Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Writing Workshop Word Choice

Rock Words

 How can we help kindergartners learn about word choice? I love reading stories and highlighting WOW words/Interesting words

How can we take it to the next step and see a kindergarten pick stronger words in their writing?? Can they get beyond I felt happy. I felt sad. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled when I see a child writing about their feelings. But when we see lots of the same kinds of sentences I think it's the perfect opportunity to teach students better word choice. 

I found this great lesson on explaining words choice for primary writers.
Vicki suggests the idea of teaching kids the difference between a word being pebbles or ROCKS. A pebble does not tip the scale like a ROCK word. 

A Rock name has muscle. 
It's strong. 
It can have an impact. 
The kids connected with this idea. 

My friend Genie across the hall tells her students some words are like vanilla ice-cream, and vanilla ice-cream is okay. 
But, some are like hot fudge sundaes!!

Showing that  Rocks Tip the Scale

 I created a bank of words listed above in the red

I read words aloud, and we discussed if the word was a pebble word or a rock word. 
When we first did this it was really tricky. 

I wanted the kids to help write this chart. Vicki's book does suggest gluing a rock on the rock word and a pebble on the pebble word. I just put clip art. I wanted the students to do kid spelling because I wanted to send the message that they can write these words on their own.

I had no desire to glue rocks on paper, but I have seen on Pinterest those beautiful story rocks and thought why don't I put Rock word on rocks and let the kids paint and decorate them!

 The kids loved this!! We painted the rocks one day. You may be able to tell we tried to put words that go with the rock color. 

Happy words are pink and purple. Angry words are red

We went out in our school yard and collected rocks. I was SHOCKED at how many big rocks the kids found. We lined the rocks up on the grass by our outside class door. That is where I got the idea to make a rock garden of rock words.

This list was created by the students and me. I picked words I felt like they could learn and maybe use in their stories. I chose words that you often hear in stories read aloud. 

Now, of course, when I am reading kids are yelling out, that's a rock word!!

We decorated a rock for each of the words above. After the rocks had dried I used Mod Podge to put the word on and gave students arts and crafts items to glue on. I had the students paste similar colors on to their rock. They could draw too, but many wanted to paste.
I sprayed the rocks with a clear spray paint. Creating a rock garden was  a fun activity to do. The kids loved finding a rock and decorating a rock. They may not write rock words in their stories, but I think this is helping them think about the words we use and why.


  1. Your kids must be so ready to be first grade writers by the end of the year!

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Mrs. Clancy, is there any chance I could entice you to move to California and teach my son next year? Every time I read your posts, I am astounded by all your wonderful ideas for English/Language Arts. I file them away so I can incorporate them at home. This is a fun one.

  3. Oh. I love this idea! YOu are too fabulous, for sure. :)


    Sprinkles to Kindergarten

  4. I wish I could figure out how to comment under people's comments but of course I can't figure that out! Thanks you for all the compliments! This was fun and easy to do! Melissa

  5. WOW! i love love love this idea...i have pinned many of your amazing ideas..thank you so much for sharing

  6. What great ideas! We are your newest followers! We would love for you to check us out!

  7. Thank you Lori, I can't wait to do this lesson this year with my k's once the snow leaves the grown! Melissa

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  9. This is the BEST word choice lesson!!! I am going to use it with my second graders. Thank you!

  10. Jennifer, I did this lesson a few years ago and I LOVED it! I am so glad you will do it with your second graders!! Melissa


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