Word Choice and Sentence Fluency for 6 + 1 Traits of Writing

Well, as promised here are the eight different activities to address word choice and sentence fluency for the 6 + 1 writing traits that I used for my writing class and with my students.  Please enjoy!

1.     Title: Token Response

Common Core Standard:  Anchor seven

Writing Trait Addressed: Word Choice

Description of Activity: Students build their knowledge and background of what they think “art is”.  This activity is building the foundation of word choice at a very basic level.  They do this by taking five different pieces of paper and placing them on a corresponding piece of artwork.

The five tokens are:

  • smiley face (represents favorite piece)
  • yuck face (represents least favorite piece)
  • tool belt (represents craftsmanship)
  • clock (represents the artwork took a long time to make)
  • dollar bill (represents the artwork is worth a lot of money)

After students have placed their tokens, they list the name of the artist and artwork.  Finally, they write a sentence of two to state why they chose that artwork.

Differentiated Instruction:  This activity can be adapted to different grade levels. Instead of writing out the response students can verbalize their choices.  More or less artwork can be placed on tables depending on the level of the students.

2.     Title: Describing Art through Words

Common Core Standard: Anchor two

Trait Addressed: Word Choice

Description of Activity: In groups, students look at one piece of art and list as many words as possible to describe the artwork in five minutes.  Each student has a dry erase marker to write on the poster, which has been laminated.  Next, students move to the next picture and add words to that artwork for five minutes.  Lastly, students take five more minutes to finish the third group.  After the writing is done, students are to go back to the spot that they started at and read all the new words.  In their group students discuss the top 10 words that describe the picture best.  Students then circle those words.  These posters are hung in the classroom. Finally, students write a sentence or two on the note card that describes the picture using the top 10 words.

Differentiated Instruction:  To assist with generating words to describe the picture, there could be a general word bank of art words.  Students then circle words that best fit with the artwork.

3.     Title: Portfolio Mystery

Common Core Standard: Anchor two

Trait Addressed: Word Choice

Description of Activity:  The teacher uses an art portfolio with 12 pieces of artwork in the portfolio.  The teacher explains that the students are helping out the FBI to determine which piece of artwork was stolen over the phone to the museum curator. To help out the imaginary  curator over the phone students need to describe a piece of artwork with as much detail as possible so that curator will be able to determine which section of the museum the piece needs to be returned to.  If there is time, the students need to draw a mini picture to be faxed over to the museum curator.

Differentiated Instruction:  Students could cut out words from a general art word bank and glue it to a piece of paper.

4.     Title: Words that Sparkle with Watercolor

Common Core Standard: Anchor two

Trait Addressed: Word Choice

Description of Activity:  Students are to choose one of the art books and look at the pictures and text.  Students then find at least ten words that help that book sparkle.  Students then recreate the sparkle words in a unique way in their sketchbook or on a piece of paper using crayons.  This is to practice the wax resist technique and to have fun.  Students are then to add designs around their words and pictures are an option.  Afterwards, students add watercolor on top of those words.

Differentiated Instruction:  Students could use a preset of listed words for each book and choose those words from the list.

5.     Title: Standing Sentences

Common Core Standard: Anchor four

Trait Addressed: Sentence Fluency

Description of Activity:  Give each student several blank cards. Have students arranged in groups of four.  Have the phrase “Art is” on one card.  Explain to the students that they will be filling in what art is with their other cards.  Each person must hold at least one card.  Students need to write one word on each card.  After they have their sentence; have the students rearrange the sentences a different way by either adding or subtracting words.  Give the students five minutes.  Have the students then come up front and present their sentence. Tell them that if their sentence is really long they can invite other members from another group to come up and hold cards.

Differentiated Instruction:  A set of art words could already be placed on index cards and the students need to then rearrange the words into a sentence.

6.     Title: Standing Paint Sentences

Common Core Standard: Anchor four

Trait Addressed: Sentence Fluency

Description of Activity:  Students use the index cards from the standing sentences to rewrite out their own standing sentence on new cards.  Several pieces of card stock are tapped together on the back so the students can create their paint sentence.  Students can choose either watercolor paint or tempera paint to create their sentences.  These are set to dry and then hung in the classroom.

Differentiated Instruction:  Words are already written on index cards with a crayon and the student picks which cards to tape together and then paint on top.

7.     Title: Sentence Scavengers

Common Core Standard: Anchor four

Trait Addressed: Sentence Fluency

Description of Activity: Students are to take out the art books again and look for a sentence that flows.  This can be done in partners or individually.  Students are to then write that sentence in their sketchbook using any media already discussed in class.  Students are then to add designs around the sentence.

Differentiated Instruction:  Sample sentences for each book are listed on a piece of paper.  Students are to pick one that flows and then add their own designs.

8. Title: Modeling Sentence

Common Core Standard: Anchor Four

Trait Addressed: Sentence Fluency

Description of Activity: Students are to work with first grade students and assist the students in writing about their artwork (monster) using a fluid sentence.  The monster artwork is where the first grade students created a monster creature using construction paper, scissors, and glue. The sixth grade student does not write the sentence but assists in forming the sentence or sentences.

Differentiated Instruction: A pre-written sentence about the teacher’s monster is placed on the board.

Hello my name is…

It is that time in the year when students return to school and teachers are looking for ways to introduce themselves and get to know their students. I am currently taking a graduate writing class along with my capstone. This is where you play the doom music. It’s not that bad yet; however, if I haven’t posted for a while you will know why.

There were a couple of fun neat activities that we used to introduce ourselves. Here are couple of examples using writing and reading that I was introduced to from my professors. I am also using the 6 + 1 Writing Traits book in my class. This is something new to me.

 From my capstone class:

Literacy Dig: A way to introduce your self is to bring in 8-11 objects that have some sort of text on it that you like or find significant. One must be a book.

My objects:

  • Painting with my signature
  • Dow Gardens Card
  • My daughter’s soccer picture (words are on their shirts)
  • Window decal from my school
  • Crayola Marker box
  • Godiva chocolate tag
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Steinverstein
  • A magnet that states, “Be Creative”

We shared our objects in our groups. It was show and tell for adults with an emphasis on text.

From my writing class:

The first one was to write an autobiography that sparkled. Here is my example.

Dear Reader,

I am supposed to write about whom I am, what and where I teach while using voice. Hmm, let me think a bit.  I need to be like Winnie the Pooh and think, think, think.  Alright, I have it.  I shall describe myself a bit.  I have a yellow mask, and a paint splattered cape with a purple apron.  I am known as the art teacher or to kindergarten students everywhere as Mrs. Berries.  Well, I’ve been infusing art and molding young minds in creativity all over the state of for the last nine years.  It has been mostly art.  But there was a semester or two where I taught basic math and English to alternative high school students.  Now, mind you I’m only certified to teach in the visual arts.  However, my principal told me that I knew more than they did and it was ok.  
     Now, I find myself recently this past summer in my dream job at Bay City Academy.  While I am there I will be molding young minds in the visual arts from kindergarten to sixth grade.  Reader, this is where you insert a maniacal laugh with fingers tapping one another.  Ha Ha Ha. I am just kidding; a super hero doesn’t have an evil laugh. Well, I think these paragraphs covers the what and where.  But don’t stop here; I still have more to tell you.  Keep reading to the next paragraph. 
     Whew, I’m glad you didn’t leave.   Shhh, this part is a secret and only should be read with the utmost care.  I need to tell you about my secret identity.  I am the mother of two and the wife of a wonderful husband.  We live in Midland Michigan on most days.  Occasionally, you will find us down at the lake at the bottom of the state.  When I am not being a super hero I find that I fill my time with family activities, such as painting, spending time outdoors, and scrapbooking.  Reader, are you thinking that my family actually participates in these activities? Well, they do.  The 18th month old will walk across my pallet and then onto my brand new canvas leaving her blue feet marks while both the oldest daughter and husband laugh until tears come out.  For now, that is all that I will tell you.  If you want to know more please visit at http://www.berryart.wordpress.com


Christy Berry aka Mrs. Berry

The next example that we used in class was to create a poem or pose about ourself. I would extend the activity with drawing a picture to match the text. I used the If I were…. starter for my poem.

Mrs. Berry’s Bitter Purple Apron

By Christy Berry

If I were Mrs. Berry I would let anybody touch me; even with those sticky gluey fingers. 

If I were Mrs. Berry I would let them play with slippery clay.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would use real stinky fish to teach about fish printmaking.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would give them things that are messy!

If I were Mrs. Berry I would let them use their outrageous imagination.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would let them make a choice about their art.

If I were Mrs. Berry I wouldn’t fix their projects.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would allow movement and delightful dancing.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would let them talk to their heart’s content.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would belly laugh and smile a mile wide.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would give helpful hugs.

If I were Mrs. Berry I would teach amazing art. 

If I was Mrs. Berry I wouldn’t hang my purple apron in the dark closet overnight all alone.

That is what I would do if I were Mrs. Berry.

The third example of introducing yourself is to use a small moment from your life. This involves describing a small moment out of a big event. The example I used was to describe a fishing trip with my family when I was a teenager.

Carnivorous Tree

by Christy Berry

The tall tree had eyeballed me all afternoon and as the family was rowing away it stuck out a branch.  The brown branch easily sewed its way through my yellow life vest without a sound.  I was lifted up and out of the boat with my legs and feet dangling over the water.  The little sunfish were circling below waiting for the left over scraps.

Help,” I called out.

Laughter was the only answer that I heard.

So those are my examples that I have for introducing myself to my classmates. If you try any, please comment and let me know how it went.


Mrs. Berry

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