For each group (of 4 kids) I picked one person to write "good" words, and another to write "bad" words. I set 3 minutes on my timer (Kitchen Timer, an Android app for my phone, which crows like a rooster as an alarm). The kids in each group told the note taker their ideas for "good" words. When the 4 minutes were finished, they got another 3 minutes to come up with words for "bad."
There was some disagreement about where to stand, but as long as it bred discussion and reasoning, not personal attacks, I encouraged the kids to explain their reasoning to each other (and rock, paper scissor as a last resort). Once most of the kids had decided where to stand, I asked them to read their word with emotion going down the line.
To reinforce the activity, the next day's Morning Work was to choose from the words they worked with and switch for "good" and "bad" within their stories. It was a quick, simple revision activity that even the most reticent/wants-to-be-done-the-first-time kid can handle!
This activity is part of my Word Choice Activities product, available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. If you try out this initial Dead Words activity and are interested in more for narrative writing, check out the free preview file on the product page!