Subject:
English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Grade:
11
Provider:
Pearson
Tags:
A Tale of Two Cities, Courts, Grade 11 ELA
License:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0
Language:
English
Description Writing

Description Writing

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, you will focus on writing description that is effective by using concrete, specific details that send a clear impression to your reader.

In this lesson, students will focus on writing description that is effective by using concrete, specific details that send a clear impression to their reader.

Lesson Preparation

  • Read the lesson and student content.
  • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

Task 1: The Defarges Share

  • Facilitate a review of key details that students chose for the DeFarges.
  • Reviewing three or four of their examples, talk about the power of a specific detail.
  • ELL: One way to help students master words that are unfamiliar is to find images to illustrate the details that are used, when possible. This can be an extra credit assignment for any student to complete or a supplement to the lesson that you prepare yourself.

Opening

  • Share with the class some of your observations about the Defarges.
  • Notice how much can be suggested by a small detail.

Annotate any information or ideas you hear that you want to capture for later thought and use.

Task 2: Writing Detail

  • Share with your classmates your observations about the power of details.
  • Consider having the students complete The Power of Detail in steps, first going over Part One. Then, tell them they will not be required to share responses to Part Two. However, once most of them have written down at least three responses, allow a few volunteers to share what they have written for Part Two.

Work Time

Writers use specific details to paint images in the reader’s mind. Consider, for example, how much easier it is to “see” a plate of spaghetti than it is to “see” a dinner.

  • Complete The Power of Detail, parts 1 and 2.
  • Share with your classmates your observations about the power of details.

Open Notebook

Task 3: Two Different Moods, One Room

  • If necessary, brainstorm with the students a few moods, such as happy, bored, scared, depressed, energized, dreamy, etc.
  • Have the students write one of the moods on their papers, then, challenge them to list the details in the classroom that they could use to convey that mood. For example, “happy” might include an upbeat poster or sunshine streaming through the windows. Allow them to create bulleted lists or to write in sentences, as they choose.
  • Then, ask the students to skip a space and put a very different mood on the page, such as scared or bored. Again, challenge them to list the details in the classroom that they could use to convey THAT mood.
  • Facilitate a discussion about the ways in which different details can be used to establish a mood.
  • SWD: To support visual learners, you can create a table on the board that lists the moods students have described. Capture student responses to create lists of details for each mood.
  • ELL: Review the word mood , and what it means in this context (emotional atmosphere) as well as what it means in other, related, contexts. Literary mood is created through choices the author makes, and it describes the reader’s emotional response to the work.

Work Time

When describing a place, writers have to select specific details that will convey the mood they are hoping for. Using your classroom as a resource, do the following.

  • As your teacher suggests, write a short description of your classroom using details you observe around you that could convey one specific mood such as “happy” or “somber.”
  • When you have finished one description, pick another mood and repeat the exercise.
  • Try to choose two approaches that allow contrasting moods, even in the same room at the same time.

Open Notebook

Rejoin the whole class, and when called upon, share your description. Listen as others share and discuss examples of strong descriptions that carry mood.

Task 4: Descriptive Writing Preview

  • Let these ideas help you make your final choices for the writing you do as homework.
  • Review the writing assignment, explaining your expectations and answering students’ questions.
  • Give students some time to do the Quick Write, brainstorming possible choices for the writing.
  • SWD: Specify the minimum number of required scenes, to support students who are concrete thinkers. You can also allow them to complete this Quick Write with a partner to facilitate brainstorming.
  • If there is time remaining, consider letting students pair and share some of their ideas.

Closing

Follow along as your teacher explains the writing assignment. Ask any clarifying questions you may have. Then do the following Quick Write.

  • Jot down the first ideas for scenes that come to you upon hearing the assignment. Even if you are quite sure your first choice is a good one, go ahead and list several more  in case your first idea isn’t your best.
  • Next, jot down some ideas you have for characters who might have interesting perspectives for your descriptive writing on one or more of the scenes you’ve named.
  • Let these ideas help you make your final choices for the writing you do as homework.

Open Notebook

Task 5: A Place ?As Seen By?

  • Some students may quickly find a character and a place to describe. Others may struggle with one or another aspect of the assignment. If you have time at the end of class, make yourself available for small group or individual discussions about the assignment.
  • Some students may also struggle to avoid giving away the back-story of the speaker. Remind them if necessary that the challenge—and the fun!—of the assignment is to make the details express the mood, and ultimately the identity of the speaker.
  • You could also consider adding a “guess the speaker” game in the following lesson to add some incentive for keeping the identities concealed.
  • Use the writing as a way of determining engagement and ease of writing in a fashion that will be useful later in the Unit Accomplishment.

Homework

  • Using your brainstorming from the previous task, follow the instructions on the assignment to write a paragraph that describes a place from the point of view of a particular character.
  • Be sure the description carries the mood of that person in the specific circumstances you imagined without identifying the speaker directly.

Open Notebook

Submit your writing to your teacher.