a text to the wrong person.
4. I burped while in line at the grocery store.
5. I lost my keys, twice in the same day.
One thing writers hear all the time is “show – don’t tell”. It seems like a funny thing to say because
you’d think pictures would “show” and words would “tell”.But, if you choose descriptive and active
words, you’ll be showing – not telling.If you use vivid details, you’ll be painting a picture in the reader’s
Here’s an example:
Tell:Bob was happy.
from ear to ear.
In the “show” example, I didn’t have to tell you Bob was
happy – instead, you probably imagined Bob with a big smile on his face.I painted picture in your head.
Here’s another example:
scared by the storm.
Show:With each flash
of lightning and boom of thunder, Sarah ducked under her covers and squeezed
her eyes shut.
I didn’t mention Sarah being scared, but you got the
So, when you’re editing a story you’ve already written or when writing a new story, look for ways you can show and not tell.
Click HERE for an awesome activity to help you practice.It’s from a website called Beg, Borrow and Teach. (Teachers, bookmark this site. You'll want to come back again and again for great ideas!)
WELCOME BACK TO WIT! Now... DON'T LOOK AT THE REST OF THIS POST!
Turn your computer over to a friend.
The rest of this post is for your friend. He or she will tell YOU what to do.
Hi there, friend,
1. Review the list below to yourself. (If you need help pronouncing any words, ask a parent or teacher.)
2. Say each word, out loud, to the person next to you. Repeat it.
3. That person should say the word, SPELL the word, and repeat the word.
4. Did he or she get it right?
5. Don't make them suffer. BE KIND! Tell them the correct spelling right away and move on.
For BOTH of you:
6. Write down the list of words above. When you write something, it has a better chance of getting into your brain. When I was in elementary school, we had to write each of our spelling words 10 times! Does your teacher make YOU do this?