Chris Adcock
English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • French Revolution
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Justice
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Vivid Language

    Vivid Language


    In this lesson, students will focus on making their vignettes more effective by considering more vivid language and getting advice from their classmates.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Create effective peer editing partnerships as you see fit.

    Seeing Not Judging

    • Direct students to complete the first exercise, making sure they understand the directions.
    • Consider completing the first example in each section together with them.
    • SWD: If you have students who struggle with creating their own new descriptions, an alternative approach is to have them view a short film clip or detailed illustration and practice writing about what they see using detailed, descriptive sentences.


    Action is easier to “see” in writing than a summary of action or a judgment of feelings. For example, if the narrator tells you that the character is happy, you understand what “happy” means, but you don’t know from the description whether the character is quietly smiling, or jumping up and down, or whistling a tune. The narrator has made a judgment and passed that off as description.

    In order to make your writing more vivid, always take the opportunity to see for your readers. Think about it from their perspective. Try to avoidjudging , or drawing conclusions from what you see.

    • Practice effective description as you complete Description: Seeing Not Judging.

    Open Notebook

    When directed, share your responses to the exercise.

    Effective Verbs and Good Writing

    • Making sure to convey enthusiasm for each student’s efforts, ask students to share some of the examples they have written and point out the ways that better verbs and vivid descriptions enliven writing. SWD: This may be a more difficult exercise for more linear thinkers, who may not understand the distinction between seeing and judging, as they both point toward the same thing. To get them started, you can tell students to make a list of what a person does when experiencing the examples in the exercise. ELL: This activity can double as vocabulary practice for students who would benefit. Make sure students understand the key adjectives in the exercise: lonely, tired, enthusiastic, andlazy . Be sure to provide students with access to dictionaries in both English and their primary language and an English thesaurus.

    Work Time

    Simply naming an action is generally not the best way to describe it for your reader. Join a partner as directed and do the following.

    • Practice using more vivid verbs as you complete Description: Effective Verbs.

    Open Notebook

    Share your responses to the second exercise with your partner. When directed, share your responses with the whole class.

    Vignette Peer Editing

    • Put students into partnerships that you think will be the most productive for peer editing.
    • Have students share their vignettes in whatever fashion makes most sense in your classroom. They could share their vignettes digitally, or they could trade tablets for the exercise. Either way, they should record their comments in the appropriate section of the peer editing form. Decide if you wish to print out the form for students or have them toggle back and forth between the writing and the form on the tablet.
    • Review the peer editing form, making sure that the students understand the directions.
    • Remind students the importance of being constructive and supportive when they give feedback. ELL: If you have students who are still learning the vocabulary of constructive criticism, you can provide sentence frames or take a moment to brainstorm phrases that may be useful.
    • Emphasize the difference between feedback and correction. Ask students who are responding to writing not to assume the need to “fix” the writing. Often times, questions can be most helpful in directing a writer’s attention to needed work.
    • Set a time limit for students to have conversations about their peer work.

    Work Time

    Listen as your teacher reviews the peer editing form and offers additional suggestions. Then share your vignette with your partner and offer feedback.

    • Read your partner’s vignette, and then fill out the peer editing form as directed.
    • When you have finished, share your feedback with your partner. Listen as your partner provides any additional response.
    • Spend a few additional moments with your partner, making sure he or she has understood all of your feedback.

    Vignette Revision

    • Direct students to begin working on their revisions in the time that remains.
    • Establish the Lesson 21 deadline for the final draft of the student vignettes. Make other arrangements with your class if necessary.


    • With the time that remains, begin revising your vignette.
    • Mark your calendar for the final due date for the second draft.

    Book II, Chapters 21 and 22

    • Help students facilitate the demands of multiple assignments by encouraging them to manage their time, use planners, and break tasks into chunks.


    • Read Book II, Chapters 21 and 22 of A Tale of Two Cities and annotate for key ideas, personal reactions, questions, and vocabulary.