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Lesson Plan

Make a Splash! Using Dramatic Experience to "Explode the Moment"

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute sessions plus additional writing time
Lesson Author

Victoria Polega

Austin, Texas

Audra Roach

Austin, Texas


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



In this lesson students learn to elaborate or "explode moments" in their writing by using descriptive language. After hearing excerpts from popular chapter books that use vivid, sensory language, students participate in a dramatic experience as a springboard for a shared writing activity. The dramatic experience can be a staged surprise event in the classroom, such as a school counselor running in and throwing a confetti egg at you during the lesson. Students complete a graphic organizer that details what they saw, felt, thought, did, said, and heard. For further practice using descriptive language, students brainstorm their own memorable moments to "explode" and use the writing process to publish personal narratives.

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Olness, R. (2005). Using literature to enhance writing instruction: A guide for K-5 teachers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • The quality of students' writing will improve only when we regularly discuss, create, and share criteria with them. One way this can be done is by sharing exemplary literature.

  • Every writer needs to find his or her unique voice or way to show "personality on paper." This includes writing persuasively, showing perspective, or sharing opinions as well as vivid and descriptive language.

  • Learning to write well involves learning to choose which details should be included based on which ones will enhance the reader's experience and convey the writer's intention.

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