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Monday, April 20, 2009

Teaching students to be concise writers.

Let’s Eat!
Everyone loves to eat, talk about eating, and even to buy food! Here is a fun variation of my "less is more" activity.  We all have to go shopping, so ask the students to save a copy of a receipt from a store with at least ten items on it. Usually, within a week, everyone will have a receipt to work with.For the lesson, ask each student to pick two or three items and go into great detail when explaining what it is. The shopping list is the specific, to-the-point example and the student’s version would again be the non-example.
This activity reminds me of a commercial I saw several times about a man and his wife ordering dinner in a restaurant from a waiter. The man communicates his entire order to the waiter in about three seconds, but when the attention shifts to the woman, we realize that this is going to take awhile! From the very first question, “How would you like your meat?” she responds with, “Well, when you say medium, what do you really mean? Sometimes I ask for medium rare and the cow's practically still mooing, and in other restaurants the meat is burnt to a crisp when I ask for medium!” She then proceeds in the same manner with her responses to every other thing that she orders. So we have the non-example!
This activity can also easily be done with a Christmas wish list written by the students. Just have them write both versions so they can get used to telling the difference between fully explaining something and just writing a brief explanation and moving on.

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