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Please take out your notebook, writing assignment, and copy down the learning target!. Good Morning!. Learning Target: Apply targeted revision strategies to improve writing.

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good morning

Please take out your notebook, writing assignment, and copy down the learning target!

Good Morning!

Learning Target: Apply targeted revision strategies to improve writing

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” ― Lemony Snicket

5 Dec. 2013

agenda 12 5 13
Agenda 12/5/13
  • Writing “Fun Activity”

Homework: Remember, your notebook will be turned in tomorrow, reading for Chapters 6-7 due Monday, Dec. 9th

*If you missed Tuesday’s quiz, you need to make it up THIS WEEK for credit!

time for our fun activity
Time for our “fun activity!”
  • Focus for today: specific word revision!
    • levels of diction
    • specific vs. general words
    • verb tense consistency
    • strong verbs!
    • change passive voice to active voice
levels of diction
levels of diction
  • Formal:impersonal and more academic in tone, jargon, no 1st person. Can risk being too “cold”.
    • Formal isn’t always better! (don’t over thesaurus-ize! Clear writing is always better than muddled writing)
      • “This is the optimum consequence we have the expectation of attaining.”
      • or
      • “This is the best result we can expect.”
  • Informal: friendly and personal in tone, may use 1st or 2nd person, colloquial expressions. Can risk being too casual.
apply it
Apply it!
  • In your own writing:
  • Label it on top of your paper-what is your level of diction? Select three words or short phrases that really illustrate that and write those next to your label.
  • What, if any, words or phrases do you find in your writing that seem inconsistent with your desired level of diction? How could you re-write to change the tone by changing the level of diction?
  • Or, complete this mini-lesson: Identify the level of diction present in these examples, and then re-write the sentence to change it to the other level of diction.
  • 1. “It was observed that the children of differing races acted primarily equally while in the academic setting.”
  • 2. “It was totally dumb that the game was figured out by a cruddy call from a guy in stripes.”
specific vs general words
specific vs. general words
  • To make your writing effective, "show" something to readers that they can imaginatively experience; don't just "tell" readers an abstract idea
  • For example:
    • Abstract "Telling"Even a large male gorilla, unaccustomed to tourists, is frightened by people.
    • Concrete "Showing""A four-hundred-pound male [gorilla], unaccustomed to tourists, will bolt into the forest trailing a stream of diarrhea, at the mere sight of a person."
        • (actually a sentence from a science journal…)
avoid generalities be specific
Avoid generalities-be specific!
  • "Ralph and Jane have experienced difficulties in their lives, and both have developed bad attitudes because of these difficulties. They have now set goals to surmount these problems, although the unfortunate consequences of their experiences are still apparent in many everyday situations.“
  • Not really saying much…feels “surface”
  • "Ralph and Jane have experienced challenges getting along with their parents, and both have developed coping strategies like avoiding being at home because of these difficulties. They have now set a goal to stay at home for a family night at least once a week to try to connect more with their families, although the unfortunate consequences of their experiences are that those nights can still feel tense and uncomfortable.“
avoid fluff words
Avoid “fluff words”
  • “very” /“really”
  • “stuff”/”thing”
  • “good”/”bad”
  • You can do better!
    • Highlight any of these you find in your writing. Plan on re-writing as many of these as possible!
apply it1
Apply it!
  • In your own writing:
  • Look for areas that are too general, or that stay on the surface of what you’re trying to say. Where could you add more specific details to help answer “how”, “which”, or “why” questions to support your ideas.
  • Highlight areas you are going to fix, and re-write one of those sentences to share.
  • Or, complete this mini-lesson:
  • Make the following sentences more specific by adding concrete details:
    • There were lots of reasons my grades were good.
    • The best part was that I was very happy about the day.
use strong verbs
Use strong verbs!
  • Mary walked into the restaurant.
    • More entertaining and vivid!
      • Mary staggered into Denny's.
      • Mary paraded into Red Lobster.
      • Mary shuffled into McDonald's.
      • Mary limped into Burger King
      • Mary sauntered into Subway.
      • Mary marched into Kentucky Fried Chicken.
      • Mary tiptoed into Pizza Hut.
      • Mary pranced into Taco Bell.
don t forget about boring helper verbs
Don’t forget about boring helper verbs!
  • “To be” and “to be able to” verbs
    • Were, is, was, are, am, can, could, etc…
  • Boring:
    • “The waves werehigh.”
    • “The air was so cold I could see my breath.”
  • Better:
    • “The waves towered above the boat.”
    • “My breath was highlighted by the frigid air.”
first verb tense consistency
First- verb tense consistency
  • Challenge time!
    • Circle EVERY verb on the first page of your writing and label it as either “P” for past, “N” for now (present), or “F” for future.
      • Don’t forget the helper verbs! (“to be” or “to be able to”)
    • Do you shift tenses logically in time periods, or were you shifting in ways that clouded your meaning?
      • don’t have your paper? Rewrite the above sentence to keep it all in one tense. 
now really apply it
Now really…Apply it!
  • In your own writing:
  • 1. Look at all those verbs you circled. Choose 5 to re-write as stronger, more interesting verbs!
  • Or, complete this mini-lesson:
  • Re-write the following sentences to make the verbs stronger.
    • The dog was happy about going to the park.
    • I want to drink a cup of hot chocolate right now.
    • I will remember to bring my assignment next time so I can avoid the lame sentences Mrs. Tomlinson makes up.
change passive voice to active voice
change passive voice to active voice
  • A passive verb creates a sentence structure in which the subject is acted on and therefore, is put in a passive position. The subject of an active verb performs the action.


  • Passive:
    • A suggestion was made by the instructor that the plan should be revised.
  • Active:
    • The instructor suggested that the plan should be revised.
what harm can it do
What harm can it do?
  • “The rabbit was injected with a cancer-causing substance.”
    • Ack! Passive voice hides who did that to the poor rabbit!
  • “With years of experience, I performed that piano piece with amazing accuracy.”
    • Hmm…sort of hides you and your achievement at the end of the sentence? Feels a little less personal?
apply it2
Apply it!
  • In your own writing:
  • 1. Phew…we’re getting tired. Just skim through and see if you find any examples of this. Write PV next to it, but don’t do any revisions yet. 
  • Or, complete this mini-lesson:
  • Re-write these sentences to change them from passive voice to active voice!
    • The lectures were brilliant, but the students were still bored.
    • Being able to walk long distances, Mona went through tennis shoes very quickly.
wrap up
Wrap Up
  • Record this answer in your journal:
    • What was the most valuable strategy for you today?
  • Good news! No official, required re-write for this one!
    • BUT, this can be used as a portfolio piece later if you haven’t written a personal piece yet.
      • Want feedback from me? Do your revisions and turn them in to me by next Tuesday and I’ll return it by Friday.
    • Just want to share the piece with me, but not looking for editing/revision help? Turn it in today, and I’ll read and comment on it!