Writing Techniques


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Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 1

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 1

"Add more variety!" I'd say to my class. But I never really knew what this actually meant. Suprise! This bad advice never improved students' writing. In these videos, students learn nine specific ways to add variety just by changing the beginning of their sentences. This was easily one of my students' favorite writing tools - because it actually helped them.

Punctuation Power

Punctuation Power

In a sentence, punctuation may seem meek when compared to those mighty words, but punctuation has incredible power over the meaning of a sentence. Students will try re-punctuating sentences to find new meanings - without changing a single word!

Fancier Figurative Language: Start with a Cliche

Fancier Figurative Language: Start with a Cliche

We'll start with the cliché "as cold as ice" and go somewhere much more interesting.

Changing Coordinating Conjunctions

Changing Coordinating Conjunctions

What happens when we switch out a "but" with a "so"? An "and" with a "for"? How can such tiny words make such big differences?

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 2

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 2

We'll show students how to add more variety to their writing by starting sentences with a reason, a prepositional phrase, and a simile.

Pronouns With Too Many Antecedents

Pronouns With Too Many Antecedents

What happens when a pronoun could refer to more than one noun? Big problems!

Advanced Alliteration and Consonance

Advanced Alliteration and Consonance

When students learn about alliteration, it's hard to steer them away from goofy tongue-twisters. Certainly, there must be more powerful and practical ways of using alliteration. In this lesson, I draw on delicious examples from Shakespeare to show how a very advanced writer used alliteration. Then, I break those ideas down so students can try them out.

Ways to Start a Sentence – Part 3

Ways to Start a Sentence – Part 3

We'll show students how to add more variety to their writing by starting sentences with gerunds, participle phrases, and absolute phrases.

Ambiguous Sentences

Ambiguous Sentences

Rather than just demand that students "write clearly," we'll explore the hazards of poorly written sentences… and maybe create one of our own!

Fancier Figurative Language: Use the Opposite

Fancier Figurative Language: Use the Opposite

Let's start with "As cold as fire."

Passive to Active Voice

Passive to Active Voice

n this lesson, students will not just fix passive sentences, but break active sentences as they learn to put the star of the sentence first.

Fixing Shakespearean Run-Ons

Fixing Shakespearean Run-Ons

Can your students help The Bard? We'll fix five Shakespearean run-ons in three different ways.

Fancier Figurative Language: Move the Simile

Fancier Figurative Language: Move the Simile

What if we started a sentence with the simile?

Writing Technique: Contrast With Synonyms

Writing Technique: Contrast With Synonyms

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be contrasting two ideas using synonyms.

Writing Technique: 3 Dependent Clauses

Writing Technique: 3 Dependent Clauses

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be writing sentences with three dependent clauses.

Fancier Figurative Language: Advanced Repetition

Fancier Figurative Language: Advanced Repetition

Is your students' use of repetition limited to, "The girl was very, very, very fast."? Let's borrow some ideas from Shakespeare!

Writing Technique: Opposite Adjectives

Writing Technique: Opposite Adjectives

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be using antonyms to describe the same topic!

Doubling Up Writing: Anadiplosis

Doubling Up Writing: Anadiplosis

Repeating words can be what you want, if what you want is an interesting effect. (Psst, that's an example of anadiplosis!)

Writing Technique: Triple Anadiplosis!

Writing Technique: Triple Anadiplosis!

Have students mastered the art of anadiplosis: ending one sentence with the beginning of the next? Now it's time to take it to the next level!

Super Specific Similes: Quick Baby

Super Specific Similes: Quick Baby

Let's make this simile about a quick baby even more specific.

Super Specific Similes – Slimy Broccoli

Super Specific Similes – Slimy Broccoli

Students will make this slimy broccoli simile seriously specific.

Super Specific Similes: Stinky Seaweed

Super Specific Similes: Stinky Seaweed

Students will make this simile about stinky seaweed super specific.

Getting Specific With St. Patrick’s Day Writing

Getting Specific With St. Patrick’s Day Writing

Let's take a starting phrase about St. Patrick's Day and get specific. No, even more specific!

Super Specific Similes – Strong Uncle

Super Specific Similes – Strong Uncle

Let's make this simile about a strong uncle even more specific.

Super Specific Similes: Loud Class

Super Specific Similes: Loud Class

Let's make this simile about a loud class super specific!