Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing Dialogue Part 1

Just a little humor for all my teacher friends out there who not only experienced some lethargic students today, but who also were in a bit of a sugar coma themselves (GUILTY!)...


I hope you all survived your spooktacular celebrations! Anyone notice all of the Christmas decorations going up already? AH! Slow down please!!

I am here to share with you a fun unit we just finished up, adding and editing dialogue in our writing. I know this lesson has been done millions of times by millions of teachers, but I just added a few personal twists this year for my students!

I have some awesomely creative writers this year which is a teacher's dream come true! We all know that writing can be such a scary thing to teach sometimes because of how open-ended it is, and because all of our students come to us with such varied prior knowledge and experiences with writing. I have many students that NEVER write outside of school, and that is so sad to me! Their lives are full of texting and Facebook messages (yes 5th grade). While I am a young teacher, I am old school and teach my students the value of hand-writing things. Not to mention, my kids could use a lesson or two about how LOL and OMG are not proper English!!!!

We started our dialogue unit by looking at our own writing and realizing that we needed to "put said to bed." In the past, I have done lessons on "said is dead," but this year, we talked about the importance of not actually killing said, and that it too can and should be used in your writing. Without said, your dialogue tags may make your writing a bit too wordy, so it is perfectly acceptable to use it every once in a while.

First, we created this anchor chart together as a class. We flipped through some picture books that had dialogue and thought about why authors put dialogue in stories.  

We then read the book, Yertle the Turtle by: Dr. Seuss together as a class, and every time my students heard a synonym for said, they gave me a thumbs up.

**Here are more picture book ideas that I have used in the past to teach this unit:

After reading Yertle the Turtle we then created a class thesaurus full of words that are synonyms for said. Students used the dialogue tags from Yertle the Turtle, and I also asked them to stretch their thinking to other stories they have either read or written in the past. Below is the list they came up with: 

My students wanted to keep going with their synonyms, but I had to cut them off at some point! FYI- the "yolded" should be spelled y-o-d-e-l-e-d, and my sweet girl that gave me that synonym INSISTED I add it! ha!

Students were to then go back to their writing and edit the dialogue tags in their own writing to put said to bed.

While conferencing with some students, I noticed this quick doodle in one of my student's notebooks. Ha! 

*but should be put!

At least he was paying attention to the lesson, right?! 

On the next day, we looked through more picture books and chapter books to come up with the rules that writers use to punctuate and edit dialogue.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my writing dialogue unit! There will be a big fat freebie for you all at the end! Thanks!!


amanda marie said...

All of your lessons are so great! Very inspiring for a first year teacher like me just learning workshop method! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Amanda! I am a new teacher who started about 8 weeks into the year. I need as much help as I can get and you have fabulous lessons. Thank you for sharing!!

Julia E. Ormachea said...

Thank you so much for sharing the great ideas. I have 27 years of teaching experience, but every time there is something new to learn and share. Living in La Paz, Bolivia makes it harder to attend workshops, but thanks to wonderful teachers like you, who share their knowledge and experience, the world is smaller and we all become part of a community of learners. Thanks!!!

YoungTeacherLove said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comments, Julia! Wow! Bolivia? I am so honored to know that my teaching ideas are helping other students and teachers in other countries. Thanks for stopping by!

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