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The Little Engine That
Diligently Cut the Mustard
HWP summer of 2010- Kathy Ellis
Inquiry Questions:
1. What methods can be used to help students to be aware of using
correct grammar during the writing process?
2. In what ways can word choice help improve student vocabulary?
3. What strategies can be used in the class to encourage revisions?
4. In what ways does intentional word choice enhance revised
 Frustrated over compartmentalizing grammar
because it doesn’t seem to carry over to student
writing, I wanted to find a way to integrate
grammar in the writing process. The books The
Revision Toolbox by Georgia Heard and
Lessons to Share on Teaching Grammar in
Context by Constance Weaver suggest grammar
should not be taught as a separate entity, but
integrated in the writing process using mini
lessons when needed.
 Using ideas from Papers, Papers, Papers by
Carol Jago, The Revision Toolbox by Georgia
Heard, and Lessons to Share on Teaching
Grammar in Context by Constance Weaver, I
am hoping to create a new lesson focusing
first on writing, then a mini lesson on verbs
and adverbs, and revision.
Materials Needed:
 Writing paper
 Highlighters
 Two pink sheets of paper
 Two blue sheets of paper
 10 pink index cards
 10 blue index cards
Introduce picture of art. Discuss and reflect on
What felling do you have when you look at this
How do colors add to this mood?
What is the first ting you notice when you look
at it?
What time period is this art depicting?
How details do you notice about the picture?
Writing Prompt
This painting is your writing prompt. You
may write a poem, a letter, a journal entry, a
narrative or anything you want concerning
this piece of art. You ONLY have three
minutes. Don’t stop writing. Don’t worry
about revision or spelling. Just get some
ideas on paper. ( In class allow twenty
Mini-verb/adverb lesson
Verbs are like a train’s engine. The stronger the
engine the more powerful the train is. The engine
(verb) can be moving or sitting still or in a state of
Adverbs modify or limit the verbs. Adverbs provide
specific information about the action that is carried
out. It answers how, when, where, why, how much
or to what extent. Most adverbs end in –ly but not
all of them do.
For example: Yesterday Jake threw the ball far.
Group Work
Form four groups.
Label two groups verbs and two groups adverbs.
Everyone should exchange papers. With a
highlighter, the verb group will mark action verbs
and the adverb group will highlight adverbs.
Give color coded forms and index cards to each
Assign a secretary and a card keeper. The
secretary will make a list of the top four overused
words. The group will brainstorm five synonyms
for the over used word. The card keeper will write
each synonym on an index card.
Adverb/Verb Charades
Cards will be collected and groups reorganized.
With both adverb groups together as one group
and all the verb groups together as one group the
charades game will begin.
Someone from the adverb will choose a synonym
from the verbs card stack. An actor will act out the
synonym and try to get his/her team to guess the
If it is guessed correctly, the team wins a point.
Next, someone from the verb team will act out and
adverb but it must be used with the previously used
verb. A correct guess will score a point.
Post game revisions
After game, post adverbs and verbs on the
walls and use lists to revise papers.
Compare papers with original group.