Trait Introduction: Ideas. The Six Traits. The Six Traits of Writing represent the things that we can observe, assess, revise, and edit in any piece of writing. Trait Introduction: Ideas. Focus on Ideas. Good ideas are clear, unique, and
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Ideas can be thoughts, facts, opinions, or details.
My dog escaped.
My dog escaped this morning.
My dog escaped from the backyard this morning.
My dog escaped from the backyard this morning because I left the gate unlatched.
My dog escaped from the backyard this morning because I left the gate unlatched. He just pushed it open with his nose, and away he went!
Now read the revised version of the same story.
Can you identify some good details?
The first time I flew in an airplane, I was only four years old. As the plane took off, I dug my fingers into my mom’s arm. I stared out the window in wide-eyed terror, watching cars shrink down to the size of ants. The huge buildings of the city looked like the tiny building blocks I kept in a box under my bed. After awhile, I relaxed. Mom seemed relieved when I let go of her arm. By the time the journey was over, I was having so much fun that I didn’t want to land!
Sensory details help the reader fully experience the topic. Sensory details relate to the five senses:
My dad set the huge, golden brown turkey on the table.
Forks and knives clinked and clanked against plates.
The rich aroma of cornbread dressing filled the air.
I unfolded the stiff linen napkin and placed it on my lap.
My lips puckered at the first mouthful of tangy cranberry sauce.
Good writers choose ideas based upon the needs of the audience.
For example, if you were writing to tell a group of kindergarteners about tornadoes, you would include ideas they could understand.
Tornadoes are strong funnels of wind that drop down from the clouds. They don’t last very long, but they can be very powerful. Tornadoes can even destroy whole houses!
On the other hand, if you were writing a report about tornadoes for your teacher in science class (who already knows a lot about the topic), you would include more specific and interesting ideas.
Tornadoes form when a mass of cool air collides with a mass of warm air. A little-known fact about tornadoes is that they actually start spinning horizontally before they drop down vertically. They are also transparent until they begin to pick up dirt and debris. The winds inside a tornado can reach over two hundred and fifty miles per hour.