Get It Down, Fix It Up…Bangladesh edition

I love helping young authors in a writing workshop. To watch them stretch their writing wings is one of the best parts of my job. In recent workshops in Dhaka, Bangladesh, young authors tried out their writing wings buoyed up by strong verbs and vivid details.

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After a mini-lesson on the power of verbs and details in our writing, I showed a brief powerpoint about sea turtle hatchlings. During the powerpoint, I asked the young authors to make a list of vocabulary words regarding sea turtles (flippers, egg tooth, hatchling, sandy beach, scaly skin, counter shading, etc.). We were now ready to tackle the writing assignment.

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“I was on the beach. I saw a lot of baby turtles go down to the ocean. It was fun.”

The directions were to revise the above sentences into an interesting paragraph by using strong verbs and VIVID DETAILS. I set my iPhone timer to 10 minutes, and with heads down and sharpened pencil firmly in hand, the kids dove in.

I was so proud of my Bangladeshi students! They experimented, they threw down weak verbs and then replaced them with stronger ones, they penned generalizations and then edited in interesting specific details. They became writers.

Here are two examples of student’s work:

The hatchling slices open the thin coating of protection, with its egg tooth. This is where the beginning commences of a turtle’s life. Slowly rising out of the shaded home of security, black and white scaly flippers lurch forward out into the warm crunchy, sifting sand. Prey flies ahead and crawls across the sand in search for soft-shelled hatchlings. Scurrying across with every ounce of energy as the hatchling rush forward in search for potential safety. The rigid scales drag across the comforting sandy beaches. Ahhhhh….the first wave comes into contact with the hatchlings. The fizzling foam runs smoothly across the counter shaded back. At last, safely away from moments of danger. Sailing across the bubbling waters drifting along with the current. Gone, gone, gone…a new journey begins. Sarra 7th grade AISD

I wake up and can only see darkness. I’m currently a hatchling. I use my egg tooth to scratch and break the egg. I use my flippers to get out and as soon as I’m out, I get hit by cool air. It tastes and smells salty. I see a few rocks far away. As I get closer I see that they are like me, camouflaged into the night. As I move my scaly skin and crawl forward I join them. Together we move towards the ocean united as one. It’s dark but I can see clearly. Splash! I leave the beach and into the water. I am counter-shaded so I swim in peace. In seconds I’m far away from land. I prepare myself for what is coming and start my journey.        Aqib 6th grade ISD

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1 Comment

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  1. Nothing like a little performance enhancing verb action!

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