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Using Brush Strokes to Create a Masterpiece. Lynn Nguyen Creek Valley Middle School Lewisville ISD Why should students learn ways to use grammatical structures to enhance their writing?.

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using brush strokes to create a masterpiece

Using Brush Strokes to Create a Masterpiece

Lynn Nguyen

Creek Valley Middle School

Lewisville ISD

why should students learn ways to use grammatical structures to enhance their writing
Why should students learn ways to use grammatical structures to enhance their writing?
  • Teachers are responsible for presenting students with a multitude of knowledge and tools they can legitimately apply to their writing.
  • Allowing students to explore writing techniques and tricks leads to more powerful sentence structure, word choice, imagery, and cohesiveness.

Empowering Students with Grammar Tools

  • “Instead of telling students to revise, use correct grammar, or edit their mistakes, I begin by showing them how to create powerful writing.”

-Jeff Anderson

Mechanically Inclined

research says
Research says…
  • Constance Weaver (2007) explains, “Grammar taught in isolation from writing does not produce significant improvements in writing. It is both more motivating and more practical to teach selected aspects of grammar in conjunction with the writing process. (pg.8)”
  • “It is better to teach a few thingsrepeatedly and well than a lot of grammatical terms that have little or no practical relevance to writing.”
advantages to using brush strokes
Advantages to Using Brush Strokes
  • Students are using grammatical structures such as participles and adjectives.
  • Students are successfully learning grammar in the context of their own writing.
  • Students are implementing imagery, mood, and word play to engage the audience.
  • Students acquire tools they can apply to both narrative and expository text.
i m a writer not an artist right
I’m a writer, not an artist…right?
  • “The writer is an artist, painting images of life with specific and identifiable brush strokes, images as realistic as Wyeth and as abstract as Picasso.”
  • “Writing is not constructed merely from experiences, information, characters or plots, but from fundamental artistic elements of grammar.”

-Harry Noden,

Image Grammar

what is a brush stroke
What is a brush stroke?
  • A writer’s brush strokes are their repertoire of sentence structures. Students can begin with these five basic brush strokes:
  • The participle
  • The absolute
  • The appositive
  • Adjectives shifted out of order
  • Action verbs
painting with participles
Painting with Participles
  • Participle= ing verb tagged on the beginning or end of a sentence

Original sentence:The enraged dog attacked the intruder.

Adding participles to the beginning: Grunting, salivating, and charging, the enraged dog attacked the intruder.

variations on the participle brush stroke
Variations on the Participle Brush Stroke
  • Add a participial phrase (participle + modifiers)
  • Ex.Grunting from the gut and charging with a vengeance, the enraged dog attacked the intruder.

Single participles= rapid movement

Participial phrases=slower, but equally intense pace

painting with participles11
Painting with Participles
  • Use your participle brush to revise the following sentence:

The beautiful bride walked down the aisle towards her prince.

You may use single participles or participial phrases. Underline the participles you have used.

adjectives out of order
Adjectives Out of Order

>Students often overwhelm their descriptive sentences with too many adjectives in a row.

Original sentence: The dainty, delicate, wide-eyed flamingo strutted across the lake.

>To avoid the three in a row pattern, use this brush stroke to keep one adjective in its place and move the others after the noun.

Adjectives out of order:

The dainty flamingo, delicate and wide-eyed, strutted across the lake.

Ex. The sniper, cautious and calculating, prepared to execute his target.

painting with adjectives out of order
Painting with Adjectives out of order
  • Use the adjectives out of order technique to create a sentence with at least two adjectives out of order. Underline the adjectives you have used.

The girl ran into her father’s arms with a grin on her face.

combining brush strokes
Combining Brush Strokes

Using any one or all of the five pictures, begin a piece of writing incorporating the two brush strokes accordingly. Try to use each one at least twice in your piece.

Underline or highlight the brush strokes as you paint with them.

professional authors use these tools to create masterpieces
Professional authors use these tools to create masterpieces

“Shifting the weight of the line to his left shoulder and kneeling carefully, he washed his hand in the ocean and held it there, submerged, for more than a minute, watching the blood trail away and the steady movement of the water against his hand as the boat moved.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Old Man and the Sea

“Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.”

-Stephanie Meyer

New Moon

why brush strokes
Why Brush Strokes?
  • Jeff Anderson (2005) states, “Teaching one thing at a time and applying it to our daily writing encourages students to keep inventing and generating text while cueing them into specific concepts and strategies.(pg.12)”
  • Students add the brush strokes they learn into their “Writing Trick and Tools” book to use throughout the year.
  • Students take the piece they wrote for the lesson and develop it into a completed, published piece.
  • Students utilize the brushstrokes to create poetry.
  • Studentsuse mentor text to expand their knowledge of effective ways to use the strokes.
extensions continued
Extensions Continued
  • Students revise bland, simple sentences using brush strokes.
  • Students apply brush strokes to their narrative and expository writing. They document these on their revision test.
  • Studentscreate their own variations on brush strokes. (Quiet. Silent. Still. The night was finally at peace.)
adaptation for grades k 3
Adaptation for Grades K-3
  • K-3: As a class, brainstorm adjectives and participles for a specific topic. The sentence length and structure can be reduced according to student ability.
  • Great way to teach mood and tone.

-Jumping up and down, the children couldn’t wait to eat cake and ice cream.

-The dog, big and round, could barely walk.

adaptation for grades 4 8
Adaptation for Grades 4-8
  • 4-8: Students can find examples in mentor text and create a page with quotes from various authors’ works.
  • Encourage students to include a participial phrase and find alternative action verbs and adjectives using the thesaurus.

Yelling: whooping, hollering, bellowing, barking

adaptation for grades 9 12
Adaptation for Grades 9-12
  • Challenge students to create a poem using brush strokes.
  • Ask students to revise 2-3 sentences in both their narrative and expository writing.
  • Make a brush strokes book with mentor text examples, student examples, and published student pieces.
  • Students may use a combination of participial phrases and adjectives out of order in varied structure.
teks for 7 th grade
TEKS for 7th Grade
  • TX-TEKS. Writing/purposes. The student writes for a variety of audiences and purposes and in a variety of forms.
  • TX-TEKS. Writing/grammar/usage. The student applies standard grammar and usage to communicate clearly and effectively in writing.
  • TX-TEKS. TSIET... use adjectives (comparatives and superlatives forms) and adverbs appropriately to make writing vivid or precise
  • (4-8).TX-TEKS. TSIET... generate ideas and plans for writing by using prewriting strategies such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, notes, and logs
  • (4-8).TX-TEKS. TSIET... revise selected drafts by adding, elaborating, deleting, combining, and rearranging text (4-8).
  • TX-TEKS. Writing/evaluation. The student evaluates his/her own writing and the writings of others.
  • TX-TEKS. TSIET... evaluate how well his/her own writing achieves its purposes
  • (4-8).TX-TEKS. TSIET... analyze published examples as models for writing
  • (4-8).TX-TEKS. TSIET... read for varied purposes such as to be informed, to be entertained, to appreciate the writer's craft, and to discover models for his/her own writing
  • (4-8).TX-TEKS.120.2.4.A TSIET...demonstrate basic writing skills through assigned tasks;
empower our students
Empower our Students
  • “We serve students best when we empower them to make purposeful choices and decisions based on an understanding of the effects those grammatical choices will have on both our minds and our hearts and the way they can affect and reinforce meaning.”

-Mary Ehrenworth and Vicki Vinton

The Power of Grammar

  • Noden, H (1999). Image Grammar. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
  • Ehrenworth, M, & Vinton, Vicki (2005). The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language.Portsmouth: Heinemann.
  • Anderson, J (2005). Mechanically Inclined. Portland, Oregon: Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Schuster, E.H. (2003). Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers through Innovative Grammar Instruction. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
  • Thomason, T, & York, C (2002). Absolutely Write! Teaching the Craft Elements of Writing.Norwood: Christopher-Gordon.
  • Weaver, C (2007). The Grammar Plan Book. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
  • Weaver, C (1996). Teaching Grammar in Context. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.