VIP COWS How to Ace the 8th Grade Writing Test
What I Have to Deal With… • Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand alone. Franklin died and is still dead.
What about these gems? • Miguel Cervantes wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died. And he wrote Paradise Regained. • Voltaire invented electricity. Gravity was invented by him. It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn when the apples are falling off the trees. • Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. • Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of Species. • Madman Curie discovered radio. • Karl Marx became one of the Marx brothers.
The Dreaded Writing Assessment………. • What are the Keys to Higher Writing Scores?
What are the 6+1 Traits? • Voice • Ideas • Presentation • Conventions • Organization • Word Choice • Sentence Fluency
A Closer Look at • Use powerful words that paint a mental picture for the reader. • Add descriptive adjectives to enhance nouns. • The lumpy brown toad hopped quickly through the squishy gooey mud. • Verbs should be strong action words. • The cows stampeded through the field. • The cows sauntered through the field.
Try to use specific, rather than general nouns. • The car zoomed down the street. The 1957 Chevy zoomed down the street. • Avoid slang and clichés. • He was fixin’ to finish his homework.
The toad ______through the mud.. The ______ toad ________through the _________mud. The _______ ________ toad __________ ________ through the _________ _________ mud. Let’s Give it a Try!
…And There’s More • Avoid repetition. • She liked to dance and she liked to skate and she liked to sing. • Make sure to use words correctly. • There driving to they’re house and will arrive their by noon.
Using our common senses……. The old man grumbled a bit as he wiped his teary eye with the back of his gnarled hand. He could taste the salt as he rubbed his parched lips. He glanced at his silent wife standing a short distance away. She too was old, but he still saw in her wrinkled face the pretty young girl he had married. She still smelled like freshly mowed spring grass.
Using our common senses……. The old man grumbled a bit as he wiped his teary eye with the back of his gnarled hand. He could taste the salt as he rubbed his parched lips. He glanced at his silent wife standing a short distance away. She too was old, but he still saw in her wrinkled face the pretty young girl he had married. She still smelled like freshly mowed spring grass. Imagery: sound touch taste sight smell
Word Choice • Plague Words • Words That POP! nice good so a lot said terrifying ear-splitting squishy scrumptious copious
Now Let’s Examine • Let your writing develop an easy flow or rhythm. • Aim to make your writing ache to be read aloud. • “He moved like a slow-motion instant replay.” (Christopher Myers) • Use complete sentences. • Slept soundly in the crib. • The baby slept soundly in the crib.
What else should a good writer do? • Vary sentence lengths. • He wore a red shirt. He had on brown slacks. His jacket was wrinkled. • He wore a wrinkled jacket over a red shirt with brown slacks. • Vary sentence beginnings. • I like to sing. I like to play the piano. • I like to sing. Playing the piano is my favorite pastime.
Frenchman's Bend was a section of rich river-bottom country lying twenty miles southeast of Jefferson. Hill-cradled and remote, definite yet without boundaries, straddling into two counties and owning allegiance to neither, it had been the original grant and site of a tremendous pre-Civil War plantation, the ruins of which —the gutted shell of an enormous house with its fallen stables and slave quarters and overgrown gardens and brick terraces and promenades—were still known as the Old Frenchman's place, although the original boundaries now existed only on old faded records in the Chancery Clerk's office in the county courthouse in Jefferson, and even some of the once-fertile fields had long since reverted to the cane-and-cypress jungle from which their first master had hewn them. How about a little Faulkner? ~ The Hamlet, William Faulkner
Moving on to • Always write from your heart and share your feelings with the reader. • Avoid using the word “you.” • Try not to sound like an encyclopedia. • Avoid contractions.
Invest yourself in what you write. Proudly take ownership. • Connect with your audience. • Give the reader a glimpse at the person behind the pen.
Teacher Read Alouds for Voice • Bridge to Terabithia, Paterson • Tuck Everlasting, Babbitt • Ramona Forever, Cleary • Charlotte’s Web, White • Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Blume • Treasure Island, Stevenson
Strategies to Teach Voice • Rewrite a popular story from a different character’s point of view. (The Real Story of the Three Little Pigs). • Read stories with vivid images. Have students close their eyes and draw what they “see.” • Read segments of dialogue and have students guess who is “speaking.” (Charlotte’s Web) • Do some Author Studies to compare voice. What is the voice behind Stephen King? • http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/tnl/langarts/pdf/6traits/voice.pdf
Bringing new voices into the classroom.. • Solomom had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines. • Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After that his career suffered a dramatic decline. • Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of Sarah is such that inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
Teacher Read Alouds for Teaching Word Choice • Maniac Magee, Spinelli • The BFG, Dahl • A Wrinkle in Time. L’Engle • Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery • Lizards for Lunch, Storad • Half a Moon and One Whole Star, Dragonwagon • Toad, Ruth Brown
Teacher Read Alouds to Model Sentence Fluency • Sarah, Plain and Tall, MacLachlan • The Van Gogh Café, Rylant • Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis • Stealing Freedom, Carbone
For more information: • Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk • http://www.angelfire.com/ks/teachme/ideasdescriptors. html • 6 Traits Homepage • http://6traits.cyberspaces.net/ • 6 + 1 Trait Writing http://www.nwrel.org/assessment/ • 6 Trait Lesson Plans http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/staff/LindaJancola/6Trait/lessons.htm#Word%20Choice • A GREAT Site!! • http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/tnl/langarts/sixtrtcrsmtrl.htm