Fine Tuning a Lesson Plan to Meet Students’ Skills



I believe most lesson plans can be tweaked to fit writers at all levels. This idea came to me a decade ago while getting an MFA in Creative Writing.

During a workshop, Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter, gave us a writing prompt and quickly added: “Don’t forget to use descriptive detail. Appeal to all five senses.” 

I found her words humbling, because hours earlier I’d conveyed them to twelfth graders. Yet the message can’t be repeated often enough as many writers, young and not so young, often share only what they see, omitting the other senses.

Fast forward to today, and I just finished teaching the use of sensory details to second- through fifth-graders whose skills vary depending on their age and placement in general education or a gifted and talented program.

The challenge: How to adapt one lesson plan to fit many needs?

With younger students (say first- through third-graders), I suggest spending a lot of time brainstorming, followed by creating a group description of their classroom.

As inspiration, I offer passages from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings. (more…)