Strong Nouns and Verbs

19 Oct

Jeff Anderson talks about an activity you can do with the book, An Island Grows, to teach kids about powerful two word sentences.

The book chronicles how an island is created, from earthquakes and volcanoes all the way to animals populating the island and settlers coming, in a series of two words sentences with strong language.


Stone breaks.

Water quakes.

Magma glows.

Volcano blows.

Lava flows

and flows

and flows.

An island grows.

After reading the story and discussing how the author used specific nouns and verbs to form images in our mind, we created our own story.  A sport is an easy subject for most students to write about.  Lots of small moments happen, from sweat dripping to crowds cheering, and students have all experienced some kind of physical exertion.

We settled on running, and first created a column with all of the nouns–people, places, things, or ideas–that we could think of when running.

Then we thought of actions that went with each of those nouns.  Some, like feet, could have more than one, like “pound,” or “ache.”

Finally, we put them together, trying to recreate the race in chronological order, from the beginning to the end.

photo 4

It was nice to see our environments science unit come into play!

It was nice to see our environments science unit come into play!


Rhythmic Gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics


It was an easy activity for all students to engage in, because they could pick any topic they new well (one picked “sleeping” 🙂 ) and it clearly showed the level of language the class was capable of.  Some students who weren’t sure what to do mentored off of our class running piece, which was a good way for them to start incorporating more specific, sophisticated language into their writing.

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