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Writing the Prairie. Descriptive Phrases. Bullet point list Words and phrases Specific nouns Connotative verbs Adjective-noun combinations Verb-noun combinations. Collaborative Paragraph. Five minutes. Title: Prairie Use the list of phrases to write descriptive sentences

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descriptive phrases
Descriptive Phrases
  • Bullet point list
  • Words and phrases
  • Specific nouns
  • Connotative verbs
  • Adjective-noun combinations
  • Verb-noun combinations
collaborative paragraph
Collaborative Paragraph
  • Five minutes.
  • Title: Prairie
  • Use the list of phrases to write descriptive sentences
  • Do not use “I”; do not create a story.
  • 5-6 sentences.
the prairie1
The Prairie
  • Which version is more accurate? What makes it more true?

Under Holdrege, Nebraska

Bill Holm

I skip stones into billowing Nebraska wheat

As if it were a rolling golden ocean.

One nips the beard in seven arcs until

It cuts into a breaker and sinks.

No telling how far that stone will drop.

from The Dead Get By With Everything (1990)

from giants in the earth rolvaag
from Giants in the Earth (Rolvaag)

Then one morning--October was nearly passed--the sun could not get his eye open at all; the heavens rested close above the plain, grey, dense, and still. The chill of this greyness drove through the air though no wind stirred. […]Bleak, grey, God-forsaken, the empty desolation stretched on every hand. . . .

horizontal grandeur holm
Horizontal Grandeur (Holm)

Ditches and hillsides are a jumble of flowers, grasses and thistles: purple, pink, white, yellow, blue. In deep woods, the eye misses these incredible delicate colors, washed in light and shadow by an oversized sky.

prairie grasslands description dnr state mn us
Prairie Grasslands Description (dnr.state.mn.us)

Imagine a kaleidoscope of color that shifts with the seasons: the smoky haze of pasque flowers in spring, the purple of blazing star and deep orange of butterfly weed in hot midsummer, the red-gold of raspy grasses in fall, the white sparkle of frost on straw-colored grasses in winter. This is the prairie palette that marked the seasons for native peoples of long ago, when vast grasslands spread from the northwestern to the southeastern tips of the state.

from prairie a natural history candace savage
fromPrairie: A Natural History(Candace Savage)

To the south, the prairies merged and melted into sultry, soupy marshlands […]And to the west […]lay the California Grasslands—spangled in spring by lupines and yellow-orange poppies […]. And in the center of everything there was the main attraction: the Great Plains, […] a landscape that even today invites wonderment.

follow up
  • Assign brief research report on the setting in a piece of literature being studied.
  • Report on a writer’s inspiration after researching primary sources.
  • Retell the events of an historic battle in the context of place.
  • To practice voice, have students write two pieces about the same place, from different perspectives.
  • Assign presentation on important mathematician.
student example 1
Student Example #1

This desolate land squints up at a cloudy sky, searching for escape. The barbed wire fence circles a never-ending terrain. The fruitless soil and lonely shadows are without purpose. The crooked poles and scattered rocks make it seem like something is not quite right. The green border way, way off in the distance is the only color in this dull scenery.

student example 2
Student Example #2

It is a beautiful day on the prairie. The prairie is covered by a blue sky filled with fluffy clouds. The expansive pastures are blanketed in waving grasses. The wide open spaces are filled with rounded hills. It is an eternally peaceful landscape.

standards 9 7 2 2 and 11 7 2 2
Standards and

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

  • examine complex ideas in Bill Holm’s “Horizontal Grandeur” followed by writing a biome report
  • convey complex ideas in prairie writing assignment emphasizing voice/connotation
  • analyze content through observation of prairie landscape and study of selected texts