Teaching Kids to Add Details to Writing: A Growing Problem
Students do not write paragraphs with a suitable amount of supporting details. It does not matter what grade or what level. The minute I assign an essay, I know students are going to forget to include or fail to include sufficient details. My first reaction is to scrape my cornea with an ice crushing machine. One day, however, I realized I could begin teaching kids to add details to writing and save my eye sight. It all began while reflecting on a really fun lesson plan.
I use tinker toys to teach essay writing. After thinking and thinking about how I could get my students to include details in their essays, I came up with a solution. I now share with you my Teaching Kids to Add Details to Writing fun activity.
- Ask for two volunteers: a male student and a female student.
- Have them stand up next to their desk.
- Start with the male student and ask him to describe his favorite pair of jeans.
- Then, ask the girl to describe her favorite pair of jeans. Typically, the girl’s description is going to blow the male’s description to pieces as she will describe the appearance of the jeans as well as the way the jeans fit. The male student will typically say they are blue, denim, and comfortable.
Got your Girl?
Girls are obsessed with details. If you ask a girl about someone at a party, a girl will tell you everything, from the outfit to the jewelry that she was wearing as well as who she was with. The point here is to remind students to find their inner girl and learn to incorporate details in their writing.
In my classroom, I use the phrase “got your girl” or you need to “find your girl,” and this is a key phrase that reminds students to become obsessed with details and to incorporate such details into their essays. Male students generally do not want their teacher to walk up to them and say, "You need to find your inner girl," so they generally decide to start including those details.
This strategy is one of those things that sticks with students because it is goofy and effective. Students will never “forget their girl.”