Check out how Fairview Elementary teacher Deb Conley targets dead and worn out words with her fourth graders in Sherwood, OH. She identifies the overused adjectives and verbs she wants writers to avoid and then encourages students to brainstorm more specific synonyms using this handout. Download Deb’s handout or make your own version using the blank template on page two. Thanks for sharing, Deb!
Great Teacher Comments:
Anne Fagan’s fourth grade class at Sweetser Elementary (Sweetser, IN) decided to bury their first-grade word choices. They had a funeral behind the school. Students chose to write eulogies, sing a goodbye song, or just say a few words. One built a casket, another made a tombstone. They wore black, and then some picked “flowers” to place at the burial sight. All were their ideas, and they loved it!
Diane Burns, K-5 Literacy Coach at Aylesworth Elementary School (Portage, IN), encouraged her students to lay to rest some of their worn-out words. She focused on words that were consistently popping up in their writing and asked them to avoid those words and to replace them with better words that painted a more specific picture.
After attending a Smekens Education workshop, Jenni Herrell was inspired to share this idea with her fifth graders at Hebron Elementary School (Evansville, IN). For the activity, Jenni had her students work with partners, and they loved learning how to “rest” overused verbs! Her students now work to include better verbs in their writing.